I'm in my 40's and have finally accepted (and even learned to love) my body just as it is. In fact, I'm more in love with my body than I ever have been and guess what? I'm FATTER than I have ever been.
Having said that… it does not mean I still don't have days where I am discouraged with what I see when I look in a mirror or at certain parts of my body (hello beautiful big belly, I'm talking about you). Honestly, I'm still working through all the things I was taught that were “wrong” with my body as a young girl/woman. It sometimes feels like my journey with AA – one day at a time!
While on vacation recently, with my wonderful boyfriend, in the Aloha State (Hawaii) I went back to some dark places several times when it came to my body in a bathing suit, shorts, tank tops, and a sun dress.
Noticing I was the biggest one
As I began to look around the pool and lawn chairs, at others around us at the beach & lagoon, it didn't take long to notice I was the largest one there.
This was like a flash back to my younger years when I first started noticing how different I was from the girls around me – bigger chested, thicker thighs, jiggly belly, etc. and how I was taught that was wrong and I wasn't skinny enough. All that led into feeling ashamed and embarrassed about my body. It also led to believing because I wasn't skinny I wasn't good enough, worthy, acceptable or lovable.
I didn't intentionally plan on eavesdropping, but these gals weren't exactly chatting quietly! There were three young women animatedly chatting near me at the pool. The conversation was all about how much exercise and dieting they did to become bathing suit and cute vacation clothes ready. As I sat there listening and shaking my head I also immediately went into a mode of feeling embarrassed at my big ass body sprawled all over a lawn chair! And sadly, it immediately took me to the head place of ‘why didn't you put some effort into eating better, exercising more, and doing something to drop some weight? You had 2 months to plan and lose some weight.'
And then I got pissed…
And then there was the little boy in the pool saying “mom, why is she so fat?” (somehow he wasn't referring to me, but pointing to a different lady) And the mom telling him “because some people aren't healthy and don't take care of themselves.”
It left me pissed off!
Pissed off at her for teaching her son this.
Pissed off that people look at someone and decide that because they're bigger thy don't take care of themselves.
Pissed off that it's still not acceptable for people to have bigger bodies and put themselves out there without being made fun of, pointed out, etc.
And it left me quickly picking up my things and taking off to the opposite side of the pool before I was noticed. Yep, I moved like a coward instead of waiting and being ready to defend myself if I was noticed… and how freaking WRONG is it that I even felt the need to “defend” my body and taking up space if I was pointed out. Sigh…
Moving past my shit
I knew I had two options…
- I could let the negative self talk and body hatred take over and consume me which would have pretty much ruined vacation because I would have been in a crummy mood and not wanted to do anything except ‘hide' out in the room.
- Go through the self-love ritual I created for myself that I used to do every day, with a little twist, to ground myself and remember I am comfortable and confident in my body!
I started at the top of my body – my head – and started listing the things I love (eyes, I love the way you have brown dots in them and squint when I smile; teeth, I love how straight you are, and have always been, making for a great smile, etc.). Then I moved to the next area of my body and named what I loved and repeated that process until I got to my feet and completed the process. This version was different because back when I used to do this all the time, in the beginning stages of my self-acceptance, body love journey, I would spend quite a bit of time focusing on one area until I could say what I was saying about that area and actually mean it.
All of that to say, loving your body is a journey and one that probably will have a lot of ups and downs! It's ok to have the downs too – it's normal. It's important, in the down moments, to remember…
YOU ARE ACCEPTABLE, LOVABLE & WORTHY JUST THE WAY YOU ARE!
I'm celebrating the fact I was aware of the thoughts and negative self-talk and worked through them instead of dwelling on them and letting it ruin my time there or prevent me from spending time enjoying the pool, ocean and lagoon, etc.
Here's a little pic collage of just a few of the pics from our time there. It was AMAZING and we have already started talking about next year's trip back 🙂