My recent escape to the Beach Bungalow hostel on Pacific Beach, San Diego, taught me that the liberation of the soul can be aided by the liberation of the body. On Pacific Beach I learnt the value of letting go and the joy that is found in feeling truly free of assumed societal exclusion and self-imposed constraint.
On arriving, and without a moments hesitation, I hurriedly cast aside my shoes and socks as if repulsed by them, raced myself to roll up one trouser leg faster than the other, slipped out of my upper body garments and sprinted across the golden sands towards the playful and beckoning waves. As surfers danced across the peaks of these coast assaulting walls of water I felt the fresh sea air seeping through my lungs, the brilliant sun gently warming my skin and the soft soothing breeze rewarding me for my spontaneity and in that moment, I was truly content.
Here is proof.
It was not till later that night, as I sat on the hostel balcony by the beach, working through a bottle of cheap local red wine which tasted like sweetened vinegar, that I realised that this was the first time I had ever publicly removed my t-shirt without a stalling thought process and without concerning myself for what others may think.
Having lived through a past where my weight was as high as 22 stone (currently at a healthily consistent 14-15 stone), I’ve endlessly struggled with body image. Never satisfied, Ive always looked at the mirror through the eyes of a judgementally vindictive and mean host on a talent show. I was always intent on finding flaws as opposed to appreciating the unique novelty of my act. I have also struggled with an inability to avoid overly looking at my reflection in every passing window, mirror or even spoon, secretly judging myself in a way that no one else could. Believing every last negative thought.
Before sprinting onto Pacific Beach I simply removed all that I was wearing, as is appropriate for a non-nudist beach, and flung myself into the sea. I wasn’t stopped by negative thoughts or the glimpse of my reflection in the cars passenger window. I realise now, that through this act I also subconsciously made an aggressive move to remove my self imposed restraints in a war to liberate my body and mind of my negative self image. Additionally, Instead of glares of disgust at my material being, I actually brought smiles to passers by who’s souls fed off my pure and soulful excitement.
I will never forget the joy I experienced on Pacific Beach, a joy born from letting go of a self negativity that I had chosen to subject myself with for the prior 7 years.