As I type I am in the air, enroute to my family vacation in Italy. It has been five years since Principessa and I have been back, and it is Rocket’s first time to Europe. It is a much different trip than we have taken in the past. Instead of camping out in Venice, to spend days on the beach in Lido, we are taking ten days to explore Tuscany and then the mountains of Cortina before eventually heading to Venice for the duration of the trip.
I am thrilled. But also? I have pit in my stomach and can honestly say that I am dreading the trip.
Yes, I said dread.
Let me explain. I was not supposed to weigh 170 lbs on this trip. I was not supposed to be sporting plus size dresses from Target on this trip. I should have packed light, knowing that I would buy new things while there…except that at this weight, in this size, buying clothes in Italy will make me cry.
I know, I sound like a brat. There are plenty of people with bigger problems, larger weights, and larger sizes. I should be thankful that I have the opportunity to take this trip, with my family, for almost a month. (And in a way, Rocket is probably quite thankful that I won’t be shopping for clothes….except that what he doesn’t realize is that when I can’t shop for clothes I shop for other things…shoes, purses…..the possibilities are endless).
But the truth is that I am programmed to feel this way. Weight has always been an issue for me with ups and downs that can rival any of the great roller coasters. And for better or worse, my friends and family in Italy tend to notice the physical things first after a long time away. It is not that they are shallow or rude….it is just how things are. My peers are beach volleyball playing types that are tall and lean. As it is I was never good at beach volleyball and was always relegated to filling the water bottles…but now? The last thing I want to do is see them on the beach. Which is sad because I love the beach in Lido. It is one of the few places in the world that feels like home.
Shopping for clothes in a country where most people are thin is not easy. Sizes run small, and the women that try as they might to be helpful, smile as if they know how I feel.
The hardest thing for me is that the last time I went, I was the thinnest (and most fit) that I had been in a long time. Friend after friend remarked on how great I looked. And I know….it is not our size that matters. But it does. Because I don’t feel good about how I look. It is not enough. Instead of enjoying the beach, I am afraid I will be cowering in my tankini, knowing that I my bathing suit style makes me stick out like a sore thumb among the other women in bikinis.
Except that this trip is more than just about me. It is about Principessa and Rocket. It is about my parents. It is about the family friends who I cannot wait to hug. They love me and in the end, even if they notice my weight, they just want to see me healthy and happy. A trip made all the more important since the last time I was there, I was making the decision to leave Principessa’s dad. I was sad and fearful. I was moody and tearful. It was such a different time in my life. I was not the me that they know. I was not the me that I know.
And in some ways, though the circumstances are vastly different and this time, the issues are certainly not as life changing… I still do not feel like me. And despite the fact that I am well intentioned and working towards getting back to a me that I can honesty say is good enough….in this moment, I am dreading walking the streets, feeling this way.
The good news is that we have almost two weeks before we hit Venice. Time in Tuscany, time spent hiking in Cortina. Time spent playing tourist, which is frankly a new role for me. Time spent exploring new places, visiting old haunts from my year of living in Florence. Time spent together. (And since I am being honest, there is a part of me that is thankful Venice is last since I typically lose weight when I am “home” in Italy because of the walking….and because…even on my worst day, Italian soil just feels like home.)
So yes, a part of me is dreading this trip.
I could apologize for having these feelings about myself. But I won’t. Because it is simply where I am, today, in this moment. Tomorrow, will be different. Tomorrow I will wake up under the Tuscan sun.
Tomorrow I will remember that none of this matters.