Growing up in San Diego, the idea of the typical California girl resonates. Shows like 90210 (the zip code for Beverly Hills) is reminiscent of what it was like growing up in Southern California. I was more of an athlete so not really into fashion and makeup, but my female counterparts looked like models in their 20’s when we were barely high school age. There was a certain kind of pressure that came with living in a sunny state where spending your days at the beach was a norm and I was a “military brat”, surrounded by “rich kids”.
Before all of this perceived pressure, I can remember spending summers with my cousin where stopping for lunch was a waste of good daylight. We would just grab a cold hotdog from the fridge and run back outside, heading indoors only when the streetlights came on, all ponytails and sweat, smelling of fresh grass and dirt.
Then overnight everything seemed to change. Junior high hit and while I was still in cargo shorts and a ponytail, my cousin suddenly became a Farrah Fawcett vision. That next summer when I went out to visit, I still remember she and her cohorts stepping down out of the RV parked on the beach as if it were a fashion runway…all of them blondes with blue eyes, legs for days and barely there bikinis.
The chasm felt so wide between us that I became paralyzed, not just there in that moment but for years after. I sat covered up, self-conscious about my body until I realized how much I was missing out. Even then, I couldn’t seem to get there on my own until my late teens when I saw a girl with an atypical body type splashing with a group of friends in the water, bikini et al.
I was captivated, enveloped in admiration and envy. I was in awe of her confidence.
She was living, while I sat on the sidelines with a sense of not being good enough…of horrifying others with my imperfections.
That was the day I decided to begin my journey to live freer,… to not let insecurities stop me from living. It was and is a journey that requires small consistent steps, even when its uncomfortable.