So I have been working really hard at getting healthy and fit. It’s been a really long road. Shedding the pounds continues to feel like I am taking off layers of myself I’ve put on throughout my life. Each layer seems to bring something new and unexpected and I learn something about myself with each layer I peel off. Sometimes it feels refreshing and sometimes it feels scary and I feel pretty vulnerable. My weight was almost a protection for me. It kept me safe from having to face certain pieces of my past as well as certain aspects of who I am. It smothered my confidence and kept it so well hidden that I often didn’t believe any existed.
My weight loss journey has required a bravery buried deep inside of me that I haven’t tapped into since I was really young and my parents were divorcing. Running is taking me to my bravery. Running is getting me strong. I hated running as a child. I was painfully shy and I would often run away and hide afraid. Today I’m running for very different reasons. I’m not running away anymore or to hide, but to remember who I am and finally be me.
So today, feeling strong and lean and confident, I went to the store and tried on a bikini. Well, more like 10 to be exact! I was certain someone would look at me and tell me I had no business looking at bikinis and politely usher me to the “mom” bathing suits nearby. But no, no one seemed to care other than me. I went to the dressing room unbelievably nervous. I put on the first and I slowly and cautiously turned around to peek in the mirror. It was quite a moment. Not because I thought I looked spectacular. Nope. I just stood there. I was amazed at my reflection because I couldn’t believe I had found the courage not only to put a bikini on, but also to get my body fit again and in many ways, my life back.
If the bikini could have spoken, I imagine in my mind it would have said, “It was never your fault. It’s okay to look beautiful. It’s okay to look sexy. It’s okay to be thin and fit.”
So today is a landmark day for me. Today I made the decision to leave my shame behind in the dressing room. Today I came home stronger and with the bikini!
*April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. SAAM is a national campaign that commits to raising awareness and promoting the prevention of sexual violence through public education. If you are someone you know is a survivor of sexual assault, help is out there. RAINN, Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization. RAINN created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline 1-800-656-HOPE in partnership with over 1,100 local rape crisis centers nationwide. RAINN also runs the National Assault Online Hotline (online.rainn.org). Reach out for help.