Back in 2014, I posted my 2014 Fuck It List based on and inspired by this most excellent post:
Welcome to my Fuck It list. Fourteen things I’m going to stop giving a fuck about in 2014. Because, as important as it is to push yourself to be a healthier, more compassionate person, that can be downright impossible. Refusing to give a fuck, however, isn’t just easy — it’s kind of awesome.
So fuck it. Here are the fourteen things I’m going to stop worrying about come 2014.
This year, I’ve made a list of 15 Things I Refuse To Give a Fuck About In 2015 (capitalized, because it’s IMPORTANT). But instead of trying to write and post a huge massive manifesto all at once, I decided to instead break my list down into bite-sized pieces.
15 Fucks I Refuse To Give In 2015: #11 Letting Ideal Visions Hold Sweet Reality In a Muthaf*ckin’ Headlock
“Participate, don’t anticipate.”
This was the oft-repeated mantra of T.E.C. (Teens Encounter Christ), a weekend retreat in St. Paul that I attended in the fall and spring of my junior and senior years of high school. Besides presenting me with people like Katie Malone, Sarah Bigger, Andrew Sterk, Marty Erlien, Phillip Schaffner, Gabe Hilebrand, and Patrick Craigie, all of whom would go on to greatly influence the rest of my life (whether they realized it or not) and instilling in me a more diverse, ecumenical, and accepting spiritual world view, it gave me this little phrase to (sometimes) live my life by. It was a presiding principle of the weekend, because “going through” T.E.C. was a series of around-the-corner surprises and discoveries; as such, you gave up your watches and your need to keep track of time the moment you walked in the door.
This principle came back to me as I was riding the Light Rail into work this sunny morning, chewing over something a beloved friend said last night. “No. It’s because I have body confidence, and I think I look good.” My bodaciously beautiful pal was telling a story about a sex-ay photo she had taken of her cleavage and posted on social media, and how certain guys translate photos like that to mean low self-esteem (i.e., that here is a girl who is waiting and wanting for you to give her any attention – any at all! – and she’s not choosy in how you do it) and how wrong they were. “Because I have body confidence, and I think I look good”… These are the things your heroes say. So whilst on the train, gazing out the window at the sunny verandas of downtown Minneapolis, letting my mind wander in that way that it does when thoughts stream in and out of your consciousness, I thought about the post I was planning to write today about giving up the dark and broody when it came to men; then I thought about the revelation I had stumbled upon earlier this year about how I kept trying to be a certain body type because I felt like a certain guy would like me more if I was, but how those guys never seem to like me, anyway, so I was done with that; and then I thought about how sexy Danielle LaPorte was and why, no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t seem to embrace that kind of sexy curvy bodaciousness for myself; and then I had a long-held vision snap into my brain like a rubber band.
It was a story I had created for myself long ago – an image of what I felt I should – and should want to – look like. I first created it to motivate myself to go after my body + life goals…’twas the finish line, the “Hey, now you know where you’re going, because this is where you wanna end up.”
Only this morning I discovered that, instead of being this inspiring, gratifying vision, it had somehow morphed into a thing I was holding against myself. I suddenly became aware that, each time I got close to accepting alla dis hot ass, I’d hear a voice inside my head whining, “NO, we’re not supposed to be happy with this. We’re not supposed to be happy with this at all. We’re supposed to be working on looking like her. You don’t get to be happy yet. Not until you’re her.”
Brutal truth? That vision is maybe five to seven years old, and I’ve never even come close to what that girl in that vision looks like.
And you know why?
Because I’m not supposed to be her.
That girl is an ideal. And, if I’m honest, a really unrealistic ideal. I would either have to really fall in love with doing triathlons or there would have to be a major medical miracle in body chemistry and bone structure for me to even come close to resembling her. And I do not love triathlons, and I’m pretty sure this is it when it comes to mah bones, so that’s just not going to happen.
And today I finally realized that the girl in the vision is stealing my everyday joy. That she’s got my clear, present, and oh-so-sweet reality in a headlock. That instead of participating in the life that this bod of right now carries, I’ve been spending all my time anticipating the bod that might never come to be.
So that bitch?
Has gots to go.
So in 2015, I’m done with letting old visions of who I once thought I wanted – or needed – to be hold me back from embracing who I truly am.
