Monday, July 23, 2012

But if you're on a beach...

So I kinda got a little carried away last week with all that self-conscious talk... I guess it was kind of my honest confession/personal pep-talk. You see, for as much of a non-beach person that I am, I do thoroughly enjoy the sun (and getting a nice healthy glow if you know what I mean). I guess I just don't like it too hot. 
That sounds terrible. 
Beggars can't be choosers. 
And especially after our non-summer last year here in Seattle, any heat, sunlight, sunshine or general warmth is not only welcomed, it's relished. 
I mean after a really long hard week (month? year?) sometimes there's nothing better than plopping down in a beach chair, with a great big straw hat, and a good book - provided there's a nice breeze and an ice-cold beverage at hand - and listening to the waves rock back and forth on the beach as you curl your toes up under the warm sand.
Wow. I'm starting to sound like a beach person aren't I? 
Well that's exactly what I'll be doing in exactly one week (hence the "pep-talk")... what looks like a very long, very hard work week. I think my body's gonna need the rest. Now if only it weren't for the sweating and the swimsuit dilemma... 
Yes, I've said goodbye to self-consciousness, but that doesn't negate the fact that I still feel naked on the beach. And it's odd because the older I get the more naked I feel... and I'm not that old. Do I really want to "bare all" for the entire world (or beach) to see? Why? 
Our culture tells us the less you wear the "hotter" you are, but is that really true? Personally I'd think you'd get a little chilly... haha. Wow. Okay... Bad joke
But in all seriousness, when did showing so much skin become so appealing? If mystery is the trick to keeping intrigue alive then I'd think leaving something to be discovered would be a better tactic than showing all the goods. Maybe this makes me super old-school, but I think it's possible to be attractive, alluring (even sexy?) and still maintain some sort of modesty. I mean look at Grace Kelly... the perfect icon of beauty, grace, poise and allure. Sure she wore a bikini from time to time, but it wasn't itty-bitty. It was functional and fashionable. Shoot, she even made the one-piece a knockout look! And thanks to many stores out there I believe the one-piece  is making a comeback... and I'm not talking about the "mom-jeans" equivalent in swimwear. I'm talking about beautiful, flattering swimsuits that are fashionable, functional and... wait for it... modest.

A week away. Sun. Lake. Beach. Book. Hat. Shades. Swimsuit. 
Posted below are some things that inspire/prepare me for a beach vacation... 
For one Arcade Fire's Haiti... Listen to it and see if it doesn't transport you to a beautiful place where there's a drink with an umbrella in your hand... And then there's Grace. Wow. Talk about breathtakingly beautiful. Wish I could work a turban... 
So as summer marches on and the mercury rises I hope you find some time to relax in that beach chair with a book- feet in the sand wearing a great swimsuit too. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Sailboat Saturday

Well that's exactly what today was supposed to be... a Saturday spent sunbathing, swimming and writing on my family's sailboat moored in Portage Bay.
On hot sunny Seattle days like we've been having recently, everyone and their mother emerges squinty-eyed from their dens and caves, flocking to all available public waterfront real estate. It's on these beaches that they lay their beach-towel stakes and bear their blinding-white bodies in the hopes of soaking up some rays and much needed Vitamin D.

Myself, being a little claustrophobic, well I couldn't be less attracted to these scenes. On an 85 ˚F day the last place you'll find me is at Houghton or Madison Beach parks. Slurping lukewarm oysters sounds more appealing.
In fact, if I'm going to be completely honest, I'm really not much of a "beach person." Sitting there broiling like a pig on a spit, beads of sweat forming under my knees, thighs sticking together... Ughhhh!!! It's like nails on a chalkboard.

"Well that's why you go jump in the water..." is what all beach people would say to me, to which I'd reply:
"Yeah... but then you have to re-apply the sunscreen that doesn't absorb because you're all wet. And if you try and dry off with your towel you get copious amounts of sand everywhere that you're still finding weeks after the beach ever happened."

Yeah. I'm not a beach person. In part because of the "sweating" bit. In part because of the "sand" bit. But also because of the "self-conscious" bit.
Yes, you heard me right.

