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?