Memorial Day weekend. Even though I live in Florida and can go to the beach any day of the year, it still ended up marking the day to pull out the bathing suit, see if it fit, and decide how I would define my body image this summer? Would the runway judges in my head be saying “bravo, you look marvelous”, or “eh hem…what are you thinking? Cover up and get your excuses ready, because honestly you just shouldn’t go to the beach or pool at all.”
I had a bold reminder of where that thinking comes from when I spoke to my mom on the phone Saturday. She was deciding at 73 years old what to wear to a Memorial Day party, since she’ll only wear 3/4 length sleeves because she doesn’t want her arms to show. She was thinking of not going because it was hot and she didn’t know what she’d wear. I asked “Mom, what’s wrong with your arms?” and I received a resounding “Oh, they’re horrible, all skin and wrinkly, it’s terrible.” Never mind that my mom lives in a senior community and she’s probably the most fit and stylish one there.
Surprisingly for myself, I chose to go with “bravo, you look marvelous”. Ok, maybe not marvelous but certainly good enough. I suppose after blogging last week that “I am ok, when I say I am”, I did indeed decide to say, “I am ok, just the way I am.”
The result, I had a wonderful weekend enjoying the beach and ocean with wonderful friends. I kind of figure we are all, at some level, a little self conscious. We can all find something we don’t like about ourselves. This weekend I chose to focus on enjoying myself, and it worked.
If this was a tough weekend for you, if you just can’t be seen in a bathing suit or even short sleeves, what would happen if you didn’t care and just had fun? It may feel like a very vulnerable place to put yourself in, but you slay vulnerability by doing the very thing that feels scary. Vulnerability looses it’s power when you take action, and you end up coming out on the other side of it with a new found courage.
Try it, and if you didn’t get out to the beach or pool this weekend, call me. I’ll meet you there next weekend.