Tales of a wandering lesbian

Inside out

I find it pretty amazing how the way I feel about myself colors the way I feel about the world.  And sometimes the other way around.  For example:

When I went to Hawaii a month or so ago, I wasn’t feeling too great about my physical self.  I really do like almost everything about my body (I know, that’s a big statement.  It’s taken me a while to feel that way), but I go through cycles where I’m more content or less content with the way I feel about my physical fitness.  When I got to the island for the three week stay, I was already three weeks into the resumption of my workout routine.  Typically, it takes six weeks for me to see a difference once I start working out, so I was pretty sure I’d be feeling good by the time I left the island…as long as I kept working out.

I was feeling the effect of two months of over-eating in Italy.  And while I walked a crap-ton, I didn’t do a lot of cardio or weight training.  Things had shifted around in a way that made me uncomfortable in my skin, so I was committed to getting back to a place where I was happy chillin’ in a bikini.

So I started working out.

The condos had a decent gym, so I took advantage of the fact that my body was still on Pacific Standard Time, and got up early every morning to hit the elliptical for a good workout and then fell into my weight-training routine from college, something I’m super-happy to have in my memory bank.

It took about a week to see a change in the way I was feeling.  This was interesting, because it should have taken at least three to see an actual, physical difference.  I’m not sure my body changed much in the first week I spent in the gym, but the way I saw my body sure did.  I expected this to happen at some point.  I’ve gone through enough of these cycles to know how it works, but this time it was pretty dramatic.  It might have been due to the fact that I was also spending a fair amount of time in the sun, or the fact that I was texting non-stop with a beautiful woman.  It’s hard to say, really, but at the end of the first week, I felt good.  Really good.

I was excited to put on the bikini to go to the beach.  I stopped trying to hide the parts of me that I was least happy with.  I laughed, met people’s eyes, and even smiled at the super-cute lifeguard at the beach.  I took time for myself, thought through the next steps in my life, and felt generally excited about being me.  Not because I looked any different, but because I saw myself differently.  I saw the beauty above all else.

And here’s what I noticed:

People were beautiful.  I mean really beautiful.

I even turned to my mom at one point and said, “You ever notice how when you think you’re beautiful, everyone else is beautiful?”  And it’s true.  When things are working right for me, I project beauty out into the world, seeing everyone at their best, because I see myself at my best.

***

I’m back from the trip, and I’m in better shape now that I was when I started.  I’m still working out.  I look great.  But I’m not in the sun anymore.  And there aren’t texts from a beautiful woman anymore.  And I’ve been less sure of the next steps in my life.  And here’s what I’m noticing:

I forget that I’m beautiful.

It’s not just about physical beauty.  That part’s easier.  I forget about my inner beauty.

But I understand when other people aren’t at their best.  I give them a break.  When they cut me off in traffic, or say something mean, or just act like they don’t care about what they’re doing, I understand.  They forget that they’re beautiful, too.

I know how that feels, so I’m able to see it, and to have empathy.  For them.  But I’ve had a hard time when it comes to me.  I’ve beat myself up for not seeing the beauty in me, and then for beating myself up.  I’ve beat myself up for not having empathy for myself.  It’s a vicious cycle, really.

But what I do have is fantastic friends.  People who see the beauty in me even when I’ve forgotten.  The ones who give me a break when I cut them off in traffic, say something mean, or just act like I don’t care. They’re the people who have empathy for me.

So I think maybe, if I can see myself as a good friend, as someone who I care about, who has just forgotten how beautiful they are, I’ll be able to have a little empathy.  And to give myself a break.  And isn’t that all we really need?  To be our own friend?  To give ourselves a break?  To see how beautiful we are, so that we can see the beauty in others?  I think yes.

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3 comments

1 Big Mama { 03.13.10 at 7:26 am }

Now……that was just simply …….beautiful.

2 Heather { 03.17.10 at 11:17 pm }

Kristen.. you are beautiful. Inside and out! I have always thought so! Tho.. your personality.. is what sold me on you the most!
It is true.. when you allow your inner beauty to shine through.. your exterior will also glow!
You rock!

3 Ant { 03.22.10 at 9:51 am }

I think “yes” as well! Big Mama, be proud, she’s breaking the cycle, Thank God!

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