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The Different Vacation

“I must be a mermaid, I have no fear of depth and a great fear of shallow living,” this quote by Anais Nin is one of my favorites, it speaks to me on several levels. I’ve been putting in some WERK on myself in the past year and a half or so, and absolutely loving the depth of living that comes with sharing more of your shiny, amazing self! Coming fresh off an amazing vacation at the beach, where I lived my best mermaid life, I feel this quote more than ever. 

There was something so drastically different about this trip, than any other trip that we have ever been on. It was my husband’s 40th birthday vacation, and we traveled to south Florida to explore and have some amazing adventures together with his brother and his brother’s fiance. The difference in this trip was not in the food or travel destinations or even the beach itself. All of that was amazing but for me, there was something so drastically different, it was hard to believe.

We spent a significant amount of time at several beaches in the Fort Lauderdale area over the past week, and consequently, I was in a bathing suit for a majority of our vacation. Not just any bathing suit, but bikinis! At 39 years old! Whoop!

 I recalled our previous warm-weather vacations, and without a doubt, this vacation was markedly different in how I felt. I felt strong, I felt fun, I felt happy. Never once did it occur to me that I was too fat for my swimsuit, or that I should cover up because I had a big lunch that day.  This is the first time EVER, that I have been this confident and self-assured in a bathing suit. Even when I was 30 pounds lighter and 20 years younger. Not even then. 

I remember a trip we took to Lake Billy Chinook in central Oregon when I turned 19 or 20. It was hot, well over 100 degrees everyday with zero shade at our campground. We were camped along the Snake River and enjoyed a lot of swimming and fun in the water. I wore the hell out of my tiny bikini and remember constantly thinking that I really should cover up, I’m too fat for that. The only reason that I didn’t was because it was simply too hot, but I was not comfortable all weekend. What a memory to look back on. 

For the past 18 months, I have worked very hard to accomplish some strength and physical fitness goals. In that journey, I started working with a personal trainer in July 2018. At one of our earliest sessions, he asked me about my goals. I had not worked out or had any fitness goals for so long, that I was embarrassed to even make a number-related goal, so I told him I wanted to be a better person. I wanted to save the energy I was currently using on stressing out about what I looked like, and constantly thinking I was too big, and channel that into other, more positive pursuits. 

The work that I put in at the gym, doing Crossfit three times a week, and on the road, training for multiple distance races, prepared me for the mental work I put in every day. The knowledge that you can show up for yourself and do hard things is a boost of self-esteem that is unmatched by anything else. 

In my journey of working out, fueling myself with nutrition, running, all of that helped me realize and appreciate all the great things my body does everyday. I physically push myself so I can be more and do more. I could have never predicted the changes I have felt after finishing that first half marathon last year, it is indescribable and so wonderful.

 A lot of things have changed since I made my health and fitness a priority this last year and a half. I expected to lose weight and be happier for that. I expected to finally get to my goal weight and not have to worry anymore. What happened is that I gained more than I expected; the ability to do a below-90 degree squat, to deadlift more than my body weight, to increase the size of my shoulders, to understand that weight is one tiny measure of fitness, to truly fuel myself and my big life properly, and to finally change my relationship with food, hell I changed my relationship with myself. I became a better person.

When you truly love and admire all of the things that your body is capable of, that bathing suit doesn’t matter anymore. You are who you are and that is beautiful. And so are you in that bikini, sis, so take a picture, do the things, be more and do more, you’re worth it! 

Xo, Ellie

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