Gosh this speaks to me. As I read it I felt a sigh deep inside of me “Yep, that’s me, all I really want is to feel comfortable in my own skin”.
My sense of what this means has really changed for me over the years. When I was younger it played out in my body image issues. I have never been particularly ‘overweight’, whatever that even means, but I was rarely ever okay with how I looked. ‘Never skinny/toned/tall/pretty enough’.
But over the last few years I have really been letting go of that. In fact last summer at 46, I started wearing a bikini again as I love the feeling of not having much on when I am in the ocean and with the sun on me. The little gremlins in my head can still give me a hard time though.
We are in the middle of winter here in Australia and I am about to take my 15-year old son on a surfing holiday in Bali. And I can feel those old gremlins in my head saying, ‘you will be to pale’, ‘you haven’t done enough exercise and are flabby’, ‘look at your stretch marks’, ‘one of your younger girlfriend who will be there is a yoga instructor and will be fit and toned’. ‘You are 47, you are too old to wear a bikini’.
But the great thing is, I don’t listen to those stories anymore. In fact yesterday I bought myself a new bikini for my trip (and to do that I had to stand in the fluoro lights of a change room in the middle of winter, with my socks still on…you should have heard the gremlins then!).
I will put on my new bikini, let myself be completely imperfect and say thank you but I am not listening to those insecure voices in my head. These days, feeling comfortable in my skin is not so much about how I look it is about how I feel about myself in general.
It is ultimately about the practice of being self-compassionate, of being an authentic woman no matter who I am talking to or what I am doing. It is about letting myself be imperfect, letting myself make mistakes, letting myself be vulnerable, be seen and heard. It is about being kind to myself. It is about learning to love and accept myself.
And that, for me, is an ongoing practice. One I look forward to practicing on our holiday!
With great warmth