Our firm’s annual summer outing was on Monday. They hold it in the same place every year: a nice Country Club upstate. Most employees bring their families and there’s a golf game, tennis tournament, swimming, and lots of food. As I mentioned on Sunday, it’s a pretty low-key day and if you’re not good at golf or tennis, the main thing to do is hang out by the pool.
Last year, we went swimming and I wore a bathing suit that I had just purchased the day before. And shorts. Someday I will be comfortable enough to walk around in completely bare legs, but definitely not right now. The reason for the last minute purchase was that I hadn't gone swimming in several years and didn't have any bathing suits. Not even ones that were too small. Just none.
J wanted to go swimming again this year, since it’s the main activity available. I didn't want to, but the only reason against it I could come up with was “I’m uncomfortable walking around in a bathing suit.” He pointed out, correctly, that this was a lame reason, especially since I had walked around in my runway-ready bathing suit and shorts ensemble last year at only ten pounds lighter.
So we went. We swam. I got a weird sunburn on a corner of my shoulder where I missed a spot with the sunscreen. We had a great time hanging out with my coworkers, and I even did pretty okay on the eating front. I’m glad I didn't let my weight stop me from doing something I ultimately enjoyed.
There have been other occasions when I didn't do something because I was too self-conscious about my weight. It's one of the silly reasons I didn't work out or wear bright summer patterns for a long time. Or try skydiving, or para-sailing when I had the opportunity. But screw that. Fine, I’m fat. But I’m wearing a one-piece and shorts. Nobody would really notice or care about my weight unless I was walking around in a string bikini or fishing for compliments about how hot I am.
This issue has manifested itself in other ways, like when I realized that I constantly wear my hair up in a random ponytail or bun to work because I can't bother to wash it and style it a little, or don't try enough to shop for clothes that look nice and are flattering on my size 14-16 body.
I can’t allow my weight to stop me when I know that being self-conscious of it is the only reason I’m not doing something. So when it’s relevant, I ask myself, would I be doing this if I was thinner, comfortable with my body? If the answer is yes, then the next step is to do it. So I go swimming.
I'm getting better at allowing myself to put best self forward, or at least my "I give a shit" self forward, even on non-special occasion days, to make an effort, to go swimming, and not let the silly little voice that tells me not to bother because I can't be at my best self at this weight, so what's the point? That little voice is stupid, and I'm not listening.