To the majority of people going on holiday is something they look forward too. It’s time away from the stresses of everyday life, time to recharge their batteries and immerse themselves in new cultures. However for me holidays have always come with their own set of stresses and fears;
- feeling like you have to 'get in shape'
- the thought of having to wear a swimsuit/bikini
- having to be in a confined place with hundreds on strangers on a plane
- having to sit in those tiny aeroplane seats and feel like you're taking up too much space
- taking my top off
- being in completely new surroundings
All of these fears are completely valid. None of them are reasons not to travel.
We've just got back from a holiday in Thailand and it was the more beautiful and liberating trip. Firstly Thailand is absolute spectacular, but more importantly it the first time I've been away and beaten every one of my travel fears and anxieties.
I'm not going to say it was easy. Taking my top off infront of a pool filled with guys who look like they were sculpted by the gods, but I did it. For anyone who knows me my stomach has always been my biggest insecurity. When I was bigger I hated it's stretch marks, I hated how round it was & that it was even visible in the biggest of hoodies. Over years as I got smaller I continued to hate my stomach. I hate it's now silver stretch marks and the sheer amount of excess skin. It wasn't until this year, finding this community and being surrounded by such amazing people that I've found love for something I hated for so long. I love my stomach. I love the way those stretch marks tell a story. I love that the excess skin is just because my body can't contain my enormous soul (& sass).
When I took my top off on that first day I wasn't thinking, "Oh I wonder what they will think of me" or "Will they be attracted to me still once they see whats under these clothes?". I was simply thinking "damn that water looks good". I allowed my body to confine me for so many years. It stopped me from enjoying myself. From taking part. But why? Why did I do that for so long. I love the water. I'm a fucking majestic beast in the ocean so why am I missing out? The reality is I didn't feel good enough. I didn't feel attractive enough, 'fit' enough to enjoy the water. Not anymore! I love my body & It loved me right back but most importantly it doesn't hold me back. It allows me to do all the amazings things that fill this wonderful planet.
We're taught that you need to 'get in shape' to go on holiday. That you need to be pre-tanned before you get a tan whilst you're on holiday. All so that we can sit around a pool and drink pinà coladas whilst judging people who clearly haven't put in 'the work'. I'm not going to lie. I used to TRY to be one of these people. I would go to the gym relentlessly, I'd try every fad diet you can imagine and I'd be miserable. Why? Because my body isn't supposed to be that shape and thats fine. My body is beautiful. Not all bodies are supposed to be the same. I know it's difficult to unlearn everything we've been taught from such a young age but I did it! & so can you. Body size/shape/colour doesn't determine what you can and can't do. It's the teachings of society that stop us from enjoying ourselves and being ourselves.
So this year was different. I didn't diet. I didn't tan (who am I kidding, pale boy for lyf). I didn't get stressed or panic about the thoughts that used to control me. I simple let it be. I enjoyed my body for what it is & I enjoyed my holiday.
Like I said holidays are supposed to be relaxing, exciting, adventurous or educating. They are whatever you want them to be but I think we can all agree that they aren't supposed to be full of stress & anxiety. Just enjoy it, enjoy your body and enjoy your life. Forget what you're told. You know you're beautiful.
Love always, bopo.boy