Every vacation I take I use it as a time to reflect. I rarely have something heavy to think about, more or less I have a million small things to think about. This year marked some changes for me. Professionally I gave up the business of photography. I just did my last wedding just before vacation and am officially done. I still will do some here and there but won’t be upset if my friends go elsewhere for photos or don’t want to participate in my random ideas. It’s better for my soul to take photos on my own terms and to do a little less people pleasing. Too much people pleasing makes me grouchy.
Over the last few years I’ve really slowed down. Not everyone can see that because I still am a busy body, but I truly have. And finally…I’ve learned to sit and watch TV – I binge watched 6 seasons of Shameless in less than a month! I’ve also started reading again. I’ve read some really great books! Tribe by Sebastian Junger, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson, Into Thin Air by J. Krakaur, I Can Barely Take Care of Myself by Comedian Jen Kirkman and The Broken Mirror – Understanding Body Dysmorphic Disorder by Katharine Phillips (just to name a few). The Broken Mirror hits home for me and helped me make a very important decision for myself while I was away. In previous blogs I’ve written about learning to love myself and my struggles with Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD). I’ve been seeing a nutritionist the last year or so. She is AMAZING and wonderful and has taught me a lot about what is put into my body, how it’s burned, and the do’s and don’ts of eating. I cut my body fat in half and she deserves nearly all the credit. Lately I found my mind drifting back into the deep hole of my old self. Shaming myself, feeling sorry for myself then eating more. I felt stressed and worried about what control I would or wouldn’t have around an all you can eat soft serve bar (turns out I have little to no control – if you wondered). I bought new swim suits, tried them on over a dozen times before leaving and straight body shamed myself into tears. I may or may not have spent some sleepless nights lying in bed crying silently wondering if I will ever love myself, and wishing I knew what that felt like. Before you think that’s dramatic, you need to understand it is real. I don’t ever have suicidal thoughts, I just have shame, guilt, and heartbreak. If you know anyone who suffers, or if you do…I really recommend reading The Broken Mirror (the new version because it’s an easier read). It is really an essential guide to understanding this disease.
To sum that portion up, I made the decision to “break up” with my nutritionist. Or at the very least, take a break. I need to know I can do this on my own in REAL LIFE. I have all the tools and a million meal plans and there is absolutely no reason I can’t. I also need to stress less about it. So I allowed myself to eat whatever I wanted on my vacation, talked myself off the ledge a thousand or more times, and it was unfathomably blissful. I likely ate my weight in soft serve and pizza. I lost track of my goals somewhere along the way and need to find my way back to reality. I know myself well enough to know what the path I was going down looks like, it’s drab and dingy. Sweet as she is, my nutritionist offered to help in whatever way she can. I hope I can see her every now and again to get checked up and set straight if anything is catawampus…but I’m going to see how this goes for me. This is real life, and my goal is simply to feel good. I feel a LOT better when I’m not beating myself up for having cookies for breakfast three days before Christmas.
Another epiphany was….I am doing JUST fine without kids. I was on a Disney Cruise and at Disney World for 7 days. I love kids, all of them, don’t get me wrong. My heart is too big for my body and I’d literally hug every kid I came across if it wasn’t socially weird to just start hugging random kids. However, I am honestly in a place now where I can say with 100% certainty, I’m thrilled not to have any of my own. Not only is the world completely different and far more scary and f*ucked up than it was when I was an adolescent teen…but I really don’t like most teenagers these days, they can truly be assholes. I also don’t like the social media/electronic/tech age of growing up. It’s so different. Kids aren’t living in real time and having to be patient like we had to. It’s hard to explain, but it’s hard for me to imagine trying to raise a kid anymore. For a long time I felt guilty, but thankfully that has passed. I’m okay doing what I want whenever I want. I’m okay with only worrying about feeding my husband and myself, and I’m really glad I got to up and leave to experience this trip with my mom, stepdad, and grandma.
Last but certainly not least I have a little insight on my Disney experience. It had been a while since I was at Disney World. We were there during a time that wouldn’t necessarily be considered the busiest (before winter break for most) and it was CROWDED. Lines were 2-3 hours long. People everywhere. The older I get the less I enjoy crowded spaces but I can still navigate them well. Let’s just say I am learning to prefer the comfort of my own home. Regardless of my feelings, this time I had my grandma with me who lives on her own but needs some type of hip surgery so there are certainly limitations for her right now. All three of us helped her with many different things and we gladly pushed her in a wheel chair or tried to direct traffic when she had a motor scooter. She is fiercely independent, but our help was always there for the taking.
That being said – DISNEY, this one’s for you…you need a scooter lane or a handicap lane at your parks. Seriously. I’m not talking about in line, I’m talking about in the walkways. I’ve never seen such a concentration of so many rude, inconsiderate, and completely oblivious people in my life! People cutting her off and stopping in front of her. Looking at their phones and not what’s around them. Those scooters don’t have brakes folks! She was terrified of running into people all the while I was saying “Screw that grandma, turn up the speed and ram those assholes!” So many times I had to literally stop traffic or throw heavy elbows at those around us. A scooter lane would be the GREATEST thing for this issue.
Another bit of speculation…9 times out of 10 the handicap stall in the bathroom is the farthest away from the door. Why is this? Florida gets major kudos for having sinks in almost every handicap stall in every bathroom we experienced, but WHY on earth do you place them so far from the door? A reminder for anyone out there….if there’s another stall open, unless you NEED to use the handicap stall, LEAVE THAT FOR PEOPLE WHO DO! For crying out loud. If I waited in one more bathroom with my grandma waiting for a 23 year old on her phone to stop trolling facebook and exit the damn stall…I was going to go ape shit. Again…people/kids these days!
All in all, the trip was wonderful. It was real life in real time with people I love. I haven’t vacationed with my grandma since I was 10 or so and I hope we do it more often. Losing my grandpa this year was the toughest loss I have undergone, and I can’t imagine what it’s been for her. She is a lot stronger than I am, and I hope when she does need me, she knows I will do my best to be strong for her.
My advice, take time with those you love. Don’t try to capture every moment with a camera, it will never do the sunset justice…just revel in the life you have.