There have been many changes over the past 7 months while traveling with my family full time in an RV. As we continue this journey we are discovering what matters most to us, what we need to live, and what makes us happy. Some discoveries have been about homeschool, our relationships, financial needs, logistics of small spaces and others have been personal revelations.
Before we left on our adventure I was much more aware of my physical appearance. That was easier with multiple full length mirrors, my own master bath, and cabinets full of promises to the fountain of youth. Although my schedule was much busier then, I spent a lot more time obsessing over my imperfections.
Just before we left, while there was no threat of losing our health insurance, I took care of all doctor appointments possible. It was then that I went to the doctor for my protruding belly button. It is herniated in a minor way and if I said it was painful, I could have it fixed and covered by insurance. My ugly button bothered me for 3 years since the birth of my 4th child. It didn’t matter that I had nearly achieved a six pack, all I could see was my obnoxious outtie. So I scheduled the appointment to have it done.
Things were so busy before we left and I was enjoying teaching some hula hoop classes that I would have to miss. I decided to cancel the surgery. I didn’t want to take any unnecessary risks before our travels. However, if we were staying in the area, I would have definitely had the surgery.
Now even with a lot more free time, my personal upkeep has inevitably dwindled from living a nomadic lifestyle. My workouts consist of whatever I can incorporate into my day. Yesterday I did bicep curls with two gallons of water as I walked back from filling them at the clubhouse. Some days I get in a swim or a good hoop jam at the park. Other days I simply walk the dog or let the dog walk me!
My personal care routine is skeletal. We share a tiny bathroom with one small medicine cabinet mirror and no room for extra toiletries. Things are very dependent on the showering conditions at the campgrounds. Sometimes lack of hot water makes for a very quick shower. Lets just say I’m not sitting around with mud masks on, cucumbers on my eyes and waxing my legs.
This is not one of my favorite things about traveling. In fact I miss being able to pamper myself at home. But being the optimist that I am, I will take lessons from it all. It’s no longer convenient to check myself a whole lot throughout the day. Feeling good and confident on the inside has replaced looking ideal on the outside. In many ways it is just as a matter of practicality and necessity. It was difficult enough getting out of a sticks and bricks home with 4 kids and looking put together. Now it’s almost an incomprehensible feat.
I am not at all saying that I have given up trying to look my best or thrown hygiene to the wind. I’m still far from gross! If there is an opportunity to use a gym I’ll take it and I still do my best to eat as well as I can. (which is a whole other story). I’m just taking a different perspective. It’s a far less critical , and more self-loving outlook.
I certainly have not mastered this conscious choice of perspective. But there was a major breakthrough the other day when I wore my bikini to the pool. I didn’t even think of covering my turkey popper. In fact, I am striving to embrace it. I have a thin waist and no stretch marks after 4 babies. I. AM. GRATEFUL. I will not pick myself apart and complain about my belly button. It is my badge of motherhood. And best of all, my kids love to poke it and say, “ding dong!”. How could I deprive them of that! I’m sure someday they will remember it fondly and find it endearing.
My own mother is 72 years old and I see her beauty in every smile line. The skin on the top of her hands is thin and the kids can slide her visible veins side to side. It’s another one of those silly things they do that never fails to make me smile. I would feel blessed to have my children see me in the way I see my own mother. It is beauty, as real as it gets.
I’m sharing this with you so that it may inspire you to see the splendor in yourself. Whether it be your flailing large earlobes, your arm flap, your hammertoe or your third nipple (a/k/a Supernumerary nipple) Love it, accept it, embrace it. And may you forever see yourself in the truest mirror of all. The eyes of those who love you.