So.many.thoughts. It's like they laced up their Nikes and are running super-marathons through my brain like a Kenyan in the Boston Marathon.
[For the record, yes, I am aware that the past 2 Mondays have not been Spiced Up, for which I do apologize. Blame the Kenyan thoughts.]
Where to begin. Austin is the COOLEST city. API is the COOLEST company. I love study-abroad. I miss Florence. More on this later.
While I am waiting for the race to finish and for my thoughts to round themselves up in a nice, neat list (or Excel spreadsheet), I've decided to focus on one such thought for now: body-image.
After reading the lovely Angela's post about "happy weights" during Change-The-Way-You-See, Not-The-Way-You-Look Week, the concept has been on my mind. It's an interesting one, because the definition of happy weight is completely subjective to the definer. So I was faced with the question, what is my happy weight? Is it a number, or a feeling? I think I've been at it before, although it didn't last long.
My personal happy weight has nothing to do with a scale. In fact, I haven't weighed myself since I don't know when and do not intend to. When I did weight myself, the number I saw dictated my mood for the rest of the day, and that was not just healthy for me. I just don't feel like a silly little 3-digit combination should have such control over me. So, in thinking about my happy weight, I thought about when I have been, well, happy.
Before Italy, the only time I could think of was my trip to India. I didn't give a second thought (even if I gave a first) to calories, exercise, or "fat" when I was there; I was so determined to live in every single moment, and I did. The result? I was simply happy. No little voice in my head telling me I'm fat or I shouldn't eat that. But, I came home and those old habits started creeping back subtly but surely.
Fast forward to this spring in Florence. Apparently, there is something about me in a different country that puts me on top of the world. Even on my bad days - and I did have them - I would take a walk, grab a cappuccino or gelato, and always found myself smiling again. A big part of it I know was gratitude. I was and am still so unspeakably grateful to the forces of the universe that allowed me to live in the best city in the world - my parents, API, even myself. When I think of my "happy place", I go back to the bench in Piazza Santa Croce or a table inside Sergio's for lunch and I get the most complex mix of emotions - nostalgia, bliss, longing. I was happier than I had been in a long time, and that happiness translated over to my body image. I was beginning to feel very comfortable in my skin. It was...new, to say the least.
Austin has this awesome public swimming area, Barton Springs. It's a natural pool, like a lake or...um, a spring. Sssh, I'm tired. I'm not big on swimming and didn't plan on going, but a group of others were going and my new Italian self was not about to miss out on a fun experience, so off I went. And as I was sitting there, clicking pictures and thoughtfully munching on a granola bar, I thought about my ever-present self-consciousness about wearing a bikini. Now, when I lost my first 30, I remember the feeling of buying & wearing my first bikini ever - it was pretty sweet. But since then, with who knows how many pounds lost and gained, I've kinda lost that confidence. And these were probably the main reason why.
Those are my stretch-marks. Mine. And I've had them since middle school. I hated them. I thought pregnant women were the only ones who had them. Then, I learned that models often get them as well because of binge dieting and stretching skin back and forth. It was a little comforting...but they have airbrushing. Us mortals, not so much.
Why, you may ask, am I showing off one of my so-called flaws on the world wide web? To oppose the idea that they are flaws. I only have love, and lots of it, for every inch of me, stretch marks included. It is beyond frustrating to me that 10-year-old me was already hating my body because it wasn't rivaling what I saw in movies & magazines. I don't really care how many times I've talked about this already or how cliche it may be; it hasn't ended yet, so there's still a need to discuss it.
It may be a struggle, but I am determined to find my happy weight again - even if I can't go back to Italy right now (unless anyone has a free ticket lying around....anyone?????), I will bring what I learned and what I gained there back with me. I will return to my happy weight.
How do you define your "happy weight"? Do you have a part of your body you would like to stop feeling insecure about?
Well, there's one big ole thought down....a gajillion more to go. Sweet dreams!