Can I be honest with you blogging world? Yes? Okay.
I have a tummy. A round, curvy one that could look like I’m in the early stages of pregnancy. It’s chubby. It carries the weight I’ve put on since college, but even before that my stomach has always been rounder and softer.
I haven’t always known how to feel about it. I mean most days I think stomachs are cute. I mean I love children’s stomachs and belly buttons they are irresistible. And my husband wants to lose weight and get healthier for a variety of reasons, but I find his stomach quite attractive. But it’s pretty clear that should not be ideal. Fat is to be scorned at all costs, it is rarely an observation and regularly an insult. Screw the ideals, after all I long ago passed what is the idealistically beautiful woman. That cannot be my only hope.
But over these past few days I felt incredibly beautiful and as is typical it wasn’t really because of how I looked (though I looked good), but because I was impressed what my body did.
You see this breathtaking view? This is the view I had on Mt. Cardigan in New Hampshire. All I could see for miles was trees and blue sky. It was marvelously breathtaking. It was a 3 mile trip up and down and were at an elevation of 3,155 ft once we got to the top. I have never been that high up except for when I’ve been on a airplane!
My friend Sam, her boyfriend, and a group of her friends took us on this journey. They were all used to hiking, neither Stephenson and I had ever been on a mountain hike before. The whole time we were at least an 1/8 mile behind them.
Yet I was so proud of us, our bodies, and our ability to push past our mental limits. Many times husband and I wanted to give up, but we would take a break, drink more water, and remind ourselves the view was going to be worth it.
It so was. I just kept drinking in thinking what a joyous thing it was to be alive and have that opportunity. Every exhausted breath, shaky leg, and perilous step was worth it. And once we spent a while there we walked down. We were still the slowest, but going down was more fun and easier especially knowing we had already made it one way.
My body could do this despite a severe lack of regular exercise, despite never climbing a mountain before. My body felt incredible, even though other people were doing the exact same thing, I was just wholly in my body and spirit feeling vibrant.
Then the following day we spent the morning by the lake. As you know I bought my first ever bikini a few weeks ago at Target. I went back and forth when I was packing if I should wear my bikini or not, knowing it would basically just be the three of us at the lake. I still bought my other top just in case. But I decided to just wear the bikini and shocker it was fine. I felt comfortable being practically naked, nothing weighing me down, able to swim around or flow around on my kayak. The only thing on my mind was having fun with my friend and my husband or keeping my eyes peeled for turtles. Totally got to hold one by the way, so cool. The only photos we took of that time were some on the dock. This one is my favorite.
I love how authentic this moment is. I was just free to play, to have my stomach roll around, to flop in and out of the boats, to swim, kayak, and paddle board to my hearts content. To not care about my hair and be free and open in my body exactly as it was in the moment. Beautiful.
I certainly think modesty is beautiful and a person does not have to walk around in a bikini to prove they love or have confidence in their body, but sometimes a girl can just wear a bikini because it doesn’t matter. I was with my husband who has seen every inch and crevice of my body and one of my best friends who I can trust to not shame me for who I am and where I’m at. And I’m comfortable having that image online as well. I feel great and natural in this picture. Not to mention most people in my daily life see me in about this much clothing in the summer anyway 😉
Anyway it was a fantastic two days of body loving, soaking up life, and simply being fully present to the beauty and wonders around and within me. This is exactly why I love summer. I always tell people this summer is the best summer of my life because summers are just fantastic opportunities to be with friends outdoors, stretch yourself, and be fully present. Maybe some people do that in the winter, for me in the winter I basically just survive until the sun returns. Summer reminds me over and over again how good life is. How full of hope it is because no matter how cold it gets, summer always returns.
Anyway I hope you’ve had some holistic adventures this summer and continue to this week. Now I have to get ready for last big adventure of the summer: New York City!