I’ve read some great articles and books on the boxes we choose to put ourselves in. The parameters we force ourself to see the world around. Like I can get really angry about the small minded community I live in, but I don’t have to live in it – I just keep perpetuating it by thinking it exists larger than a broadminded thinker would.
Basically: it’s not the real estate, community, or culture that needs to change: it’s my mind.
So when Spain was on the way I immediately thought I had X amount of days to get “serious” about a diet and lose 10 pounds. I went overboard with hot yoga and then 2 weeks before we left I realized I wasn’t enjoying anything. I was creating a toxic-self-hate environment that was supposed to be bringing balance to my life and it was doing everything except that.
I went out and bought clothes I knew I wouldn’t wear at home. Dresses that touched my body, shirts and outfits that made me look like a woman and not a straight lined version of one. I bought a bikini.
Women here seem to like being women. They don’t wear their insecurities for everyone to see. They don’t sit in ways that make you wonder how unhappy they are. They wear tight clothes, high heels, and walk around with confidence. They’re all different shapes and sizes, but the rules seem to be universal here: you’re already beautiful. That’s your right. You’re here, aren’t you? Then yes, you too can be pretty. Because you’re breathing.
There’s a freedom in sexuality here, some of it in your face. Everyone makes-out in the public parks, in the alleys, tucked in doorways. Teenagers say long good byes near the metro station, feeling each other up and crooning into one another’s necks. The lay down on a grassy lawn and lay on top of each other, just kissing. Clothes always on, no one cops underneath feels. They’re just in love.
And it’s so fucking refreshing.
I don’t have to break a mold, I have to break into one here. I don’t have to create the standard for my daughter, it’s already here. Confidence. If you don’t have it, how can anyone else give it to you?
It’s not conceited here, although I’m sure that’s universal. Women are a catty breed. We’re competitive and greedy with love. We’re a jealous species. But that’s not what you see here, not at first. Sometimes not at all, at least I haven’t. It’s like candy for my eyes – all these dresses and shapes and variations on style and hair. Shoes and hand bags, bracelets. It looks exciting to get dressed, it looks like fun to be a girl.
I think an awful lot about this: I just turned 30 and of course wanted to be in the best shape of my life! Beat the odds! Be that magazine cutout of yourself by 30 or never at all. Or wait for an acceptable age to have surgery, to recreate your body. I don’t love myself, that’s not hard to take away from this post. Most women struggle with their reflection in the mirror, most of our mothers did too.
And Spain, among other things, was a get out of jail free card for me. It was a place to just be me. To try something new, to be a little uncomfortable wearing things that showed a shape, a curve. I haven’t worn a bikini since before I had kids – there’s just parts of my stomach that probably look normal for most post-birth women. Stretch marks, a pouch. Some skin that will never retain elasticity. It won’t go back, it’s like that forever.
I don’t want to advertise it by any means and I don’t want to hide it either. It’s on me and I’m lucky to have some stripes. I don’t want to be ashamed of them.
If I’m not standing on the scale in our bathroom measuring how much I’m worth – aren’t we all standing on the scale of our lives measuring how much we’re worth against the reflections of our female counterparts? She’s skinnier, she bounced back so much faster, she doesn’t have to work out, she’s naturally thin. She eats chocolate every day! Or, I’m so glad I don’t look like her. dot dot dot. We’re always somewhere on the scale of perception.
And I guess in Spain I’m not sure where the scale lies because I haven’t checked in for a few days and it seems to be balancing the world around me just fine.
This is one souvenir I hope I don’t have to check at the airport.