All it takes is a choice
I consider myself a decently travelled person. I've been to a number of countries in Asia and Europe and explored some of America. However, after all these years and numbers of trips, I've never been to Hawaii. Why? It's not because of a lack of opportunities to go nor is it because somebody forbid me or prevented me from going. It's because at some point in the past, I told myself quite firmly that I wouldn't go until I could wear a bikini.
Whenever talks or offers to go to Hawaii came up I always pushed them back to some imaginary point in the future when I imagined my body would be good enough and I'd be deserving enough for a trip to Hawaii. It's only been recently, when my in-laws generously offered to take us on a family trip that I realized, "what the heck are you waiting for?!"
I'm not quite sure from whom, when, or where I learned that I had to withhold pleasure from myself until I was "more worthy". And I'm not sure either where I learned to inversely correlate my worth with my size or my weight. Growing up chubby, those beliefs had a firm grip on me. Even when I lost 50 lbs and looked my fittest I still didn't think my body was good enough for a trip to Hawaii. And now that I've gained all of that weight back I've realized that I've always been Hawaii and bikini ready. It was just a matter of choosing to see it that way.
Although I've gotten a taste of buff and lean, after gaining the weight back, I'm not bitter, nor do I pine for that old body back. I'm not frustrated nor am I berating myself for being weak. I'm not self-flagellating myself to force my body into a shape that isn't perfect for my experience right now. Because I recognize that it's taken my journey of losing weight and gaining it back to learn the lesson that my happiness and self-worth should never be tied to something as impermanent and dynamic as the state of my body.
I do not see my thick, soft, squishy, curvy and more "textured" body as a sign of weakness nor being less than who I'm "supposed" to be. I don't see the Me today as any better or less than the Me three years ago or who I'll be ten years from now. The Me I was then and the Me I am now is exactly who I need(ed) to be to gain the fullest possible experience in that exact moment to get me to the Me I will be tomorrow.
I'm not posting this to solicit attention, compliments(nor insults) or kudos. I know I've bared myself to the internet six months ago in my declaration of self-love, so why is this time any different? Because self-love, self-acceptance, and self-forgiveness is not a static destination that you stay in once you "arrive". Just like self-discovery, it's a continuous journey. And being on that journey involves continuously making a choice.
And it's hard to know where you're supposed to be on your journey when you're surrounded by people you care about bemoaning the current state of their body compared to the tight body they once had/will one day have, grinding and depriving themselves to get that summer body, pondering which supplements or latest workout will guarantee the fastest path to getting slim and toned. I often catch myself asking myself, am I missing out on something these other folks are on to? But then I notice how none of these folks talk about how great they feel RIGHT NOW. They either dwell on how good it was in the past or are so focused on this image of how much better of a person they're going to be tomorrow or some day. And I have to stop and ask myself, what about right now? Do you feel good about yourself right now? Although answering that question isn't always an emphatic and objective "Yes!", honestly saying that I feel good about myself always involves making a choice.
I think it's a waste of time to scrutinize and analyze where things went "wrong". Regardless of whenever, wherever and/or whatever reason I started believing that I wasn't good enough or that I didn't deserve something because of my weight, shape or size, what matters is that right now-IN THIS MOMENT- I'm choosing to unlearn those falsehoods. I'm choosing instead, to learn the truth that patiently prevails. I'm choosing to appreciate the beauty that was always there, just waiting for me to see. I'm choosing to shine the light that lay underneath all the shame I've laid on myself all these years for not being thinner, stronger, prettier, or something other than who I am at this exact second. I'm choosing to unconditionally love and give to myself without telling myself I need to earn, toil, grovel or suffer for it first(No pain, no gain is NOT a truth unless you choose to believe it). I am choosing to be worthy now because I know I am worthy, always and in all ways.
Some might argue that loving and accepting yourself as you are right now means being complacent, stagnant, or closed to change. On the contrary, I think it frees you from the chains of attachment and expectation, leaving you open to freely focus ONLY on anything and everything your heart desires and that the universe has to offer you, as I'm currently experiencing. It frees you from worry, anxiety, and disappointment because you live in the trusting confidence that whoever you are in this exact moment is the only thing you need to be without any judgment.
I've always been capable of setting myself free, but now Inunderstand that I had to take that full-circle weight-loss/gain journey to get myself to truly see. I am capable and powerful. So powerful that I, alone, have the power to hold myself captive and I'm also the only one who can set myself free.
So by posting this picture I'm reminding myself of the choice I have to make in each moment to be free. I'm making a choice to be free not just from other people's opinions but from my past and my future to thoroughly enjoy and be present in this moment. It's all about choice and I've always been free to choose. There's a girl who's been staring back at me in the mirror, waiting patiently all this time just to be chosen. And IN THIS MOMENT I'm making a choice to be her. I am choosing me.
So, instead of worrying myself with thoughts of how flabby and simply my thighs are, how big my tummy looks or how to hide my stretch marks, the only thing I'm choosing to concern myself with is how I'm going to fit all my cute swimsuits in my suitcase. So, excuse me, but this girl has to some packing to do. I've got damn things that are waiting to get done. Hawaii and I have waited long enough.