The bright, Hawaiian sun was warm on your tanned skin as you prepped your boat for the day. You never knew if you would get a full tour or even a straggling couple in the off season but you were always hopeful. If no one showed up? Well, you got a free day to enjoy the open waters.
You had moved to Maui six years ago, after the death of your husband in Iraq. Despite the fact that the United States offered 2.3 billion acres of land, it still felt claustrophobic. The open ocean was the only place you felt free.
“Is this the Mare Liberum?” You smiled at the mispronunciation and nodded. You flipped your long, thin dreads back over your back and stood up to look at the man behind the voice.
What’s the first thing you notice about someone? Their beautiful personality? Witty humour? Intelligence? Although it would be wonderful if this were the case let’s face it, in this consumerist & image dominated society we live in a person’s image & look is the first thing we take note of. I will not shy down to this fact; I myself am guilty of such acts, as are we all.
This imagery-centered society we live in tends to dominate our lives, particularly teenagers. We are expected/ we expect ourselves to attempt to meet certain ‘standards’ to impress people. This kind of mindset alone can only bring misery to us. We are expected to think that because we don’t look a certain way or dress a certain way that we aren’t “cool” enough, or that we won’t have any friends.
It makes me incredibly sad in some ways; I mean we could use the fact that we live in a visual culture to our advantage, yet it often ends up on the unlucky end for most. So, I believe we need to adapt or die. Not literally, but you get the picture? You need to learn how to best to accept yourself & be okay with being you. Now, you may think “Wow, well that ain’t gonna work because I’m not pretty enough or skinny enough, or blah blah” but don’t speak too soon, because I’m going to talk to you a little on how to nourish yourself on the inside, so much so that it begins to glow from within yourself.
You know those people you meet, that aren’t particularly attractive but they just glow, like everyone wants to be friends with them & they just overflow this really sweet vibe? I think everyone should aim for that.
First off we need to stop hating ourselves. We are taught to point out our flaws & be embarrassed by them when we need to be embracing & accepting them. You may have massive thighs; you know what you do, you buy clothes that suit & embrace your thighs & make you look & feel like Beyoncé. Maybe you have a massive vagina? Go out & show those people how fucking great your vagina is. You have a big mouth? Show off that massive good lookin’ smile of yours at every possible chance. As soon as we learn to accept things that may be seen as flaws to others & to us, we learn to accept ourselves as a whole more. Accepting your flaws also means people can’t us it against you, which is a really fantastic thing to have on hand.
Then we need to work on the inside stuff. Instead of investing your time doing pointless things on the internet, watching shitty tv shows or even giving your precious time away to shitty people, go do something that nourishes you as a person. I don’t mean go to some self belief seminar, but like do something that makes you super happy, do something that involves what you’re good at, learn new skills, read a nice book, meet really cool people who are going to build you up. In my personal opinion, this is the really important stuff in life.
As teenagers we are often so easily caught up in the habit of being incredibly self-absorbed, materialistic & consumerists. & in general that isn’t healthy. We create these images of what we ‘should” be & we believe if we fulfill these things we will then be happy. No, let me tell you now, if you wake up one day looking like Cara Delevingne & with the wardrobe of Alexa Chung you’re not going to fill that deep hole of emptiness inside you. You can’t just stuff materialistic things in an attempt to cover up whatever you’ve got going on in there. I mean we’re all at different stages, for some people the thing might be parent’s divorcing, whilst for another their bird might have died. Now just a side note we can’t judge people’s sadness levels to what they’ve got going on. I mean yeah it sucks if your bird dies, like maybe that person had no other friends & it was their first ever pet? Yeah so just don’t go there. But back to my point, you need to fill these holes with good things as I suggested above. Because my friend I can promise you, these things may make you feel better for a short period of time but it’s not a permanent resolution.
I’m currently sitting here thinking what a terrible piece of writing this is & hoping that you may have gotten something out of this. I wish you all the best in your endeavors to find contentment in all your being & your life & if you ever need a talk remember that the reef team is always up for a chat!