I love being on the water. I love being near water. It just soothes me in a way that nothing else can.
But being in the water typically means wearing a bathing suit. And for most of my life that was hard. Having other people see my body, my fear of their judgement about my body – it was distracting from the activity that I was participating in.
Let me call out my privilege right now. I’ve never been in a really big body. The body that I have now is the biggest one I’ve had. I didn’t have to worry about finding a kayak that would support my weight or accommodate my size. That is a privilege.
But I didn’t understand the concept of privilege back then, and honestly, I don’t think that knowing it would’ve changed how hard it was to be seen. Because my body image challenges have never been about my body.
Let me say that again: my body image issues weren’t about my body.
My lack of body confidence came from growing up around women that were always at war with their own bodies. Always on a diet or about to start a diet after falling off the wagon. They spoke harshly about their own bodies and those of others.
My fear of judgement was part of undiagnosed anxiety.
My body dissatisfaction was from girls calling other girls (that were my size or smaller) fat. And hearing things like “if I ever get like that just shoot me”.
I believed with all of my being that I was too big and that if I could just have the body that I wanted then….then I’d be happy and confident.
Being able to enjoy being on the water without all of that chatter is one of the best results of my #foodfreedom #bodyacceptance journey.
🏝 traveling to Hawaii and actually being there (vs in my head)
🌺 paddle boarding with my friends in San Diego without comparing myself
☀️ saying yes to an impromptu kayak adventure with friends
I really didn’t realize how much life I was missing because of my focus on how I looked. By either opting out because of a bad-body-image-day or missing out while I was there because of the chatter in my head.
My size doesn’t limit my participation in life unless I let it. This is where understanding my privilege has helped so much because that statement isn’t actually true for a lot of people. A lot of people can’t participate because our world isn’t set up for large and very large bodies.
While I do my part to create a world of inclusion, I will no longer miss out on the opportunities life has on offer.
What would you do if you weren’t thinking about how you looked? Or worried about what other people thought about how you looked?