it's easy to miss changes when they happen a little bit every day. take a moment to stop and smell those roses (or elderberries).
have you ever not done something your whole life because you were so worried people would think it looked stupid? well it only took me 25 years to decide that's a silly reason. cheers to doing what i want with my body, because guess what? it's mine.
new year, same me.
my mom gave me this bracelet when i graduated from high school. i've worn it every day since then, except for that week when it sat in my car because i broke the clasp at the farm. anyone that knows us should know that the last thing i need is a bracelet to remind me she loves me, but it's a nice token to bring along.
that's one of the most important things i've learned from traveling. love doesn't go anywhere. actually, it goes everywhere.
today, as i spend my first christmas away from home, i know that this day is just like every other day. love doesn't change on weekends or holidays. it doesn't grow weak as it stretches across oceans and time zones. if it's real, it's always there. like a cozy blanket to wrap yourself up in. and i do love being cozy.
Today I went snorkeling at a beach on Oahu. The fish, the coral, the sun, the water, all perfect. Do you ever have those moments when you need to pinch yourself? Yeah, it was one of those moments.
And then, just a moment later it all flipped upside down.
I watched a man being rushed to shore on a surf board and quickly transferred to one of those orange boards on the sand. The lifeguards swarmed and cleared a space around him. They strapped him down and quickly began CPR, taking turns, again, and again, and again....and again.
They did this for nearly 45 minutes.
I stood in the water and watched with horrified fascination, like a car crash you can't look away from. I didn't want to watch, but I also couldn't make myself keep swimming. I stood there shivering in the hot sun.
I cried for the man. I cried for his family. I cried for the lifeguards who maintained their strong faces as they tried and tried. I cried for the EMTs who eventually made the decision to stop trying. I cried as they loaded him into the ambulance. And I cried as the people dispersed, hiding any trace of what just happened on the beach.
I sat on that beach all afternoon. I couldn't go in the water, and yet I couldn't make myself leave. Do you ever feel paralyzed by your emotions? I do. I always need time to process things, analyze and over analyze. I think that's why I'm so quiet. I'm too busy thinking.
So what's the take away?
Life is so god damn fragile.
That's all I can come up with.
Bad things happen to good people, at any time of the year. You can plan and schedule and then life happens and none of it matters.
Please go hug your people extra tight for me today, ok? Holidays or not, spread some love.
When people learn that I do most of my traveling alone, I’m always met with the same questions. Aren’t you scared? Don’t you get lonely?
The answer to both is absolutely yes, sometimes, but never enough to stop me. Traveling alone is such a unique type of experience, and one that I feel has helped me become a much more confident person. Confident to be outgoing, but also confident in my quietness. This article really hit the nail on the head.
Love this part:
“Being shy also makes me passive. Unable to stand up for myself or say what I want, I have a tendency to go along with a group. I’ll say yes, or “I don’t mind”, or “you choose” – even when I really do have a preference. Because of that, I’ve gone on some adventures that I never otherwise would have. Saying yes to things I wanted to say no to has led me to discover some amazing things, meet great people, or find myself in the kind of crazy situation that leads to a great story.
I used to think being passive was a bad thing. But it’s really not. It’s just a different way to travel, and one that comes with real freedom in a way. So don’t ever wish you were less shy or less passive. Own your shyness and be proud of who you are. It might take you places you’d never have made it to otherwise!”
Being shy isn’t something you need to change, it’s a special skill that you were gifted with. It makes us different and that’s a good thing!
Plus, I love the idea of using a patronus! Why hadn’t I ever thought of that!
Thanks for the wonderful read Emily!
Click the image above or right here to read her wonderful article.
i overheard a conversation the other day, and i can’t stop thinking about it. maybe if i write it down i can make some sense of it.
i had gone into a fitting room with an armload of things, hoping to find a few last minute scores before i set off on my winter adventures. nothing was fitting right and i was feeling discouraged. my tan i worked at all summer long seemed to have vanished overnight, and the one dress i did like wasn't on clearance. i had struck out. oh well.
as i was gathering my things i heard a teenage sounding girl latch the door next to me and call out "i'll just be a sec, dad!" i put my boots on and sat down to tie them up, regretting the decision to wear shoes that needed lacing. i can hear the sighs from the girl next to me as she fiddles with hangers. her dad calls out, "any luck?"
she responds, "no, nothing fits! ugh! my body is terrible."
my body is terrible.
that's really what she said.
her dad said nothing.
i said nothing.
why didn't either of us say anything?!
that's really what's eating me up about this.
why didn't i call through the wall between us,
"your body is not terrible, not even a little bit. it's the cookie cutter department store clothing that's terrible. it's the media infecting young girls (and boys) that's terrible. it's labels like 'one size fits all,' or my personal favorite, 'one size fits most' that are terrible. it's XL women's clothes being S men's clothes. it's being a size 10 in one store and a size 18 in another. it's the plus size models that are hardly plus sized. it's movies and music and a whole culture focused on skinny. it's our self worth being so wrapped up in how well clothes fit us that is terrible. but not your body. your body is yours and it’s perfect for you."
i didn’t say any of that.
and i hate that she probably went home that day and didn’t hear anything to change her mind.
but i do get it. i so get it.
i can't speak for anyone but myself, and my own teenage brain probably thought the same things. in middle school and high school i was consumed by insecurities. i always felt like i was the biggest girl amongst my friends, my class, my team. it didn't matter the group, i always compared myself. gosh, i look back at photos now and realize how horribly skewed my thoughts were. stacy, you were just tall. why did you waste so much time thinking you were fat?
it wasn't until college that i began to realize how much better i felt when i stopped obsessing over my body. i stopped caring about the clothes i wore and just put on whatever felt comfortable. yeah, so what none of it matches and i may have slept in it last night, i feel like myself. and you know what? i like myself.
i've always hated those lofty blanket statements like "love yourself" or "love the skin you're in." everyone's relationship with their own body is completely unique, and who am i to tell you how you should feel or how you should act? my motto would be something more along the lines of "every day, try to make your body your own." just try. it's ok if you can't. and every day. because every day is different. some days i feel like a complete stranger in my body, and other days i feel so perfectly fused with it that a smile feels the most comfortable.
it still makes me sad that that girl in the fitting room felt so poorly about herself. i hope she had better luck elsewhere and found something that made her feel confident. i hope her dad told her she looked beautiful no matter what she wore.
i hope i say something next time.
but mostly, i hope there isn't a next time.
Hanging hole. Holbeck, Leeds. May 1986.
my own slice of magic, forever and always.
the ocean is full of verbs.