So, it has been a while since checking in. Lots has happened, but right now I would like to address the issues currently floating through my head and that is “bikini season”.
It has been about 9 months since I last weighed myself and for the most part I have let go of a lot of my body image issues. The winter helped because sweaters are great hiders of folds that never used to exist. I have been super proud of myself. It has also been well over a year since I’ve thought about slipping back into my old ways of eating disorders to lose weight (even though I am the heaviest I have ever been – which I know is still not that heavy, but eating disorders are about self-perception not reality).
But now, it is bikini season. It is bikini season and I am working with a lot of very fit people out in the country where I live on a beach. It’s the first year that I’ve been so acutely aware of some of the extra flab I’ve put on. (As a side note, my journey through hell this winter did not aid my weight maintenance. I let the weight come as it may.) I’ve finally reached a point in my process where I’m able to stay largely grounded and begin to feel inclined to move my body (I’m loathe to say “exercise”) and eat healthy. My body is no longer my enemy, but summer is.
It’s a really weird place to be in. I love my body… I love feeling present in my body, anyway. I like moving. I like feeling things. I like touch. I like movement and running and jumping and feeling alive. But… I wish I had a little more time to get used to being active (and maybe shed a couple pounds) before I had to expose it for all to see.
Alas, the universe is not one to let me off the hook that easy. It is forcing me to be vulnerable for the world to see. I am so self-conscious of my rolls when I’m sitting while wearing clothes, that sitting in a bikini is nearly incapacitating. Though I know that this is all part of the challenge of really coming to love myself. In the end, any worry is just about what other people will think of me – their judgments, which should not play into what I think of myself. It took long enough to become comfortable in my own skin. Who knows how long it will take for me to be comfortable with my own skin exposed to the world?!
The silly thing is that most people are just as self-conscious of their own insecurities as I am of mine and likely spend more time worrying about being exposed themselves than even noticing that I may have some rolls that I’m not okay with. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking lately about where the root of these insecurities lay. The need to fit in is so strong, especially in large groups. Everyone wants to be loved and accepted, but also fears that they will be left out. I have spent my life as a chameleon, changing my colours to fit the situation. I was so good at it, I totally lost any sort of sense of self. I didn’t know who I was without the context of other people. I was a different person in any given situation. This meant completely ignoring the little voice inside that represented who I really was.
I have spent the past couple years truly fostering that little voice and getting to know it. But the scary thing is that I now need to show that person to the rest of the world. And that is where fear comes in. It is scary to expose your true self to the rest of the world (especially when that true self is not as fit and tight as it was when it was the fake you).
So, this is my current challenge. I need to find my inner peace with myself as I stand almost naked next to many thin fit ladies and ripped men. Here’s to natural beauty triumphing over societal influence. It’s been quite the battle to get to this point, so what’s another little skirmish to get to the top, eh? *gulp*
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