It’s 4 AM on a Wednesday morning, my roommate introduced me to One Tree Hill last week, and now I’m staring at this computer screen wondering what will become of Nathan Scott and the shady Rick Fox character whose name I can’t recall at this moment. While this plot line interests me, I find myself wishing the reason I’ve been staring at the ceiling the past couple of nights had to do with the kids over at Tree Hill High.
In a few weeks, I’ll be visiting Hawaii for the first time. The idea of vacationing in Hawaii seemed impossible, but it’s happening and I’m pretty darn excited about it. Naturally, with summer right around the corner (it’s been summer in Arizona since February, but for the rest of you), my mind wanders over to swimsuit season and “bikini-ready” bodies. Welcome to the unfortunate nonsense plaguing my mind and robbing me of any sanity for the last two days. It sucks.
As I anticipate all of the pictures that will be taken on my tropical getaway, the more I worry about how toned my body isn’t and I instantly regret all of the delicious things I’ve eaten, wondering why I didn’t have a salad for every meal. The epiphany I carried into the shower this evening inspired this post: Who gives a damn. You’re beautiful.
Two summers ago, I weighed more than ever before and despised the way I looked. This experience was a first for me because up until that year, I wasn’t examining every flaw on my body. A majority of the way I felt about myself was centered around how successful I was in the dating department. Unfortunately, that mentality stuck around for months and I wasn’t happy with what I was seeing in the mirror. I would soon realize that these flaws were simply a product of far too many negative thoughts about who I was based on the most ridiculous ideas of what a beautiful person looks like.
While I’m thrilled to say my mentality on my physical appearance has certainly strengthened over time, the idea of venturing to Hawaii, where I will spend the majority of my time in a swimsuit, concerned me. I put an end to this concern tonight.
My body was created for things I cannot fathom, by God who so perfectly designed it himself. The flaws I’ve created in my mind are merely snide comments made about a masterpiece whose artist is standing behind you, taking in every insult with a heavy heart. When you break it down, we were put on this earth to enjoy the blessings we were given. My body is healthy, I’m going to enjoy that. Food is delicious, I’m going to enjoy that as well. It feels great to workout, go for a walk, dance around, burn some energy, create some more – I’ll enjoy that. Placing an expectation on myself to look a certain way for a vacation is silly. I applaud those of you who are experts at this, but that mentality just isn’t healthy for me.
Elizabeth Gilbert said it best in an excerpt from her novel Eat, Pray, Love:
I am so tired of saying no, waking up in the morning and recalling every single thing I ate the day before, counting every calorie I consumed so I know just how much self loathing to take into the shower. I’m going for it. I have no interest in being obese, I’m just through with the guilt.
I’m through with the guilt, too. I think I’ll replace the notion of meeting a requirement with loving my body (and mind) enough to take care of it. The body is a beautiful creation worth taking care of and cherishing. So, who’s ready for a summer of sun, sand, and self-confidence? I am. We’re in this together.