Over the span of my life, there have been so many occasions that I’ve worked myself into a tizzy to be perfect and put my best foot forward. Dances, dates, birthdays, reunions and so many other events where I was worried I’d be judged as less than. It pains me to think about it and it also brings up some hysterical laughter.
Like the time my husband surprised me with a trip to Hawaii after our third child was about a year old. I should have been thrilled, but I remember looking in the mirror and seeing this exhausted face and body and wondering how I could possibly fit a vacation into my busy schedule. I was all of 32-years-old, working full time and trying to be everything to everyone… except myself. And when I thought about my tired mom body on a beach in Hawaii I grew nervous.
The trip was two weeks away. During the drive to work one day, I heard an ad for a “Body Wrap” that guaranteed to melt inches off your entire body. I’d heard this ad numerous times but this time the announcer was speaking to me! I made my appointment for the day before we would leave, somehow buying into the concept that I could somehow shop for a bathing suit without throwing up a bit in my mouth if I could just get a few inches off.
The day I entered the salon, I truly had no clue what was about to transpire. Just call me gullible. Gully for short. Before I could even say hello, they had me sign a release. Next I’m taken to a curtained room and asked to strip down to my bra and panties. As I’m standing there shivering from nerves they proceed to wrap ace bandages, dipped in some magical solution, around my body from head to toe. When I say, “head to toe,” there is no exaggeration there. My head was wrapped with only my face exposed and it reminded me of an old joke, “Mom, my face is stuck in an elevator.” But I digress.
Now I’m shivering, not only from nerves, but from the wet wraps as well. I can barely walk and I sure as hell can’t sit down. I have basically been mummified.
The “technician” comes in and tells me that in order for the solution to work we’ll need to generate it with heat. Ms. Gully here, pictures a warm massage to work in the solution and get those inches melting off. HA!
I’m led into a room with mirrors on one wall and gratefully spot two other suckers (women) standing in front of the mirror. All of us, teeth chattering, are waiting for the magic to happen. I can tell from their expressions, that they too have no idea what’s about to happen.
The technician comes back in and reaches down to a portable music-player located on the floor. Mood music, I think to myself. But no! She hits a button and suddenly Richard Simmon’s “Sweating to the Oldies,” exercise tape comes on and she tells us we need to get into the groove and start sweating our asses off.
Remember: I can barely move. My face is squeezed together with ace bandages and when I look in the mirror, I cannot hide from the complete and utter horror of this predicament I have found myself in. (BTW: Writing this, I’m currently laughing my ass off, with tears running down my face.)
You can’t make this shit up! So back to this painfully funny memory. At this point, I have crossed the point of no return and I had to go for it. The humiliation was beyond the pale, but sweat I did. I sweated my ass off as the anger at myself built inside.
When all was said and done, I did lose inches — which I immediately put back on once I started rehydrating. I laughed and cried all the way home with my pride in tatters and my self-esteem left somewhere in those ace bandages on the floor.
As I said, I can laugh now. At almost 50 I now know that a surprise trip to Hawaii should be greeted with joy and not fear and trembling.
If I could do anything, it would be to go back and hug that 32-year-old me and let her know that she is truly loved, regardless of the number on the scale or the judgement in her eyes – or anyone else’s, for that matter.
I would tell her to embrace her own beauty and that she is enough just as she is.
I would hold her close and tell her that she deserved a getaway without having to beat herself up about how she looked.
I’d even tell her that hey, someday you’ll be almost 50 and even heavier, so enjoy where you are now! Lol!
As a lot of you know I’m getting ready to celebrate my 50th. What a gift! I am beyond grateful to be here and to have had the life I’ve had with all of its blessings and heartbreaks and everything in-between. It’s been a glorious, colorful life so far and I’m truly looking forward to what the next chapter will bring.
As for my big birthday prep – I got a new outfit and I’m getting my roots done to my “natural” color. I had envisioned losing 30+ lbs before my birthday and alas that was not to be and that’s more than okay. No more sweating to the oldies wrapped up as a mummy for me!
The one gift I am giving myself for this birthday and my life ahead is to just be.
Be enough (because I am).
Be grateful (because I am).
Be in the moment (because none of us are promised tomorrow).
I wish this for all of you as well
EYOB | theStitch | Upload a Selfie Today!