A couple of weeks ago, I went to Mexico on my first vacation in nearly 5 years. I have so many things I want to share from the trip! First up though, something that has been a personal mission lately: life experiences.
Contrary to how it appears on this blog, I'm quite self conscious and risk averse. I've actively worked over the years to stop sitting on the sidelines or saying no to things because I wasn't sure I'd fit in or be able to do something. There were years when my binge eating disorder was in full swing that I really want to leave the house, much less try to do something active.
When I started blogging 6?!! years ago, I thought I would find a full, satisfying life by reaching a lower number on the scale. I was chasing that pot of gold at the end of the scale rainbow. The pot of gold was going to be full of confidence, opportunities, and that joie de vivre spirit I've wanted for so long.
Chasing a rainbow only leads to disappointment. The pot of gold has to be found somewhere inside, no matter what the scale says. You and I are enough, just as we are in this moment.
So with this in mind on vacation, I wanted to embrace experiences as they came.
My friends and I booked a boat trip to Isla de Mujeres, and included with it was snorkeling. I don't know why, but I've always had a ick thing with fish. I grew up with lots of fish as my dad loves them. We had goldfish, koi, and betas. But the thought of getting in the water and having them swim up against my legs just gave me the shivers. It didn't stop me from getting in the ocean, but I'd stay shallow and just hope that there weren't any fish nibbling at my legs.
Snorkeling sounded good in theory (I love to swim), but it also meant being among the fish. REALLY among the fish.
(That's actually the nude lining of my swim top, not my skin. Looks a little weird, but whatevs!)
I had some anxiety about the life jackets we were required to wear in the deeper waters. Unfortunately these are just things you have to think about when your larger: does this boat have life jackets large enough to accommodate me?
The crew came around to hand out the snorkel gear and life jackets and a little panic set in. What if my size held me back from doing this awesome thing and facing my fish fear? When they handed the jacket to me, I told them I'd probably need a bigger one before putting it on. I ended up able to fit in that one, but they came back later with a larger one. I should have stuck with the smaller one as the larger one ended up floating up to my neck since it wasn't super secure. Size hurdle cleared!
This is from the 1st snorkel, in deeper waters (I'm in the middle). It took me a few tries to get the breathing down as the nose on the mask was leaking some water, but I was able to fix it. And when I saw the fish, I wasn't icked out – I was so freaking happy and amazed:
“look! There are more fish over there!”
This was our 2nd snorkeling stop, which was on the beach in waist-deep water so no life jacket required. There wasn't as much variety in the colors of the fish, but they were still really awesome. Here's a super quick video:
Years ago I would have written this experience off because of the anxiety of the life jacket not fitting. Or me looking weird. Or having to wear a swim suit in front of a boat of strangers. I wouldn't have even gotten on the boat. If the life jacket didn't fit? I still would have had an amazing day trip on a boat with friends, plus we didn't need the jackets in the shallow 2nd trip.
How many times have you missed out on things because of fear or insecurity? Even if it wasn't weight-related, so many of us have hangups that end up being our handcuffs. I can't even count the number of times I held myself back. I've realized that the lack of life experiences wasn't because of my weight – it's because I didn't accept the opportunities.
Let me know in the comments: Whether it's a dinner date with friends or an item on your bucket list: what's an experience you're going to prioritize?