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  • Michelle Buyer

#73: Chelle on Vacation

As I savored my last beach walk in Turks and Caicos this morning, post-workout, latte in hand, Kelly Clarkson’s “The Champion” playing through my engraved airpods, I felt 100% refreshed - finally. The purpose of this week was to re-charge physically, mentally, an emotionally. I did exactly that. As much I’d love a few extra days of the most amazing vacation with my family, the “real word” is waiting for me. I’m ready to crush this week and then get to running and eating healthy on the beaches of Hawaii. I live for moments of clarity such as this one. I wish I could feel like this more often, or even just explain it, but that’s what makes the moment so special. There’s nothing materially different about my life, but my resolve is restored. It’s the cheesy, end-of-the-movie moment when I suddenly understand my (!) entire world, for a brief second. I could see myself how everyone else sees me and know that it will work out.

Physically: The gym was decent. I lifted a few times, but didn’t push myself to follow a normal schedule. Instead, I spent my days being as active as possible, from sailing to pickle-ball, volleyball, water aerobics, sand-castle building to beach running. Did you know, that even though I was cut from the volleyball team in junior high, I’m pretty good? I wouldn’t mind playing in Seattle. I’m terrible at sailing. I miss being competitive. Beach running absolutely kicked my ass. My heart rate was consistently near 180 beats per minute and my time was somewhere between 10:30 and 13:00min per mile. That’s what made it the highlight of my trip. There’s few things more satisfying than that kind of challenge. I can’t wait to run in Hawaii… trudging through the sand as I my step to avoid each wave, with the 80-degree sun beating directly on my back. Now THAT is earning my shower. Especially when I go straight to pickle-ball and then volleyball afterwards. Besides, running on the beach is a flex in itself. It’s a flex that 1) I’m on the beach in the first place. 2) I’m capable of running, especially in the heat and sand and 3) Not only am I choosing to run on the beach, but I’m enjoying it. Remind me why I haven’t tried trail running yet? Hawaii.

I knew I was heavier and bloated from the overeating and humidity, but I chose to ignore it. I made a deal with myself that I wouldn’t let it get to me. No matter what, I’d put myself together and tell myself that I look good until I could feel others believe it too. I danced like no one was watching, even though everyone was watching, and couldn’t care less. Let them watch me dance and wish they could have as much fun as me. Genuinely, I hope they do. Emotionally: No matter how much I want to put it out of my head, most of my headspace is occupied by dating. I want to make sure that I’m the best version of myself and put the right energy out into the world, while using my time and energy wisely. It’s a delicate balance that I’m constantly fighting to keep, no matter what the world throws at me. I get knocked down nearly every other week these days. It’s a challenge, but I can’t say it’s the fun kind. Don’t quote me, but I might rather run a marathon on the beach. Honestly, I didn’t know how well I was doing with this challenge until this week, at least on the outside.

I was finally able to truly see how others see me, even if it was just for a night. I’m reminded that my future person is looking for me as much as I’m looking for him. he is out there somewhere. Maybe no one knows who he is yet, but everyone knows that it will happen – and I can say now that includes me. If a great guy can meet me while I’m on my worst behavior, hear my completely unfiltered thoughts, and still tell me with complete confidence that he has no doubt I will find all the things I’m looking for, then I should believe it too. Honestly, that’s not the first time I’m hearing that from a guy on vacation who is very obviously not the one. There’s something special about what you share with the random people you meet on vacation that you know you won’t see again. Everything is just so unfiltered and there’s no pressure. Maybe that’s the mindset I should take back with me, but add a bit of filter back, haha. Long story short, I felt valued and respected this week for the first time in a while – and not just because of one person. I felt valued for my athletic ability on [various] courts, admired for my motivation to run, asked if I was a bodybuilder or powerlifter by a former bodybuilder who saw me lift, complimented on my appearance and attitude on the dance floor… before you say that I should know these things without external validation, don’t. If I were to come up with these ideas on my own, I’d wonder if I was conceded or what I’m missing. I want the actual truth. Strangers have zero motivation to give me recognition. It takes time and effort out of their day for nothing in return. If they point out these things without any ulterior motives or context, that’s when I’m going to allow myself to believe it.

I have my life together as much as can be, (as long as I keep doing me), and that’s rare. I know what I want in my career and in a partner, and a plan of how to get there. And no, this isn’t my life plan. To be fair, I’ve put in just as many hours of emotional work as I have at my day job, and it hasn’t been fun or easy, but it’s sure as hell rewarding. My “plan” is to keep working hard, trusting the process and being myself each day for the rest of my life, one day at a time. The rest will fall into place. I know these things somewhere deep down inside of me, so none of this is news, but given the last few months, the re-assurance is incredibly welcomed. The re-assurance that others, especially guys my age, see where I’m headed and that I’m on the right path is as if someone was cheering for me on the sidelines. I needed the reminder that I’m doing the right things, even if the score doesn’t show it. Being reminded that I’m doing the right things is further motivation for me to “clean up my energy.” I’m not desperate. I refuse to settle. For the record, I’ve never felt desperate or considered settling, but renewing this resolve helps me to come across better on a subconscious level.

I’m not spiritual. The word makes me cringe. But all this talk about energy and meant to be calls my beliefs into question out of necessity. How long can I contradict myself that I don’t believe in God or astrology, but that I believe in energy? It’s a combination of the “Law of Attraction” that my friend talks about and the blind optimism I used to get so at my former boyfriend for. It’s nothing magical or spiritual. Rather, it’s allowing subconscious cues to be the spotter. Obviously, nothing happens if I don’t put in the effort, but hundreds of studies (that sounds super reliable) show that communication happens subconsciously. I’m communicating my worth in subconscious ways such as body language, tone of voice, word choice, posture, mindset, etc. I don’t need to say anything or wonder if people know – that’s the difference between confidence and conceitedness.

So, when a stranger went out of his way to find me the most perfect shell on the beach and made a point to give it to me, I decided to turn it into a symbol of everything that I am, including what I’ll become. As I walked on the beach this morning, I found a nearly identical shell, except that it’s oriented the other way. From now on, you can find these two shells like a yin and yang with the bullets and LEGOs on my honeycomb shelves. One shell is a reminder to myself, and the other reminds me that everyone else can see it, too.

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