I’m getting ready to take a trip to Florida over Christmas. I am pretty stoked for many reasons. This is my native state. I am a beach obsessed, sun worshipping Florida girl living land locked in Minnesota with temperature highs in the single digits these days. The escape from this tundra is just days away. With that escape comes a two year planned trip to Disney World finally coming to fruition. My children are the absolute best ages right now to hit Disney. They are old enough to assert some independence, but young enough to still care about the characters and rides and Paw Patrol. This will be epic! If Disney wasn’t enough my parents live in Cocoa Beach directly on the beach. You can hear the waves crashing and feel the wind blowing salty air as you sip your morning coffee. My siblings are all gathering together to celebrate Christmas. This too will be an epic feat as fourteen children and ten adults jam ourselves into a two bedroom condo space. (Can anyone get to Costco fast enough?)
With all this excitement ahead I found myself attempting…. a crash diet. A crash diet because with Florida comes bathing suits and pools and beach time. It finally dawned on me recently that this crash diet was just plain stupid. I had to ask myself: “why am I trading my peace and security and confidence for a piece of lycra?” Why was I foregoing calories in anticipation of someone else’s judgement of me? Why was I projecting discomfort onto a moment that was yet to come. Why was I obsessing about what I look like when I have shells to collect and castles to build and evening strolls in the warm sun to take? I have spent so many years letting my joy and contentment be overshadowed by how I felt about my body image. I’m so getting over this.
The diet culture of our society thrives on people like me. I don’t even have anything more brilliant to say than that. It thrives on my obsession with what other people might think of me. If perhaps I decided that this body is “enough” right now, today, as is then what kind of freedom would that bring? It would allow me to anticipate a lot of great memories made with my children. It would allow me to do a cannon ball or two in the pool. It would allow me to stand proud next to Cinderella and actually smile for the camera versus getting the heck out of the frame (I’ve spent decades dodging pictures). If I decided that I am enough and other people’s opinions can just be theirs then that leaves a lot more room in my heart and mind for joy and engagement and the real stuff that trips like these are made of.
We have got to ditch the anticipation of judgement from others. We have got to decide that we are enough, today, as is. We have to decide that what we bring to the table as a person far outweighs how stellar we look in our lycra. We have to get busy anticipating connection with others not rejection of our image. I mean really- why do I care what Sue Ellen from Canada thinks I look like in my suit? I’ve got memories to make, and kids to laugh with, and family members to love on. This engrained habit of projecting rejection or ridicule can be traded. It can be traded in for the solid decision that I’m pretty stinking awesome no matter what I look like in my suit and I can get about the business of living life more fully. One mental shift at a time.