As our lovely Editor-In-Chief jets off to a body positive retreat at #BabecampJamaica, we're following her along for a week of ocean air, radical acceptance, and all-around babeliness. You can find previous entries here.
I thought the thing with the weed was exaggerated.
Nope. Not exaggerated.
There is literally weed everywhere. You know when you’re at a concert and you’re like *sniff sniff* someone’s smoking weed. Yeah. That’s all the time here. In fact, I don’t even smell weed anymore. The air is weed.
Next item of business.
What’s the worst night of sleep you’ve ever had?
Mine was last night.
I’m already dealing with the old lady menopausal night-sweats shit, so you’d think adding one zillion percent humidity and no AC wouldn’t matter.
Nope. It matters.
This morning we ate fruit and eggs and fried plantains. Sharing a meal with women who you know have an understanding of what it’s like to live in a body unlike the ideal body is a gift. Enjoying food without hearing anyone lament the calories in a luscious piece of bread — without the burden of being “bad” for enjoying something meant to be enjoyed, is a noticeable sort of silence.
A profound one.
We went cliffside after breakfast to salute the sun and have time for meditation. I decided to stand in the heat of the rays and allow my body to drip with sweat without trying to clear it or wipe it away. I don’t know if you’ve been in a sauna. It’s like that, only with the ocean.
Which is enough for me. The sound of the ocean against the rocks is a salve. Something about the life-force of water, something deeply spiritual. Something woo. Maybe even woo woo. My miserable night of sleep barely mattered.
The mornings and evenings offer us a chance to listen to each other share our stories, to hold space for each other as we unravel how we got here — not to this place, but to this place in life. Two women shared, and I cried as saw their power. I gained strength from them as I heard their struggles, their fears, their determination.
The women here are incredible.
Virgie taught us a choreographed burlesque routine. If you’ve never done burlesque with 10 women who don’t give a shit about their size, dripping sweat on the floor and singing Beyonce, you should. I mean, I doubt that opportunity will ever present itself, but if it does, you should take it.
We ate again. Meat pies and some delicious breads. An enormous plate of fruit.The afternoon was for guided journaling. We wrote about how our lives would change if we fully loved and accepted our bodies. There were a lot of tears.
My journal was wet, but from humidity — which still makes it pretty hard to write.
I swam in the open ocean. There's a cliffside ladder that takes you straight into deep blue water. It feels different than a beach. There is a very real, visceral feeling of vulnerability when you don’t know what’s under you. It’s a metaphor for life, I think — having to surrender and trust the sea and yourself.
It’s also fucking scary, because WHAT KIND OF FISH ARE DOWN THERE?
In the evening, I shared my story and cried big sobbing tears of pain and realization. It’s scary to open yourself up to women you’ve only just met. It’s scary to open yourself to anyone at all. I had to really think about my mom again. I had to wonder if she’s OK. I had to relive the things that put me here. I had to share my struggles with eating disorders, my feelings around my body as a tool to manipulate the men I’ve known, my self-loathing. I had to share the bipolar disorder that adds a layer to my life.
One of the women, a psychiatrist, told me that she saw a lot of resilience in me, courage to live and love and be alive. She told me that mental illness is often seen as a weakness. She told me that in me she saw it as a great strength.
She’s a psychiatrist, which makes it easier to believe.
I’ve spent a lot of time lamenting the difficulty that being mentally ill has caused me. Tonight I spent a lot of time considering how much it’s strengthened me.
There are 700 million insects and all of them are enormous. I saw a moth tonight the size of a bird.
Maybe it’s the sheer quantity of weed, but the people of Jamaica are a kind bunch.
It’s humid. Have I mentioned that? My medications are melting into each other.
The shower water is cold. It really doesn’t matter. After you’ve showered, you’re swallowed by the aforementioned humidity, so showering is pretty futile.
I drank a gallon of water today. I think I’ve peed twice.
They have an ice machine. There is ice in my shirt.
There is a fan blowing right on my body at full power. I’m going to try to sleep.
Tomorrow: the beach.