Have hope, chase joy, embrace life – recovery is possible.

Archive for November, 2010

Breaking All The Rules

When it comes to the beach, society seems to burden us with a long list of unwritten rules.
The most common of which seem to revolve around body shapes & sizes, & who, depending on those shapes & sizes, is allowed to participate in the joys of this beautiful ocean environment.

How many times have you agonised over what you might look like on the beach?
Whether that tummy bulge is too prominent for a bikini?
Whether those jiggly thighs should be hidden away beneath boardshorts?
How many times have you missed out on the joys of the beach, because you believed your body simply wasn’t good enough to be present there?

Yes, there is pressure from society to follow these ‘rules of acceptability’, but who makes up this society?
I do.
And you do too.
We are the people that are helping to create & enforce these invisible rules.
And guess what – they aren’t going to change unless WE change them.

I love the beach.
I love the smell of the salt spray in the air.
I love the sound of the waves breaking, & their foamy white crashes over mossy green rocks.
I love the feeling of soft, warm sand between my toes.
I love the way the crisp, cool water leaves me breathless, as i first wade out from the beach.
I love the clear water, & the shadows that dance on the sand beneath my feet.
But most of all, i love the waves. In fact, i adore them.
I love to watch them roll in towards me, & i love picking which ones to jump or swim under.
I love swimming right out beyond the other swimmers, to where the surfers sit resting on their boards waiting for that perfect wave.
I love to fight them for it 😉
I love that when i am in that water, i am entirely present & completely in the moment – there is never another thought in my mind outside of that wave rolling in towards me.

Today, i needed that peace.
Today i needed that calm.
But what about those rules?

Well, pretty much – they suck.
I do not exist to be asthetically pleasing to others.
It is not my job to manipulate & modify my body shape, or pick out clothes (including a swimsuit), based on what will make others feel comfortable.
It is not my job, & i have given up on trying to make it so.

Today i went to the beach, bulgy little tummy, jiggly thighs & all.
I went swimming in a t-shirt & knee-length leggings, because i don’t own a swimsuit that fits me.
Yes, people looked at me a little funny, when i first put my towel down, & trotted off to the waters edge with my clothes still on.
But guess what? They didn’t really care. And even if they did, i didn’t.
I do not exist to be asthetically pleasing to others. I exist for my own reasons.
And one of them, is to live joyously & with freedom.

Jumping & diving, over & under those waves felt amazing.
Bobbing around in the cool clear water, i felt strong & relaxed at the same time – my body felt strong & my my mind was clear.
It was exactly what i needed – a beautiful, healing moment.

Next time you go to the beach, & you find yourself agonising over those rules – stop.
And take a moment to consider if there is anyone who would truly benefit from you following them.
Then, consider who might benefit if you didn’t.

Be brave. Break the rules.
I guarantee that a world of joyous new opportunities will open up to you.
And by opening yourself up to those experiences, you will be helping others to break those rules too.
Show people that you don’t always have to do what society deems acceptable. Help change what acceptable means.
We ARE society. We have the power.

And when you get the chance to swim (or dance, or sing, or anything else that fills you with joy), i hope you throw those rules out the window – i hope you choose to swim.
It was certainly the best decision i made all day 🙂

It’s just really struck me this year that:

a) it is not my responsibility to make other people feel comfortable with my appearance, &
b) by obeying these unwritten rules that society has created, i am helping reinforce them – i am taking part in their creation & maintenance.

To heck with rules – i’m gonna swim! 🙂