Deprivation Of Joy

April 30, 2020

I deprived myself of the joy of going in the water for almost 30 years because I allowed the f*cked up messaging that teaches us to feel self-conscious and shame about our bodies to infiltrate my psyche.

I didn’t even fully become aware of this happening and the impact it had on my soul until this last October.

Swimming almost daily became part of our routine once we arrived in Costa Rica. We had decided this would be a great opportunity for our kids to get comfortable in the water while here in this warm, sunny climate.

About a month into this new routine, I was feeling so relaxed and grateful as I swam around the beautiful pool that we had access to. I started to reflect on how much fun we had been having in the water, both in the pool and in the ocean.

Then, it occurred to me. This is new behavior. I had spent decades doing anything to avoid getting into a swimsuit.

As I observed this, I thought “how interesting!” Also, “how sad!”

I had unconsciously allowed the pervasive and pathological messages of society to impact the joy I experienced in life by caring more about how others might perceive my body.

That’s f*cked up!

As I continued to think about this realization, I thought back to my childhood. From as young as I can remember, I was swimming. Growing up in Southern California, I have so many memories as a child having so much fun in the water.

However, a memory popped into awareness. When I was around eight years old (the age of my daughter), I can recall being in a swimsuit in my grandparents’ living room and becoming aware of the presence of my belly. It’s like there was no awareness of my belly before then, but in that moment, I learned to be aware of my belly.

Interestingly, I can’t recall as many memories after that moment of being carefree in the water. It’s not that I never went in the water after, but it seems like it’s not something that I felt comfortable and confident doing in the years following.

What happened? I don’t even know what triggered that awareness. Did someone say something? Did I read something or see something on the TV? I don’t know, but I don’t think it matters because it was likely a result of living in a toxic soup that is constantly sending women (and men, for that matter) messages to dislike their bodies.

This realization got me thinking. How many other areas of my life have I been stifling my growth and expansion as a human being because I had unknowingly internalized messages and conditioning that wasn’t in my true best interest?

Around this time, I tried something new. I began starting my days without the influence of the little electronic device that gives the opinions of the world access to my mind. This allowed my relationship with my true voice to become more pronounced and clear.

And, it became clear. Many of the beliefs that I previously thought were mine, were not in fact my own. I began to see that so much of the internal conflict that I experienced in life was a result of internalized messaging from the outside world being at odds with my true inner voice.

What I’ve also come to see is that reconnecting to our true voices is so important right now. Learning to trust ourselves is so important in reclaiming our power and sovereignty as human beings. And, what the world needs right now is more of us human beings living from an empowered, sovereign place.

Hi! I'm Amanda.

I write about my journeys through living abroad and the healing and growth opportunities through these experiences.

If you're looking to make a move abroad, I can support and guide you to make that happen.