Letting it Go…

I just returned from Maine today. Ah Maine… lobsters, adult beverages, good times and beaches. Beaches, who doesn’t love them? I certainly do, but what I don’t love is putting on a bathing suit for the first time in a year. Yuck. I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. We all at one point or another have loathed the idea of baring most of our bodies in public.

I recently lost 40 pounds and with that 40 pounds gone I gained a new body. Over the past few months I have been excitedly throwing out clothes, buying new ones, jumping for joy every time I fit in to a smaller size. No longer do I have to shop in the fat lady store of even the fat lady side of the store where all the clothes are ugly and boxy.  And that, my friends, is a good feeling.

Two weeks ago I bought a new bathing suit. It’s black and white with a cute little ruffle along the bust line. I feel very Jackie O when I put it on. I’m not embarrassed to say I strutted around my house in it the other day, feeling much lighter and happier than I had been last summer.

So I packed it in my bag along with the hundred other items I needed for a three day weekend and was ready to go, but a little voice inside my head said, “Your thighs are too big to be walking around in that one piece.” I immediately told myself to shut it. I was tired of wearing bathing suits that looked like they were made for seventy year olds. I gave up junk food( mostly). I deserved this. But then that same little horrible voice said, “Is that cottage cheese you’ve got growing back there?”  I caved under the pressure and in my bag went a pair of red shorts with little sail boats on them.

We get ready to go to the beach and on my little shorts go. They obviously had taken away some of the chic-ness that I felt my bathing suit had. I felt slightly bitter about it as we make our way to the water. It was hot. The stupid cotton shorts rode up as I walked and as we got closer I wondered why I wore them in the first place and then I remembered. Beach body babe, I am not. But then after a few minutes of watching other people on the beach I come to the realization that nobody, NOBODY there was perfect. I saw teeny bikinis on women who should not have worn them. I saw stretch marks and lard butts and cellulite. Oh my! And seeing that, knowing that these people were walking around not giving a hoot about what I thought made me feel better. I let go of my insecurity. Off came the shorts and out came my thighs for the world to see. Nobody gagged, or pointed and laughed or even looked at me twice and all was right with the world.

What does that have to do with writing? A lot.  I know that some of us have a hard time letting things go. It might be a manuscript that’s on its fifth draft, or fear of yet another rejection, a tough critique, a horrible pitch, whatever. I don’t normally give advice but if I had to say one thing it would be that sometimes it’s okay to let things go. Like water off a duck’s behind. Getting bogged down in negativity only hurts you in the end. And remember for every tough critique, rejection, unsuccessful pitch you give, there is somebody else out there who is in the exactly the same spot. The difference between you and them is how you let it effect you.

Tell me, are there some things you just can’t let go of.  And if you can let go, how do you do so?  


9 thoughts on “Letting it Go…”

  1. Jamie, fantastic post. I went through a similar thing last year – lost 45 pounds, threw out all the clothes, etc. It’s wonderful and now that I’m in year 2 of the thinner me, I have to work extra hard for those pounds not to slip back on. And, the bathing suit thing – I have so many hang-ups there too – tack on stretch marks from having two babies and ick! I did actually buy a bathing suit this year. I have yet to wear it out of the house. I promise, though, if we make a trip to the beach, I will wear it proudly.

    As to the writing, after losing all that weight and taking that leap into sharing my work (both, great decisions for me!), I’ve developed a kind of an F-it attitude. I write until I think I’m done, then I revise/clean-up and share. If someone doesn’t like someting, rather than letting it ruin my day, I just shrug and go oh, well, can’t please everyone.

    Slowly, I’ve also been learning to let go of my anxiety over the future. I used to keep myself up at night worrying about everything. I gradually came to realize that all that worrying wasn’t doing anything except holding me back and wearing me down. So I have applied my new attitude and it’s made a huge difference. I think in many cases, letting go is really a state of mind and adjusting how you view a problem can go a long way towards peace of mind.

  2. Oh, Jamie, let me count the ways…in which I have hung on to fear. Because that is the bottom line. All of the insecurities I’ve had in life come down to being afraid of something. In my opinion, life takes courage, and courage is about facing the things we are most afraid of and acting anyway. Like you dropping those shorts! You go girl!

    The definition of fear is believing what you cannot see will come to pass.
    The definition of faith is believing what you cannot see will come to pass.

    It’s all about perspective. I choose to have faith that no matter the outcome of my choices, me and God are strong enough to handle the results. This makes it infinitely easier to forge ahead and take on the world. Luckily, age and experience have taught me to choose wisely and not give a hoot what others (or the negative Nelly in my head) have to say. Once I hit my forties, I decided to live life boldly, and I haven’t been sorry.

  3. Hey Jamie, great question. “How do we let go?”This post is a tough one for me. I lost 35 pounds 8 years ago. I have kept it off, but I still do not wear those strips called bathing suits meant for young bodies. I am not ashamed to say it’s my pride. Some of that isn’t always bad. Your point was “letting go.” Hats off to ya with the hanging out body parts parallel. Here’s one for you. Packing up from the Guilford show last night, we forgetfully left one of my paintings on the roof of the car. The painting has found a resting place somewhere on the roads of Guilford. I let go of the frustration, stupidity and memory lapse by this morning and forgave him as he kissed me and asked forgiveness. Yup, it was the wonderful hubby who set the painting atop the car. I feel terrific letting go of the pain of losing a piece-of-hard-work and retaining a good marriage with the felon. Oh yes, when I swim I wear shorts and a coordinating shirt.

    1. Oh, Gail! I feel your pain this morning. But good for you on forgiving your husband. I’m sure he’s hurting more than anyone. Guilt can be crippling. Release him from that, and it won’t be long before you’re lauging about it.

      And for anyone who wants to go picture hunting, you won’t be sorry. Gail’s work is beautiful!

    2. Oh Gail, I’ve seen your beautiful work. I known how painful that must have been after all the time and effort you put into your paintings. I’m glad you forgave your husband. I don’t know him personally but I know if you married him he must be a good guy. As for the bathing suit, hey whatever makes you feel good.

  4. Jamie, Jamie, Jamie! How did you know? How could you possibly have known that this is EXACTLY the post I needed today? I, too, lost 40 pounds two years ago and I’ve noticed lately that there has been significant slippage in that achievement! Just this morning I said to my self, “Self – you fought hard for that goal. You felt good about it! Get back on track.” I’m going to remember this inspirational post later tonight when the ice cream comes calling! ~J

  5. Oh, letting go. This has been on my mind lately too. I’ve been struggling with letting go of resentment against a person who hurt me a long time ago. Now, I’m generally quite good at giving that stuff up. Either forgiving, or at least making a conscious effort to let it go, and moving on. But this one person hurt me so deeply at a vulnerable time in my life, and even though I’m happy now, I’ve never been able to get past the anger. This person actually recently sent me a friend request on Facebook! Which I’ve ignored 🙂 So I understand how hard it can be. As for the bathing suit, well, I’ll echo PJ and say . . . Drop your shorts and own it, Jackie! Confidence is hot, and that studly state trooper (or his better-looking, more heroic twin) is out there somewhere!

  6. A friend sent me an email recently that ended with: “Life is short, Occasionally Bend the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love truly, Laugh uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you smile.” I love the idea and try to live it as much as I can. It may be hard, but as long as I’m happy, I don’t care what people think…mostly lol.

    1. “Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we’re here we should dance”

      Just another tidbit from the chainletter email but I love the message.

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