crossfit

Why I Chose to Keep My Loose Skin

So there's this one time, and I can't believe I haven't shared this with you already, that I decided I was going to have a tummy tuck. It was just a couple of years ago, but it's something I've thought A LOT about over the past 5 years or so. Blogging about my most personal experiences, dilemmas, challenges, and achievements helps me sort through my own feelings and ride them out with raw honesty and an open-mind. I tell you this story for myself; and hope that is resonates with at least one other person.

I should probably back up and tell you why this all came back to me. I happen to have a very large and passionate interest in human sexuality (and everything about people and the human body that we don't get to learn enough about in school). So, I read a lot of research papers, articles, blogs, etc and I watch a lot of documentaries. About a week ago, I watched a documentary about the shame and secrecy behind intersex births called Intersexion, which I highly recommend. I was fascinated by the stories I heard and felt that I could relate to many of these individuals. Often they used words like "wrong" and "disgusting" when they talked about how others viewed their bodies. The narrator mentioned that when an intersex child is birthed, the standard procedure is to "fix it, shame it, and hide it." That is exactly how I used to (and sometimes, but very rarely, still do) feel about my own body. But, in order for that to be the proper procedure, it would mean something would have to be WRONG in the first place. And there is nothing wrong with my body. 

I've gone back and forth with wanting the surgery, then not wanting it, thinking it was an absolute must, to thinking it was the worse idea in the world. I've felt excited, scared, guilty, ashamed, happy, relieved, anxious, angry, wrong, and happy about the idea of not having loose skin on my body. Yeah, ALL of those feelings. But the one thing I never felt was RIGHT...it just never felt right. 

But, that one time, when it was feeling like a really good decision, I got as close as scheduling a consultation with a plastic surgeon. Mind you, I've done a lot of research about this procedure (get the gist yourself here.) And, I've researched doctors like crazy too. I've watched videos, read blogs and visited forums all about the joys of having a flat, tight, tummy. And, I wanted that joy. Even though the thought of voluntarily and surgically removing a section of my body made me ill. 

So, I submitted my info online for a consultation with a surgeon in Alameda. Within a few hours, I got a call from his office and the person on the other end wanted to confirm my appointment with me. She proceeded to tell me about the procedure from consultation to recovery and even though I already knew EVERYTHING she was talking about, when it was discussed within the context of ME, I suddenly freaked the fuck out. I kept thinking, "What the hell are you doing? This isn't what you want!" But then I argued with myself as she continued with the timeline of events..."Oh you're just being cheap, you do want this, you just don't want to pay for it! Imagine what you'll look like when it's done and you're all healed up, it's a small price to pay! Wait, what the hell?! You're seriously OPTING in to having someone put you under and cut into your body for no good reason? You're not ill, you're not trying to prevent illness, this is totally ridiculous!" 

So, I thanked her for her time, apologized, and asked her to cancel my appointment. I just could not imagine myself going through with it. I didn't want to pay $6,000, that is certainly true. But I also didn't want to be put under. I didn't want to not be able to stand fully upright for weeks. I didn't want to be in pain. I didn't want a fake belly button. I didn't want to put my life on hold. Not for the sake of vanity, at least. And it was then that I realized that having this procedure would go against everything I believed in about myself, my life, and my body. It would go against everything I teach others and work so hard to help them believe. But you know what, that's not even what mattered most to me. I give myself permission to change my mind, to change what I believe, to challenge myself in different ways, to do things I wouldn't normally do, to be different versions of myself. I do. I think that's what makes me the person I am, a self-loving mystical beast. I know no limits when it comes to personal growth and change. I'm all about it. What mattered most to me was that it just. never. felt. right

And so, after all of that was said and done, that's the only conclusion I could come to that made sense to me. And it helped me understand why so many others opt to have these procedures done. Because it felt right for them. Cosmetic surgery is such a personal thing. There truly is no right or wrong answer. It's a means to an end and some of us use it, while others do not. I chose not to. Will I change my mind later and decide to go for it? It's highly unlikely but I guess it's possible...

But for now I am super glad I decided not to do it. Since that day, I've literally changed and shaped my body in ways I never thought possible (see photo timeline below). And it feels amazing to know that all I used was my own power, heart, determination, and commitment. I feel like my body reflects who I am on the inside, and never in my life was I able to say that until now. I'm strong, nonconforming, present, and beautiful both inside and out...naked and clothed. And THAT, feels right!  

