I never imagined Hawaii to be one of my favorite places to visit on this planet. I haven't travelled very much in my life. My parents never had that wanderlust heart for adventure and quite honestly they just were too busy doing what they had to do to put food on the table and to raise enough money to bring my two older siblings over from the Philippines. I was born in New York, so the idea of island life wasn't something I lusted over, instead my heart was always home to a busy city with tall building, loud noises, and people bustling around to get to their next destination. Something about getting lost in the chaos felt more like home to me. In 2011 Jonathan and I were lucky enough to book 2 weddings on the island of Maui and on my first visit I fell madly in love. The ocean swept away my troubles at the time and in some way my soul felt renewed.
Hawaii plays such an integral part of my personal growth. My first trip to Hawaii was in June 2011 and we were spending time with the couple who hired us for their wedding post the celebrations with their friends. Mentally this was so hard for me. During that time I was at a place where I hated my body. I was ashamed of my stretch marks, my midsection, the weight I had gained from two pregnancies, and just how out of shape I was. Being in a bathing suit caused me so much anxiety, I hated it. Pair that same feeling with being around other females who seemed so confident walking around with their groups of friends in bikinis just brought on more stress and self consciousness with my own body. At the time of our first trip to Hawaii, I was facing a whole lot of chaos in my life and left with the sense of renewal and excitement for a new adventure. I wrote a little big about in an old blog.
When we came back to Hawaii with the family I spent most of my time in cover ups, worrying about my body around my own family because I was so concerned about what I would look like in photos when we would look back on these memories.
We went on a family outing to go snorkeling and I purchased a rashguard from Lululemon. When my husband and family asked me why, I replied "I'm doing it to protect my tattoos while we're out in the water." I was lying through my teeth. I did it because I was ashamed with myself and I didn't want to be look back at photos of my out of shape body. Most of our family vacation I spent worrying about how I could cover myself up instead of enjoying myself wholly and freely.
Over the past two years I took control of my health and by doing that I took control of my mind and how I viewed myself, my body, and began to love my stretch marks, my mid section, and all that my body has done to carry two beautiful children. So here's to another Hawaii adventure with the family, but this time I'm bringing an improved Joanne who's worked on building her self confidence.