I used to dim the lights when I walked into a room.
Even if I was the only one in there.
And while my body had never really stopped me from living, there were parts of it that felt like they were suffocating the life right out of me.
When I was fully dressed, I felt protected. I felt like I looked just like everyone else. I meshed and blended and pretended like the best of them.
When I had to remove the layers, I panicked that I would be seen for what I appeared to be instead of who I really was and would be judged for the miles I had put on my skin rather than the journeys I went on that took me there.
I dreaded seeing the pitying looks I got when I was exposed and vulnerable. Especially the ones I would give myself.
Being naked for me was like going into battle without a breastplate. I knew I had the heart to go to war but when the fighting started, how long would I really last?
So, I made excuses for my shame. Covered everything up with lies and plastered on smiles I hoped no one could or would ever see through.
While some people lived for days and years, I was trapped in minutes and seconds just trying to get through the times it would take for me to get my clothes off in a dressing room and pretend I couldn’t and didn’t see the reflection in the mirror staring back at me. I was anchored to the moments when I had to get naked and lie in bed with someone that I loved. Hoping they would be quick so I could cover up and go back to my comfort zone where I could go on lying to myself.
And this was how I lived. Every day. For what seemed like forever. Whether I wanted to or not.
It took years upon years to build up the walls I constructed to house my body shame and once I arrived at the resort, all it took was 45 minutes in the sun to knock that bitch to the ground.
It was like someone had opened up all of my windows so that my walls and doors and fancy girly things I had accumulated over the years were finally getting some much needed light.
It burned brighter than any thing I have ever seen and it blew the dust off my doubts and made me see my possessions and insecurities with a brand new set of eyes.
Until Hedonism…I wasn’t even me.
I was just a stranger to myself. I was scared to death of myself. I was lying to myself. And I was wearing the doubt and that deceit like a second skin that I used to wrap around myself so no one could see how fucking terrified I really was.
Until Hedonism, I may have been someone, but I felt more like no one special.
Until Hedonism, I was so scared of how other people would see me and was worried that my scars and wrinkles and extra pounds would be the only thing people ever used to define me.
Until Hedonism, I was lonely in a room full of people because the only voice I could ever really hear was the one inside my head telling me I wasn’t good enough.
Until Hedonism, I was just existing and never really had an inkling about what it meant to truly be alive.
Until Hedonism, I thought I knew friendship and laughter and what it was like to make memories I would want to hold onto for the rest of my days.
Until Hedonism…everything I thought I knew about myself was a lie.
I don’t have to be ashamed of who I am. In fact, I need to celebrate it more.
I don’t have to turn off the lights when I get undressed because I truly am a sight for sore eyes.
I don’t have to look other way when I pass a mirror because every remarkable thing about myself is just sitting there, reflecting right back at me.
I don’t have to be anything or do anything but love myself. ALL of myself. And not just the parts I didn’t like…but ESPECIALLY those parts.
Those are the parts that make me special. Those are the parts that make me unique. Those are the parts that make me who I am.
Those are the parts that finally get the most love.
I lived an entire lifetime never knowing these things to be true.