Friday, June 29, 2012

Being Happy in the Skin We Live In, Part 2: Just Let Go!

Me in San Fran, showing some arm ;)

As I spoke about earlier this month in Part 1 of this series, with the summer season upon us and the temperatures rising, we are presented with that choice of bearing skin to be more comfortable and cool. I openly admit that I have issues with showing my arms in sleeveless tops and dresses. It’s something I have struggled with for years. The process of fully letting go and baring my arms started a few years ago. I guess the fear of showing my arms was so great that the thought of shedding it all at once was overwhelming.  So I have been taking baby steps.

I think many of us suffer in silence when it gets hot because we have some insecurity holding us back from shedding some skin. Fear breeds many things, including insecurity.  I know some women won’t wear shorts; some won’t wear skirts above the knee. I’m not knocking that because at the end of the day, we all have to do what makes us comfortable. But I know for me, I’m tired of holding myself back from being physically comfortable in order to make myself mentally comfortable by feeding into my insecurities.

I learned a long time ago that people see what they want to see.  Sometimes others see what you don’t see about yourself and vice versa. That is why it is so important to love yourself and embrace who you are NOW.  If you don’t believe in your own beauty, you won’t see it and it won’t matter what anyone else says. Someone can be telling you that you look great but if you don’t believe it or see it, their words don’t matter and will fall on deaf ears.  Last week, I talked about how some people are uncomfortable when they see a plus size person out there happy, confident and comfortable in their own skin. Well, what about the reverse? What do we do when we’re the ones uncomfortable? Not the people looking at us.

The top I bought - my summer goal!
Last weekend, I went shopping with a friend and actually did something I have never done. I usually walk right past the tank tops, especially ones with spaghetti straps. But this time, I saw animal print, which I love. And the tank tops were on sale: 2 for $12. So I grabbed two (brown leopard and zebra print) and went to try them on. I don’t know if it was the fact that I had on a properly fitting bra, which can make a world of difference as I blogged this week, OR if it was because my mindset had changed over the years from my step-by-step process. But I looked into the mirror and said out loud, “Wow, this actually looks good.” Now my upper arms are still big, despite having gone down three sizes.  BUT I was seeing them with a new set of eyes. I immediately called my friend into the dressing room and she confirmed that the top looked great.

Over the years, I have come to the realization that I have to own and love my body as it is NOW. As I have said before, happiness is not just a dress size. We can all improve but at the same time, we have to love ourselves regardless of our flaws because no one is perfect. There will always be something we will find within ourselves that we don’t like. But if we stop being so hard on ourselves, we can deal with those things we don’t like without that dislike turning into an insecurity that will hold us back from fully being confident and loving ourselves overall.

Baby steps - Me in Martinique
As I mentioned above, I have been taking baby steps. Sometimes in order to succeed in overcoming a fear, you have to have a step-by-step process because if you try to conquer it all in one shot, it can get overwhelming.  Many times when we get overwhelmed, our immediate instinct is to quit trying. I started off by wearing short sleeves that fell at my mid-upper arm and not at the elbow, like my usual. After getting comfortable in that manner as time passed, I went to a cap sleeve, showing more arm. From there, I went to a sleeveless top with covered shoulders and a v-neck. Now I’m at a point where I am almost comfortable wearing a tank top with thick shoulder straps. My goal for this summer is to wear those tank tops with the spaghetti straps that I ended up purchasing as well as a strapless dress I bought 2 years ago from Old Navy. The dress fits me fantastic but strapless…hmmm…that’s a leap for me. But I am getting there, one inch at a time.

Me in Hawaii, really taking a big step - a swimsuit

Yes, I am feeling daring this summer and it feels good. Letting go always feels good. It’s scary at first but once you push through that fear and let go, you can do anything you set your mind to. I feel so powerful and that’s what overcoming fear and insecurity is all about. Taking back your power and not letting your worries of how others will react to you, dictate how you live your life.  I want to spend the summer feeling free and being cool. And I knew I was ready, the moment I invented what I call my “Fat Girl” wave last year. When people stare at me now, I raise my arm and shake my upper arm fat at them…I “wave” at them, LOL. And I feel so kick-ass when I do that. Take that, Haters!  

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