Open

27Dec11

For me, writing has always felt like the safest form of communication.

If I write things, it seems as if my alter-ego or someone else entirely is saying them.

There is safety in that, a lack of responsibility, a lower risk.

This blog, for example, makes it easy for me to talk eating, awkward moments, and body image.

Things that, out in the real world, I still struggle to find the words to express.

My tongue can’t form what so easily flows from my hands.

But, I have noticed, being abroad has made me more open.

Maybe it’s because this feels like living in an alternate universe.

Everything is transient, temporary.

If something strange or uncomfortable comes up or happens, there has been comfort in the knowledge that as soon as my plane takes off for SFO, it will be easy to pretend it was all just a dream.

But maybe this has simply been good practice for habits that will continue once I am home.

I have never encountered as many people with such a sincere interest in getting to know me, with so little motivation to coax me into fitting whatever expectations they have.

Perhaps it’s a European thing.

Perhaps we are all just a little freer in this bubble.

Whatever it is, I have realized that so much can be made better by speaking up if I just let myself.

A comment on my body or my eating habits that would have once fermented in my brain over the subsequent days, weeks, or even months can now be easily be answered.

I’ve realized, people are generally well-meaning. We all say stupid things. Sometimes we all need another perspective to shed light on how our actions affect others.

Does it get annoying to hear

Well, you certainly look like you’ve been eating ummm…well.

Hmmm…those jeans are a little tight on you, aren’t they?

Is that really what you’re eating?

?

Yes, it certainly does. And maybe people have nothing better to talk about.

Maybe they’re saying the first thing that pops into their minds.

Maybe they’d like to ask some more serious questions but feel a joke is easier.

Maybe they have their own insecurities and need someone else to take them out on.

Whatever the reason, one of my resolutions for the coming year is to no longer allow what anyone else says make me feel inferior.

And to no longer make excuses explaining away negativity and insensitivity.

Yes, everyone has their own issues, challenges, and obstacles to deal with and I am certainly immature, selfish, and stupid often enough, but there’s no reason to allow some things.

And I hope people put me in my place when I am ignorant and thoughtless.

I’ll admit it.

I’m still not satisfied with my body.

I’m still trying to figure out what my body likes to eat.

I’m still learning to comfortably say that I’m hungry, I’m full, I’d love an extra plate of salad, I’d rather pass on that extra bread basket.

Sometimes I’m on a raw fruit and vegetable kick, sometimes I’m really into chocolate.

Sometimes my jeans are a little looser, sometimes a little snugger.

Sometimes I face old temptations, sometimes I’m eating joyfully and intuitively.

I’m constantly reading, trying new things, looking for my own answers.

I’ve far from figured anything out.

And, I have realized, that openness and honesty are much better than bottling these complicated aspects of my life.

While I don’t have to launch into a full story of my life with everyone, sometimes a brief statement clears everything up.

Seriousness

Hey, I’ve had my body issues in the past and am still working through them so I’d appreciate it if you refrained from making comments on my body in the future.

Humor

Why, yes I have been eating well! I just can’t get enough raw cacao these days!

And even some sarcasm

Not quite as tight as yours.*

all help.

I’ve tried it and while it has created a brief moment of discomfort as the speaker looked at me wide-eyed and apologetic, a few moments of talking have led to clarity, peace of mind, and, hopefully, lessons learned.

Today, dear readers, remember that there is not a person in the world, not a single sentence that could be uttered that can make you feel any way you don’t want to.

They only do if you let them.

And know I won’t.

*Maybe it’d be best to keep these in my head.

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