Seems the whole of the country is sweltering this week — hot, hot, wicked hot.
I don’t mind the heat as much as I used to. I remember more than once feeling as though the heat represented one more feature of the world’s “let’s make Judith miserable” agenda. When I was eleven years old, I was a very sweaty girl, with all the side issues attendant thereupon. In a station wagon with eight other people, a stinky little girl is, I’m sure, a difficulty and an unpleasant part of a family vacation. I heard that opinion many times. I was just at the age where I might have developed a good body image. I didn’t. I carried the worthlessness from that time for decades. (I know now, as I didn’t understand then, that my particularly smelly body made close quarters uncomfortable for everyone else, even though being sweaty was not anything I could have controlled.
I don’t remember exactly when I overcame that feeling, but I know that part of the process was visiting sister S. when she lived in Key Largo. At times, I felt like there wasn’t a breath of air to be had, but I loved every minute of it, and I learned to believe that sweat washes away. I learned that people don’t pay attention to me being sweaty when they are sweaty too. I learned that, regardless of how I came to feel like being in my own body was unacceptable, the truth was and is that my body is just fine, no better or worse than anyone else’s. And regardless of the burden I carried from that time when I was eleven, I couldn’t have changed myself anyway, so feeling badly about my body was more a function of my heart than of my skin.
In fact, I am planning to be in Mexico, one year from today; I expect to be face down in the Caribbean, with a mask and snorkel, or sitting on a beach, reading a book and happily sweating away my cares. The first time I visited the Yucatan, in July 1997, I needed a break so badly that I wasn’t worried about how hot it might be. And the second visit, I actually chose July, 2009 — by then I had come to love the heat, through and through. If I were less depressed that year, I would have enjoyed a fine vacation. Next year, I will once again be visiting the Yucatan in the summer, and I plan to soak up every photon I can find.
I don’t have many photos from either of those trips — I’ve often taken pictures while on vacation and then never had them developed. Next year, with many thanks to sister S., I will bring a good digital camera, and keeping photos will be a far easier job.
I just don’t care anymore if I’m sweaty, and really, it’s not anyone else’s business anyway.