don’t suck it in

When the public pool you like to tan alongside of being attached to the gym you’re a “member” of — I use member loosely because I barely workout there — is actually pretty miserable. The majority of these people are here because they actually workout at the fitness club. You can’t get in without the promise of using their gym at least part of the year.

The last time I went to lay out by the pool, I noticed a girl very obviously sucking in, and looking around. I noticed because I do that sometimes and was actually probably sucking in when I saw her. She wasn’t overweight by any means but I could see the insecurity on her face.

Why do we do this? I suck in, and I think that if my tummy is smaller and my waist creating more of a hourglass shape, that the judgments of others will bounce off my now-prominent rib cage.

I think it’s funny because actually everyone does this. Like literally, everyone. We suck in, we wear things that flatter our assets, we take pictures at certain angles, we hide our crazy, we plaster on the smile when the day has actually been hell…the list goes on.

We act like we aren’t real humans who have been through these crazy amazing and crazy miserable experiences that have molded and shaped us to be the exact person we are at this moment. And we will face more crazy amazing and crazy miserable experiences that will continue chiseling us into who we are.

Life is this constant performance of putting out our “best” selves for the world to see. But what if all of the things that I’m holding in my chest in the breath that I sucked in, I let go of?

The insecurities, the fear of others’ opinions, the assumption that everyone is judging my love handles, the lie that because I don’t look a certain way that I cannot be accepted, that I need to be someone before I can be friends with people.

What if I walked around without sucking in – physically or emotionally? Would people hate me and I be shunned from society, forced to live in a cave by myself till I got myself together? (Not that solitary sounds too terrible..) No, of course not. But we act like that’s what will happen if, God forbid, someone sees the real us.

I reposted a photo on Instagram a few weeks ago, lettered by Timothy Goodman — a favorite of mine. He posts these lettering pieces that are so true and poignant, sometimes it hurts to read them. Recently he posted, “I want to be as human as possible: to not hide or run or destroy or prove anything, but to see & be seen”

May we seek to be as human as possible instead of “sucking in” what we view to be gross or weird, and be wholly, freely us.

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