Monday, December 3, 2012

An Effort At Letting Go

            So, recently it has come to my attention that I’m insecure about some things. Obviously, I already knew this, but usually in the past I would just acknowledge this as an unfortunate aspect of life and avoid dealing with it. But, motivated by some particularly profound personal growth over the last few months, I’ve decided this approach won't work for me anymore.
            That being said, I’ve decided that the best way to start to overcome my insecurities is to own them. And own them publicly. Like in a blog post. You see, I realize that these beliefs are ridiculous and irrational, but they are there regardless, clinging firmly with a vice-like grip to the dark corners of my inner consciousness. I feel that only by shining a light on them and bringing them out into the open can I truly begin to dispel them to myself. So, here goes my attempt at getting rid of something that takes up way too much of my mental headspace:
I have a bit of a belly.
I know, it doesn’t sound like much when you read it and even writing it out like that sounds pretty dumb, but it’s the truth. Every one of us has a part or parts of our bodies that we don’t like. Well, for me, it’s my belly. As far back as I can remember, I’ve always had this little bit of baby fat wrapped around my midsection that’s just decided not to fuck off, no matter how much I work out or eat right.
It’s not that I think I’m fat. I’m not. I know that. It’s just that the only part of my body that does hold fat is my belly. It’s literally the only part of my body where there’s fat. I’m not kidding. My arms and legs are thin and lean. One of my friends (harshly, yes) compared my body type to a starving African child. Thanks “friend.” I look down at my belly all day long, sucking it in when I’m around other people. When I pass by a mirror or a reflective window, immediately my eyes drop down to my gut to see if it’s popping out just a little too much. Every time I look down (a decidedly unflattering angle no matter who you are) and see it poking out a little over my pants I subconsciously reaffirm to myself that I am not attractive because my belly’s not washboard flat and that that one thing will keep me lonely for the rest of my days. Every day I scrutinize it closely in the hopes that maybe it’s gotten a little smaller or that that (imaginary) six-pack buried underneath has finally started to burst through the fat. But no. It’s always there every morning, blankly reflecting back at me in the mirror, a flabby daily reminder that “No, today you must continue to feel insecure.”
And yet, upon writing this post, I realize that some good has come of this seemingly unshakeable insecurity. As a result of my distended belly, I’ve started working out, running (occasionally) and paying closer attention to what I eat. And all of those things have become things that I actually enjoy not just as necessary ways to keep my waist from expanding, but as incredibly positive ways of improving my mental health. Running and working out in the mornings gives me an incredible and much-needed positive boost. Now instead of wanting to look good naked being 100% of my motivation for working out, it’s only 50%, with mental well-being and physical fitness rounding out the other 50%. Eating healthy tastes good and makes my body feel good, which in turn makes my mental state improve. But most of all, my gut has forced me to confront the unrealistic and unnecessary expectations I place on myself to fit into some kind of irrelevant mold. It motivated me to write this blog post and empower myself to let go of those irrational insecurities and replace them with the understanding that I’m a pretty rad person however I look physically. And people that value me solely based on how I look are also irrelevant. So yeah, fuck those people. I don’t want them in my life anyway. Of course, none of this means I’m going to suddenly stop sucking in my gut around other people or that I’m going to stop trying to get rid of that belly fat. But hey, it’s a start.
So, without further ado, here’s a couple unflattering pictures of my shame. The first one's a picture of myself in boxers freezing my ass off in the frigid waters of the glacial lake Shimbe in Huancabamba, Piura. The other one's me getting grossed out climbing into a mud bath close to Zorritos, Tumbes. Enjoy!

So there it is. Damn. That's actually strangely therapeutic.
ANYway, in other news, I recently took a trip to the department below Lima, called Ica, for Thanksgiving with some fellow volunteers. We spent Thanksgiving at a desert oasis called Huacachina (“walk-a-cheena”).
Our hotel in Huacachina. Note the giant sand dune in the background.


There was a grand feast made and devoured, wine and other beverages flowed and then we climbed a giant sand dune and took in the nighttime view. One of the more unique Thanksgiving experiences I've had. 


The view looking back down on Huacachina from the giant sand dune.

The next day we camped out next to the pool, I climbed another bigger sand dune and went out dancing at which point I had to call it an early night because apparently spending the entire day under the desert sun tends to dehydrate a person, no matter how many bottles of water said person might drink. Or maybe it was the rum and cokes…

How I felt after running up to the top of a giant sand dune.

The view of the Pacific Ocean from Paracas National Reserve.
Anyway, the following day, I went to the desert wasteland/ national reserve in Paracas, Ica with my friend Matt and some new Peace Corps friends. We camped out on the beach looking out onto water that I can only describe as teal-blue. Whatever color it was, it was absolutely beautiful and when the sun set, the colors in the sky turned soft pink and combined with the water to form a fantastically surreal dusk. A campfire, box of wine and good conversation ensued. A nice end to a pretty damn good Thanksgiving break.
The next day Matt and I explored the reserve a little more before trying to figure out how we were going to get back out. That part about it being a desert wasteland wasn’t an exaggeration. And as desert wastelands go, there is little to no transportation in or out of the reserve. We walked to the closest sign of life, a cluster of restaurants, to look for a taxi back. After a brief and fruitless search (it was a Sunday, and apparently there’s even less transportation options on Sundays than on other days when there’s already practically none), we managed to track down a bus full of high school kids on a field trip that was leaving and the profe was kind enough to let us hitch a ride back to town as long as we gave the bus driver a small tip.
From there I had to figure out how I would get back up to Piura from Lima in time for my job training class on Tuesday morning seeing as how I didn’t have a return bus ticket, it was already late and the majority of buses leave before 8 PM. I took the 4 hour trip up to Lima from Pisco (the city, not the Peruvian alcohol) and with the help of another volunteer was able to track down the last bus leaving for Piura at 9:30 PM. From there, it was a short 16 hour bus ride up to Piura, 1 hour bus ride to Paita, the closest town to my site and a 30 minute collectivo trip to Pueblo Nuevo before I was back in site in no time fast. Ahhh, nothing like 21 hours on a bus to liven the old spirits! 

As always, to anyone reading this blog, much love and hasta la proxima vez!

No comments:

Post a Comment