This blog, like so many other things in my life, has until now been yet another example of something I enjoy doing in a half -hearted, non committal sort of way; as if to prove I could have done it better if … Countless excuses to be less than what I really am.
Last week I happily and joyfully celebrated my 38th birthday … there’s nothing like a birthday to get all deep and introspective. So this is what I know. I am an attractive, extremely opinionated and some what loud, single mum of three. I spend a lot of time and energy dishing out advice, feel good quips and challenging everyone I can to take risks and live their ‘best life now’ while I sagely play it safe.
The truth is I am deeply insecure about my looks and body. One cruel remark made to me in my teen years and here I am still getting upset with the reflection in my mirror. And so I write this now because I am tired of living small.
I recently fulfilled one of the items on my bucket list and spent my holiday abroad. The most extreme enlightening moment of my life was experienced at the Spa Castle in Queens. Imagine for a moment an extremely budget friendly Spa that can accommodate over 1000 people; a place so large that the only way to identify you is with an electronic tag on your wrist that you use to control your locker, buy food and booze! Its cushy, your every whim is catered for and it’s open for over 12 hours daily. Can one spend that much time in a Spa one might ask? I discovered that one indeed can.
The Spa has separate levels and I started my experience in the female only ground floor section which has an amazing array of different temperature regulated baths and saunas. Happily ensconced in my swim suit I walked into the bath house and noticed, to my absolute horror, that everyone was naked. My very African catholic boarding school upbringing could not have prepared me for this. I have diligently hidden my nakedness most of my life. Swimsuits were not allowed so obviously this was not the place for me.
Head reeling I walked out of the bath house and spent the next 15 minutes hyperventilating and agonizing. Would I enjoy this spa experience or pack up and leave – the usual response.
I finally walked back in – naked as the day I was born and just as round. No one stared. No one cared. What on earth had I expected? And as I sat back in the lovely bath and looked around, taking it all in, I slowly began to shed my fear and anxiety. I became naked in more ways than one and began to admire and appreciate the glory of the female form. I admired the battle scars of childbirth criss-crossed on bellies; snapshots of the female form manifested through the ages – from pert to gravity defying. Large, small, skinny, fat, young, old, blemishes, cellulite, hair, no hair, surgically altered, all natural…all these women totally exposed and having the time of their lives.
What is perfection and how it that we allow our insecurities to rule the day? How much time and energy I have wasted ‘sparing’ people from gazing upon my so called imperfections. How many duvets and sheets I have pulled off beds because I will not walk away from a lover exposed! Round is in fact a shape – and I can admit that I’m not as toned as I’d like – but if I don’t appreciate and celebrate myself how can I expect anything of the sort from anyone else?
As I proudly marched from pool to pool and sauna to sauna I was reborn. In the words of Anais Nin’s poem Risk “and then the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom”
And so at a tender 38 I am finally fighting to blossom…
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Each life is a personal journey no matter how public it may all seem at times! I'm still figuring it out and here I share my journey ...and what I'm discovering along the way.