P.S. I used to think of my loose skin and stretch marks as sort of "battle wounds" of the body...little snippets of physical evidence of my journey. But, what's funny is that the more comfortable I get with my new body, and the more I accept it as perfect and beautiful exactly how it is, the less I differentiate each part. I am WHOLE, no longer broken. 

 

Get Unplugged

So my vacation was ___(insert the most positively exuberant word in existence here)___. Truly. Traveling is a necessity in my life. I HAVE to go somewhere new with some kind of regularity. The world is such a beautiful and interesting place. Plus, I love people. People are amazing. And I'm always just blown away at how different cultures, customs, environments, governments, religions, opportunities, education systems, etc. can shape a person. It is incredible. I want to see it all. 

I've been to Germany several times before. And I've traveled around both western and eastern Europe a few times as well. This trip was unique for me because I have evolved so much since the last time I traveled there. It's only been 2 years but so much has happened in that time that I returned as a different person. More free-spirited, more open-minded, more tolerant, healthier inside and out, more positive, filled with love for myself and others, happier, and more relaxed and willing to let go. That's what made this trip so enjoyable.

Unexpectedly, I was without internet access for the time I was away. I fought it at first, but only for the first couple of days. I brought my cell phone with me every time I went out in the hopes of finding a store, cafe, train station, restaurant, or house with an open wifi network. I felt so distant and worried that I was missing out on something important. But I wasn't. Not through my phone or on the internet anyways. I was missing out on an opportunity to fully take in my experience. And almost instantaneously I realized that now I had the perfect chance to do something that I've been wanting to do for so long now but lacked the willpower to commit to it: get unplugged. 

Now, I've had vacations in remote areas and trips to the wilderness without my phone or internet access a bunch of times before. But not since I've seen my world and almost everyone in it make the shift from respectful, face-to-face, personal, meaningful conversation and communication to anonymous, impersonal, pointless jibber jabber via Facebook. I despise Facebook. I despise it's grasp on me and how it makes people feel badly about themselves and how it creates a space for people to say or do ugly things that they would normally never say or do and how it sucks the life out of you and how people are constantly posting the same things over and over again and how others post about things with no real significance and how everyone always talks about living their life yet they're on a constant Facebook stream. Facebook is not real life. Nor is it a proper means of meaningful connection to others. I do not want to know about my friend's lives through Facebook and vice versa. I actually had a GOOD friend recently tell me that she "just assumed everything was great" in my life because she follows me on Facebook when I asked her why we didn't talk more often. WHAT?! Do you realize how absurd this sounds? Most people do no post about the heartbreak, the disappointment...the darkness. They want you to see them as great, happy, achieving, unbreakable. They share the good, not the bad. It's a waste. 

When I returned to the states, I gave myself a day or so to get acclimated and then I made phone calls. I didn't announce it on Facebook. I called my family and I called my close friends. Normally, I would have switched my phone on immediately after landing, checked my email, logged on to Facebook and checked in at SFO with a message for the world like, "It's good to be home" even though I literally just touched down and haven't even stepped foot into my house yet. I just don't want that kind of life anymore. If it wasn't compulsory to have a personal page linked to a business page, I would have deleted my personal page long ago. 

But having 4 weeks of forced detachment was probably the best thing that could have happened to me. I feel so free without Facebook, aside from my business page. That is where, I have to say, Facebook has been SORT OF a good thing. It has brought me many new clients and I love to read my personal messages from fans and followers. However, recently Facebook changed the reach potential for pages and now only about 10% of my followers actually see the content I am posting. Thank you Facebook, for implementing yet another way for me to waste my time. It's a damn shame! I refuse to pay for ads or to "boost" my post. That's horseshit. If something is free, it should be FREE. But there is, unfortunately, nothing free or freeing about Facebook...except when you're not on it.  

Since I've been home, I've managed to do all those "things around the house that there's never time for" with plenty of time to work, cook, maintain relationships, and LIVE my life. I'm talking about the kinds of tasks that you just find impossible to get to and therefore they have been on your to-do list for ages. I also deep cleaned my ENTIRE house from floorboards to ceilings and reorganized my closet and all storage compartments in the garage. I donated 5 bags of clothes, blankets, pillows, shoes, and 3 boxes of household goods and appliances. Because guess what, without being glued to the computer or television (I also didn't watch TV at all while I was away) you CAN actually get those things done. I probably spent less than the average person on my phone, tablet, computer, and TV and already this change has made a HUGE impact in my life. I can only imagine what it would do for you and others...

And now for some photos! 

 

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