I try to be confident. I try to be strong. I try to not let things bother me or stop me from doing what I want, but sometimes I feel very self consious. I think most women can relate to that feeling. It’s the “oh no, I have to be in swimwear in front of hundreds of people again, I hate everything about my body, I don’t want to do this.”
This spring I wrote a post here about how you don’t need to be skinny to be an athlete. If you haven’t read it, I suggest you go do so here. And even though I know in my heart that it doesn’t matter what I look like, there have been so many times during this trip that I’ve been so unsure of myself and even considered not doing things because of a bad body image and a temporary lack of confidence. But the brain is very powerful, and sometimes it’s also very convincing.
Brain: Are you really going to be in a bikini in a waterpark? Everyone is going to see your cellulites and how big your stomach is.
Me: But I want to have fun, and most women have cellulites, and who cares if my stomach isn’t flat? And people are too busy worrying about themselves to care about me.
Brain: You do, you care. You don’t care about how anyone else looks, but you care about how you look.
And this can be an ongoing process. Every decision is a battle between my brain and my heart, but luckily my heart has won every single time so far. I’ve been to the water parks. I have jumped into pools even though there are several other people around. I’ve sat up in the sun chairs instead of laying down, despite the fact that it make my stomach look bigger, but I want to read and it’s not comfortable doing that laying down. I don’t want to live a life where I spend every single day obsessing over how I look. And I don’t want to spend energy and time trying to change how I look either, it’s not important. There are so many more things to life than going on a diet or limiting myself.
The last time this happened was just a few days ago, before coming to St Augustine, Florida. I had booked my surf lessons, which I had obsessed about first because I knew I had to be in a swimsuit. And then I went to a surf store to buy a rash guard. It’s a shirt that protects from both the sun and from scratches and other things you can get from the board. And I stood there staring at myself in the shirt and thought “I can’t be seen in this.” But I bought it because I needed it, and when I went to my first surf lesson last Friday I just stopped caring. I was in a bikini, I was in a rash guard and I was going to have the best time of my life.
And I did.
Yes, I have cellulites. My stomach is far from flat and my body shape is kind of weird. But I don’t care. Because I learnt how to surf a wave in less than half an hour, and I learnt how to turn on a wave in less than an hour. I felt strong, I felt powerful and I know that I can do anything I set my mind to, and it has absolutely nothing to do with what my body looks like.
I had some initial anxiety when I received the photos from the lesson, as they have a professional photographer come and take photos of you that you can then buy, but then I took a closer look. And all I can see in those photos is how happy how look. How determined I am, and how I actually look great on that surfboard. And if people can’t see that, then that is clearly their problem, not mine. I’m not going to keep looking at the photos I post here, like I have done in the past, and consider if they make me look fat first. I am what I am, I look like I do, who cares?
I am more than my weight. I am more than my body type. I am more than a standard set by society about how I should look.
I am amazing.