Here I am being a dickhead on the front of a boat. I want to tell you why. I’d just scuba dived for the first time. Yep, OK, stay with me a minute....
Maybe not a big deal, people dive every day. But this was very big deal to me, and I'm about to talk real with you.
I live with anxiety (and depression, but that is a complexity to discuss another day) Most days I’m incessantly concerned about a myriad of things that usually aren’t actual problems. It means I have an overactive mind, unrelenting high standards, and a lot of physical tension in my body, which over the years has resulted in some hectic AF chronic pain.
So this scuba diving thing caused me a lot of anxiety. Here are some quick dot points about the situation:
- my anxiety on a day to day basis is generally quite high
- I was in a foreign place
- I was on an excursion away from my reality
- I am a mum and a woman, and both these things combined make for much guilt and shame
- I was a few months into dealing with a marriage break up
- I was holidaying from an office job that became essential after...
- In recent years I've had a few failed business attempt(s).
My friend asked me, fairly casually, if I wanted to do a discovery dive.
I was panicking on the inside. but I still said YES. Because I want to say yes to life.
I was panicking on the way out to the dive spot.
I was panicking when I put on the gear.
Panicking for me can be some or all of the following: (I love dot points)
- a racing, erratic heart beat
- a prickly sensation that starts in my feet and moves in waves up and down my body
- hypersensitivity to how other people are feeling, including paranoia
- some sort of sense of displacement and feeling unsafe
- a stammering and breaking voice.
I've become very clever at hiding most of this when it's happening. (Woah. this is getting really raw).
We prepped and jumped in. I didn’t see a lot under the water as we went down. I was concentrating soooo fckn hard on breathing and remaining calm.
I knew at any time, I could make a signal to my instructor to go to the surface, and it took everything within me not to.
After a (kind of) serene, supported experience with my instructor and my friend, I surfaced to take a normal breath, and shit mate, never have I been so appreciative of oxygen.
I was elated, I couldn’t believe I’d done it. I was on top of the goddamn world.
And now the part about the photo.
On a natural high, I struck some silly poses, just being my dickhead self. I had a fleeting thought at the time that I hoped it wouldn't ever be seen, and I was worried about how I looked. I did not ever think I'd be the one actively sharing it, but I feel like the story here is way more important. Because even though at the time I would say I was in the middle of a self acceptance revolution, I still thought:
- That's not sexy.
- I’ve got bumpy thighs.
- My arms are bigger than I'd like them to be.
- Stomach is faaaattttt.
- Those out of control voluptuous mammaries.
A few months later, my view couldn't be more different. It's amazing what can happen in a small amount of time.
The self acceptance journey, is exactly that. A lot of unlearning, and deliberate rebellion against everything we know about what makes a woman attractive.
I see at this woman on the front of a boat in the south of Vietnam and think, WOW.
I see a woman who was soooo scared, but faced it head on.
I see a woman going through some of her hardest times, and still able to smile, have adventures and embrace challenge.
I see a woman who is brave.
I see a LOT of women who are brave.
These things are way more important to how beauty is represented, than any bumps on thighs. I am NOT THERE YET, I’m continually learning to accept and let go of what I see as imperfect. But I will continue to deliberately rebel against unrealistic expectations, challenge the norms, and I want you to join me and heaps of other amazing women who are already doing it.
I think BRAVE is fckn sexy. So, let the world see it.
Share it sister. #braveissexy