We all have idealizations of who we think we’re supposed to be. Whether it’s the idea of the perfect relationship, or being the mom who can do it all, or how we’re supposed to be parking our cherry red convertible in an executive parking spot and sashaying in our white leather blazer-bustier-skirt-with-matching-suede-pumps to our corner of the skyscraper office by now, we’ve all got that movie-reel inside our head that plays whenever we feel like what we’re doing or who we are doesn’t measure up. Some of that pressure is societal, some of it is self-made. If you’re ambitious as fuck, what is supposed to be an inspiring vision to help you manifest your best life can quickly turn into a thing of reproach, an uneasy reminder of all the things you haven’t accomplished or become yet. We’re totally okay with throwing out clothes that no longer fit our lives, yet we insist on holding onto ideas and visions that no longer even remotely serve who we really are. They become unrealistic, harder to achieve, and a motherfuckin’ sharp thorn in our sides…and still we insist that, if we just keep holding on to that picture of ourselves we painted long ago, someday it will going to morph into realness.
But when you hold too tightly to a vision of what you think you should be, you don’t get to enjoy what you are, right in this moment.
This is not to say that you should give up your bright, wild and epic dreams. Hell to the fucking no. But wild and epic dreams should feel good. They should feel great, in fact. They should spur you to do more big living, to love yourself more, to take big risks. If, instead, they’re making you feel like you can’t fully love yourself until you’ve achieved those things, or make you feel like you wanna hide out from the world because you’re not yet the perfect end product of those visions…that’s the point when you need to stop referring to them as dreams and start treating them like nightmares.
And honestly, a lot of the stuff we tie up into unrealistic visions is fear-based. If I keep anticipating this vision of the person I think I should be – of how I think everyone else thinks I should be, too – then I don’t have to work on accepting myself + dealing with the fear that others might not accept me if and when I finally give up the ghost. That if I love myself, I have nowhere to go if someone still rejects me for who I am. It’s much easier to hide behind the “Oh, I know, I’m not happy with me, either!” than be all “Bingo bango, I ain’t changin’ for nobody…so EAT. IT.”
Today I decided to eat that fear and bury that vision, once and for all. To let her go, toss her back into the ether. And it felt so good, y’all. I don’t have to be her anymore. I don’t have to beat myself up because I’m not her yet. I don’t have to wonder and worry if I’m ever gonna be her. And again, it just hit home that I was never supposed to be her in the first place: It was simply a story I was telling myself to distract from the fact that I wasn’t yet ready to fall in love with who I actually was.
Here, finally, is who I’m supposed to be: A woman who loves herself. A woman who has curves + strength. A woman who eats super healthy about 80-90% of the time, but that 20-10%? You will not witness one single ounce of regret about that Parlour burger she is about usher into her bodily temple (and if you try to tell her how many calories she’s eating, she will kick you in the face). A woman who has really great legs. A woman who is constantly working on her yoga arms (and who will tell you she’s also working on her yoga abs but she’s not, because that shit is tough). A woman who knows exactly how to use this body to knock your freaking socks off in the bedroom. A woman with basically no ass to speak of, but she’s not mad about it.. A woman who seeks to use her body as a messenger for love. A woman who still feels slightly obscene when she’s showing off some cleav’, but she’s getting there because she doesn’t want to be 80 years old and regret not workin’ it with what she had. A woman who is constantly seeking to fall in love with an activitaaay that will keep her healthy and fit. A woman who knows that loving your body is an everyday job that’s super easy some days and the hardest thing on other days. A woman who is re-learning how to dress for the body she has instead of the body she thinks she should have (which can be tough because designers apparently think that all bodacious babes love patterns and ruffles, and we fucking don’t). A woman who knows that a major part of body acceptance is accepting that you might not ever be 100% in love with your body, and that’s totally okay.
It’s a fucking celebration, and it’s a fucking journey, dudes. I’ve talked about body stuff a lot on here in the past, and I know I’ll be talking about it more, but…right now, today, in 2015, it feels really freaking great to break out the headlock that old vision had me in and embrace the real, the right now. To participate instead of anticipate.
So to wrap up, let’s all post some cleavage pics with the caption, “Because I have body confidence, and I think I look good.”
I didn’t say they had to be serious pics.
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