I had a great night at a jazz club this evening, celebrating my husband’s birthday. I encouraged him to “let loose” (read: drink), as it’s his day, and I felt fine to sip my diet coke and enjoy the music. He opted not to, however, which kind of blew my mind.
Who has the option to drink, is fully encouraged to do so, and decides not to?
Non-alcoholics, I guess.
The music was fantastic, and while not 100% at ease, I wasn’t quite as anxious as I tend to be in these settings.
As I was listening to the band, I started watching this beautiful woman dancing to the music, and I found myself jealous. She was gorgeous. Perfect figure, perfect outfit, perfect makeup, perfectly at peace. She looked free and comfortable in her own skin.
For a moment, I thought to myself, “Man, why can’t I look like that?”
Almost immediately, I stopped. A realization hit me, and it’s an important one.
I spent years abusing my body. I drank five bottles of vodka every single week for the better part of a decade. I smoked a pack of cigarettes a day for almost 15 years, I ate absolute shit for 20, I popped Vicodin like they were M&Ms and otherwise put my body through any number of horrific things too personal to list here.
Yet, I’m not just alive, I’m healthy.
So many people who did everything right are dying every day from terrible illnesses and diseases. Others made a few mistakes here and there over the years, and are paying dearly in the form of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and any other number of chronic ailments.
I spent years doing everything wrong, actively trashing my body and my mind, and yet (no thanks to me), I’ve been given another chance.
I carry extra pounds on my body, and I’m self-conscious and socially awkward- but what I do have, that too many others don’t, is another opportunity to get it right. To be healthy and free and fearless. Had I been born with that gorgeous dancing lady’s genes instead of my own, would that body have been able to manage the level of abuse I heaped on it for so long? I don’t know, but I no longer want to find out.
I’m getting to know myself for the first time in my 38 years of life.
I’m starting to like what I’m discovering- cellulite, imperfections, awkwardness and all. Underneath the less than perfect exterior, there’s a strong ass woman that I’m growing to love and respect.
I think I’ll keep her.