Each week, I try to set myself something which will take me out of my comfort zone. My goal in doing this is to build up my resistance to self-ridicule. You know the narrative…you’re too fat for that…people will laugh at you if you do that…you are not cool enough to wear that…
Claire (I tell myself), people are not interested enough in you to even give you a passing glance! Get over yourself! Go live your best life, and stop being so afraid!
I always tell my children I am the speaker of much wisdom (!) and they should definitely pay attention to me when I speak, and I have now decided to take my own advice.
Wisdom…see? I’m growing.
So two weeks ago I donned my overly large swim suit and braved the waters of the local swimming pool. Actually, I went not so locally in order to avoid anyone I knew.
Small steps, people!
My swimsuit is a British size 22 (I guess that’s an American size 18?). It’s rather large on me. Gary always says I buy bigger than I am and in this case he is right.
In fact, I have two swimming costumes, exactly the same, except one is in black and the other (which I bought in a moment of madness) is red.
I’m a fade-in-the-background black kind of girl. I am definitely not a red in-your-face kind of girl. However, the red is a size 20 and a much better fit.
Anyway…my swimsuit is perfect for plump people like me. It has a bodice which (if the correct size) would support and hold in everything. It has sweeping material which comes down over the chest and hides the tummy…and it has a skirt.
Apart from the fact I look ridiculous in it, I feel absurdly comfortable. It is fairly flattering in that it hides a lot. But there is no getting away from it:
I look like a trussed up turkey
Yesterday, I went swimming again. It was wonderful in so many ways, and I am so pleased I am just doing it regardless of how I feel.
However, this time, Lillie’s boyfriend and Gary came along to girls’ club. I honestly wasn’t sure I was ready for Gary to see me in my skirted monstrosity and I was absolutely certain I didn’t want JJ to witness it.
But I went anyway.
I did it anyway.
I felt utterly, utterly ridiculous…until I got in the water.
I watched, perhaps for the first time, other adults coming into the pool. Many holding towels to their chests until, at the very last moment possible, they placed them on the benches and quickly got into the water.
Maybe they, too, felt as self-conscious as me. Maybe I am not the only one. And maybe, just maybe, they are too busy worrying about how they look and feel to notice the trussed up turkey in the middle of the pool, laughing and giggling with her beloved family and so incredibly grateful she had the courage to join them.
Life is for living, and I intend to drench ever last drop of living from the life I have been gifted.
And next week?
Well, next week, I will be heading off to the swimming pool once more. But this time, I am going to wear the swimming costume which fits me. I am going to stand proud in my deep red skirted get up.
And trussed up turkey or not, I am going to revel in the fact that absolutely nobody will be paying any attention to me…and best of all, neither will I.
What are your goals for next week? How are you going to step outside your comfort zone?