You know how people often refer to their “happy place” or going there or whatever? I never related. I just never had a “happy place” in that way. I recall remarking to a friend over “high tea” (in the British sense, not the 420 sense, ha!) that he appeared to be frolicking through golden fields of wheat in his mind as his eyes rolled back into his head after taking a bite of a particularly delish tea sandwich. I was a tad jealous. I didn’t have such a place to folic in my mind.
That is until I went to Hana, Maui, Hawaii. Of course I didn’t realize it at the time, but Hana became my “happy place” whenever I needed to calm myself or escape from a moment of stress or anxiety. I have been visiting Hana quite a bit these last few months. While this whole “my life is in chaos” thing is going on, I have had some dark moments alone in my room. I try to stay in the present and focus on what feels best at that moment, but it’s hard, yo. My mind doesn’t default to the here and now. It so quickly and sharply focuses on some awful thing or heartache and it is difficult to shake.
I recall the planning stages of that magical vacation though. There was much anxiety involved for me. I wasn’t the whole-heartedly, self-accepting bad ass that I am today. I was nervous as fuck! A fatty in Hawaii?! UGH! But I turned to those who had been there for me before: the Fatshionista community on Livejournal.com I had wanted to book a helicopter ride for myself and my husband. But reading the web site, it turns out; they required you be weighed prior to boarding. I contacted the company and explained that I am about 325 lbs. and that I would prefer to not be weighed in front of others. I was hoping that letting them know my weight in advance would allow me to skip this humiliating-for-some procedure. I was assured that the weights were never publicly displayed, but that I would be required to buy two tickets.
Anxiety-much?! I was horrified. Was it really worth it? At the time, the money wasn’t the biggest issue as we had set aside a certain chunk specifically for this vacation. But two tickets? I’d never been asked to buy two tickets on an airplane, but helicopters are quite a different breed of bird. I had travels Europe and the U.S. and never been asked…I’d originally wanted to take this helicopter ride to help myself with my fear of heights. I can’t say that I was successful there, but what can you do. The Fatshionista community reassured me that I should do it! I should just go and do it and enjoy every second of it!
And so I closed my eyes and purchased the extra ticket! It was a magical and fantastical helicopter ride. Our pilot was hilarious, if not a bit corny, and showed us the most incredible views anyone could see. I still think of it sometimes. But I can’t say that I would have done it had I not had the full-fatty support of Fatshionista. I can’t speak for that community now, as I haven’t even visited the site in ages, but what they did for me was amazing. If not for that community I never would have had the courage to be me, open my own business, and wear colors or a myriad of other awesome things.
I keep saying that you must step outside of your comfort zone to truly enjoy the delights of this world. It’s the truth! My Hana experience tried and tested my comforts. From wearing a swimsuit on the beaches to buying that extra ticket, I pushed myself and had an incredible time. I don’t regret it for one second. My only regret from that trip, actually, was missing the Dalai Lama by 30 minutes. He was speaking/visiting a temple in the tiny-hippie town of Paia. I still have that morning’s newspaper. That evening, some of his monks stayed in our hotel. I was consumed by the question, “What does the Dalai Lama wear when he goes swimming?” I was so excited by his presence. I’m not Buddhist, but just seeing his face or thinking about it makes me happy!
I realized once again about this special “happy place” of mine whilst going through the photos on my laptop. I had started out in a bummer mood, but just coming across those images again and remembering how the air smells and the sweet humidity that was so new to me then…I was transported and my mood lifted! I can’t believe now that I nearly canceled that helicopter ride! I can’t believe now that it took me seeing a very pregnant woman rolling around in the sand and the waves and looking in utter bliss, before I even took my capris off and considered going into that crystal blue water! I can’t imagine now a life without Fat Liberation/Acceptance/Pride. I can’t believe how much time and energy and effort it takes to hate yourself and your body. That was me long ago. I hope to never return to that place. But if I find that I’m drifting off my path, I will return to Hana in my heart and mind.
Where is your “happy place?” How do you use this? Do you find this concept ridiculous? Let’s discuss!