First let me say that this Memorial Weekend was so busy I am now sitting here typing this message and longing for the peace and quiet of anything else. I am not sure if it was so busy born out of the necessity of the changes and hollows of the last month or if my family simply decided that this weekend was the one to break the mold. What I do know is that unlike my last post when I dreamt and held in my head the peaceful vision of a beach at sunrise, the beach this weekend was neither serene nor in any way resembling my favorite memory. Don’t get me wrong, being on the beach at anytime and on any weekend is worth whatever price I must pay in terms of crowds and ridiculous music. There is still the sound of waves crashing overtaking all other sounds, and when I simply listen to nature moving I still feel better than I do any other place on earth.
I have been diligently trying to work on my self-esteem. If you have missed the last couple of posts, let me reiterate that I do not have self-esteem. I can’t seem to find it. I can never seem to see what others claim they see, and I can’t quite ever bring myself to believe in either the people who are looking at me through love in their eyes, nor the strangers on the streets. I have always consoled myself with what I thought was the truth, there is nothing really special about me. I am neither beautiful nor am I hideous. I am neither overly smart nor stupid. I am neither exceptional nor in any way special. I am simply one in billions, with nothing to make me stand out and nothing to make me better than anyone else. I have lived my whole life believing from the depths of my soul that I am nothing much of anything.
This isn’t a depressing thought in the scheme of things mostly because it has been my reality for so long. When something is your truth, it isn’t depressing as much as just there. But I am going through some big changes in my life, and one of things pointed out to me is that if I don’t love myself, how will anyone else? How will I believe that others like me, if I can’t find reasons to like myself? It is a question I have been taking seriously. But unfortunately, it isn’t enough to simply close my eyes and chant over and over ‘I am beautiful’. And it isn’t a mindset that is changed easily. After this many decades of believing one thing, I am learning that adjusting that thought is really hard.
This weekend while at the beach, my favorite place to be, and even at my neighborhood pool I noticed something that I don’t believe I have ever really seen. The hundreds of women who owned it. And I am not talking about the model perfect teenagers who literally had no idea what cellulite felt like, or whose tan was so perfect that they could take off their bathing suit and look as beautiful naked as clothed. And I am not talking about the severely overweight, who I could only hope would someday find there wherewithal to save their hearts. The over weight that literally got to their chairs, sat down so heavily in so much defeat simply from walking two steps to the cooler on the other side of the chairs. The kind of people I am not disgusted by, like so many others, but rather the kind of people I honestly hope find a way to live long and productive lives.
I, instead, was watching the normal women. The women who didn’t have perfect blond hair, perky boobs, or cute bikinis that really belong on a magazine cover and not at my little beach. The women who have had children, and it shows like a badge of honor. The women who walked with their honeys, or read on the beach and didn’t worry about how hard they were sucking their stomachs in, or the women who didn’t stand at the perfect poise or with their backs straight and upright as they were talking. Women who wore cute one pieces and enjoyed a vacation without the workouts and stress of not being a model on a magazine. The natural woman. The real woman. The real person.
And they looked and acted real. There was no artifice that I could see. They were enjoying themselves with their children and their significant others, and not worried what I would think, or what anyone else would think. And their husbands still smiled at them, or rolled their eyes at them. And their husbands still ignored the children and ignored all the other women on the beach as well. It was all so normal. And it broke my heart.
I weigh probably one hundred and twenty-five pounds right now. And that is actually a great thing, as I tend to weigh much less. I tend to lose so much weight that I literally look like a walking/talking skeleton come out to haunt the world. In pictures I will look sickly and gross. But in my head I will be able to convince myself that I am overweight and just need to lose a couple of more pounds. My weight can easily become an obsession.
And it isn’t just my weight but my whole outside appearance; my face, my legs, my stomach, my breasts. I will become so obsessed that I will spend ridiculous amounts of money on useless products; and I have never quite figured out why. And then when I get frustrated, I start on my insides. You don’t even want to know…
The problem with my low self-esteem, and my desire to try to fix it, is that I have no idea from where it stems. I suppose some doctors would blame magazines and models on television; but for some reason (and as it is my mind) I don’t believe that has ever swayed me. The idea of that much work and literally that much makeup suffocating my pores turns me off. Some doctors may chalk it to my past, my mother or my father. But I can’t see that either. They are both loving, and even though sometimes have a different definition of whats best for me, they are good people. So where did this absolute blindness come from? And how come I can type the word blindness but even now have my stomach clenching because it is hard for me to think of it as blindness? It is my truth. My whole truth and nothing but my truth. I can recognize that I don’t have any self-esteem, but the issue of trying to change that makes me literally sick.
I don’t know how those beautiful and so absolutely normal women get up every day, do their best not only with their looks and their attitude, and go through life if not satisfied, at least moving. How do they ignore the sagging boobs, the cellulite, the stomachs, the lack of promotion at their jobs, the small paychecks, the not as clean as the neighbor’s house, the dented car, the boring predictability of their existence, the day-to-day life that they live and survive within? How do they look at their life and see normalcy, or see their own contributions as important to the greatness of the whole? How are they so perfectly content in that ordinary? And how do I find the way to do it as well?
Will I ever be able to stand on a beach, in a swimming suit, and laugh at life? Laugh and find joy just for being? Will I ever be able to celebrate me? Will I ever be able to celebrate my life? Will I ever be able to celebrate all that I am? All that I have become? And all that I give to this world? This is a question I am not sure I can answer; and what is worse, I now have to take a pill because even the question upsets me.