Lately, I have been in what I call a confidence transformation stage in my life, a huge step in my self-discovery journey.
I was recently flagged by Instagram when I started deleting individuals I followed; after listening to a podcast, I reflected on how I could utilize social media to my advantage to benefit me in a positive way instead of allowing it to negatively consume me. I decided to do an Instagram cleanse of sorts deleting celebrities and others I found made me feel negative about myself deleting over 400 profiles I followed. In place of the deleted profiles, I began following individuals who presented positive affirmations, meme pages that just put out hilarious and sometimes dark cynical posts that called to my weird sense of humor, and most importantly, profiles that showed me what confidence was.
I have really been trying to push my limits. As the great gift of a song from 90’s band Lit titled “My Own Worst Enemy” stated “It’s no surprise to me I am my worst enemy. Cause every now and then I kick the living sh*t out of me!” Nobody judges or tells me not to move forward with ideas or things I want to do, but myself. I was recently in the car with a friend and I was talking to her about how I wanted to work on my confidence and build it up. She then turned around and looked at me and said, “Belle, I was just talking about this and you are one of the most confident individuals I know.” Honestly, I was surprised by her perception of me; I don’t view myself as a very confident person which is ironic because I tend to naturally motivate others.
So why have I not utilized these special powers I hold to do the same for myself and see the confident person others see? Then it hit me like a lightning bolt. Maybe I am as confident as I want to be and if I want to be more, then I had to realize there are no limits in this short life other than the ones I believe; and maybe that it was up to me to push those limits that my mind had set up in order to become the person I wanted to be.
I came up with a plan:
Step 1: Stop overthinking and over analyzing everything! (Okay, this will not go away entirely since well it’s just embedded in my DNA)
Step 2: Push boundaries
With my plan in place and a recent friends’ trip to sunny San Diego, I did just that. A friend started talking to me about wanting to explore and visit a nude beach. It took about 15 seconds of me lawyer-ing the pros and cons of this idea in my brain before I was all in; boldly, I told him “LETS DO IT!” I thought to myself how much more confident can you get if you can be confident in your own skin at a beach out in the open for all the world to see. Don’t get me wrong, the idea of being in my birthday suit in public was overwhelming for me; I’ve never been fully naked in front of anyone but my mother up until the age where my body started to develop and started growing hair in certain area. But I committed to the idea of the nude beach and the symbolic liberation that I was sure would follow.
At about 1:00 pm on a perfectly cloudy warm San Diego afternoon, my group found itself at Blacks Beach. Upon our arrival at Blacks Beach, there was a giant steep mountain side that we had to hike down and foreboding signs that read “Private Beach DO NOT ENTER!” Naturally, we ignored the sign and entered; but with an irrational fear of heights, I pushed my limits once more and followed the rest of my group with caution (and lots of deep breaths). After a 20-minute nerve-wrecking excursion down this cliff, I made it without injury or falling! I did not expect so many people to be at the beach on a Wednesday afternoon but I noticed I wasn’t as overwhelmed as I anticipated I would be. It was the opposite actually; it was one of the calmest feelings I had ever felt.
People were walking, swimming, tanning, and for the most part, almost everyone was completely naked. I was surrounded by so much confidence and self-acceptance in one place. Of course, there were a lot of individuals who were dressed but I stood in awe of those who were fully nude. It was such a beautiful site to see and feel.
I took my dress off and ran into the water wearing my bathing suit because I still was not at the level of being completely nude in the open. Once I was in the ice cold North Pacific Ocean, I swam deeper into the water and took off my bathing suit off and swam in the nude (when in Rome, right?). I did this for about ten minutes then put my suit back on but those ten minutes was one of the most liberating experiences of my life! I pushed my limits, and I was proud.
Other things I learned from my adventures:
- Nobody cares about your imperfection so don’t stress about it. Start accepting the skin you are in because you are beautiful regardless of the fat, stretchmarks, hair, wrinkles, etc.
- Nudity is not anything to be ashamed off. There is nothing is sexual about a nude beach. People go to let their bodies breathe and feel FREE! Society teaches us that you should only be naked when you shower or are having sex. So, let’s get rid of that taboo.
- Skinny dipping feels divine.
- It’s okay to step out of your comfort zone and push limits! Even if you go to a nude beach and don’t undress, it’s all good; the point is to try new things because it is the only way you will grow.
Maybe one day I will return and go fully nude, but for now it was enough to prove to myself that the only limitations in this life are the limitations we set for ourselves.