I'm back from a weekend trip to Denver to meet up with some girlfriends. A lot of mental preparation went into the trip as I looked at food, self care, mental state, etc. And that's OK with me. I knew that every single girl I was meeting there had the very best support and love for me and that's a pretty awesome trip treatment or not!! I had an amazing time and here are a couple of my observations and reflections...
1. Food is still challenging while on vacation. Even if your friends know it's going to be a challenge. They were AMAZING about checking in with me in a non-pushy or weird way to make sure I had the support I had asked for before we all travelled. And I felt good about it. There were moments of "Geez Louise I've eaten a LOT today" but not in a binging sort of way - in a "we're on vacation and will eat when we want to" sort of way. I did awesome with my goal to "increase" things I deem as lacking in my previous lifestyle. LOADS of water, walking and even some fruit/veggie intake. All in all, great.
2. It's amazing what some groundedness and confidence and calm can do for getting together with friends. It all felt so natural. I could be who *I* am and not feel like I had to be "on" or constantly on edge that they may not like me or I may say something stupid or any of the other 100000000 things that would have been racing around my brain a year ago. I was able to just be present and respond and react with no fear of judgement and really, no fear at all.
3. Photos. OK. So, I need to do some digging through other blogs of mine but I KNOW I have posted on this before. The power of photos to make you instantly feel like shit about yourself. Or, more rarely, amazing about yourself. I am a person who used to love being in front of the camera, but as ED closed in on my entire being, that got harder and harder. There were a LOT of pirctures taken this weekend - most in a candid way or in a being silly way. I never shirked from the photos. In fact, I jumped in and went with my impulse to join the fun rather than to stay hidden away for fear of being judged on my appearance - both by myself and the people who may see the photos. As the first photos started to be uploaded by friends onto Facebook, something amazing and alarming started to happen. I didn't freak out when unflattering photos of myself were posted.
I know. Like a miracle.
I did note that I wasn't totally happy with how I looked in a bunch of the pictures, but it was noted and released. I mean, I can't do anything about that NOW, right? And instead of spiralling into a pit of shame, I decided to just embrace it. A photo is just a specific moment and angle caught on film. It's not how people see me while we're LIVING that moment and that has bee able to rise to the top for me. Made so much easier by being able to see how beautiful and happy and relaxed I look in neighboring pictures to the ones I don't totally love. Same person. Same day. And I'm happy about some pics and not thrilled about others. And that's OK because I know I'm the same person in all of those pictures. And I know I was having an amazing time in all of those pictures.
And THAT is what a picture is all about. A visual reminder of the emotions of the event. Not a catalogue of body hatred.