It is entirely possible that a professional ballerina could be self-conscious about her body. At any rate this ballerina is.
I always thought I'd grow out of it. That one day I'd be okay with donning the itsy-bitsy, tini-weenie, yellow polka dot bikini. I mean I wear a leotard and tights every day for goodness sake (and believe me that's much less flattering than a bathing suit)! But the older I get the more naked I feel and critical my eyes become. They whisper disappointment and scream dissatisfaction when confronted with the reflection in the mirror.
"You can run... You do run. A lot. But you can't hide those thighs..." or "Um... yeah... no one wants to see that. Maybe you should cover up a little." 
And yet it doesn't matter how much I run, how much I cover up; I can't escape the fact that I don't measure up to the world's "Sport's Illustrated" standard- shoot, to my own perfectionistic standard. My waist could be smaller, my legs a little leaner, and oh if only that cellulite would just disappear (yes, ballerinas aren't exempt from this natural phenomena either...)!

So I guess it's kind of a blessing in disguise that these strange thunderstorms have hit... I'm confused. Are we in the Midwest? Haha!
Instead of feeling slightly self-conscious in my swimsuit at the sailboat (which also would've been asking for electrocution), I sat comfortably in Uptown Espresso perusing the pages of Hinds Feet on High Places. And as I read about little Much Afraid I came across a snippet that spoke to me profoundly:

"Thy joints and thighs are like a supple band
On which are met
Fair jewels which a cunning master hand
Hath fitly set. In all the palace, search where'er you please,
In every place
There's none that walks with such a queenly ease,
Nor with such grace."

I was reminded of a couple particularly important facts. You could say they're paramount.
Firstly, I am created in the image of God. Secondly "I am fearfully and wonderfully made." My body was formed and fashioned perfectly for the special purpose that God has for me. He knew what He was doing when He made me. The cunning Master Hand doesn't make junk. He knew exactly what I'd look like - with all my moles, my green eyes, my shorter right leg... even (dare I say it?) my "cottage cheese." And He delights in it. All of it. But more than that ...
He thinks I'm beautiful.
"How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful!" ~ Song of Songs 4:1
My Mom's always said "He broke the mold when He made you Jessika." But the thing is He breaks the mold when he makes each of us. Not one of us is alike. Not one. We're each different. We're each unique. We're each so special. And each and every one of us is beautiful just the way we are.

Goodbye Self-Consciousness. Goodbye Disappointment. Goodbye Dissatisfaction.
Hello Confidence. Hello Beautiful me.
Hello Beautiful you!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Burning Lobster Red

Well this is absolutely appalling. I mean I think it actually goes beyond that.
I wish you could see my face. It's a burning lobster red. Not from this gorgeous sun we're having here in Seattle. Nope. In fact, at this very moment I'm working on a nice glowing, golden-hued tan as I type this out on my parents sailboat. Don't worry... I'm not actually sailing anything right now.
Yeah, that statement couldn't be more true... particularly of this blog.

My face is burning lobster red with sheer embarrassment. How long has it been? 2 weeks? 3 months? Where'd the time go? Shoot! I even made a promise to myself... I guess you could call it a kind of New Years resolution of sorts that I wouldn't let this blog slide. That I'd stay on top of it. Well just goes to prove my point that New Years resolutions are generally never accomplished, and further my resolve to never make them. Ever.
I hate failing.

And yet that is exactly what's happened here. I've failed. Failed to write. Failed to keep my promise. Failed to be a good steward of this gift God's given me. And honestly, I think that latter failing is what moves me from superficial embarrassment to deep contrition. From pride to humility. Because the embarrassment is about me and no one else. It's self-centered. It's prideful. I'm burning lobster red because my dropping the ball reflect poorly on me. 

But the thing is, this blog, it isn't about me. 
Yeah, I know it's titled justJessika. And sure... I'm the one who types out the words. But it's the honest-to-goodness desire of my heart that the situations I share, the words I write be more than just my trivial little trials and triumphs in this strange environment I call my life (you have to admit it is quite strange...). That somehow these words transcend the online personal play-by-play or voyeuristic journal and speak candidly to your heart. Instead of a self-glorifying relic, I hope this blog proves to be a sort of invisible cord, connecting peoples together, at the very least letting you know you're not alone in your struggles.
And above all it is my prayer that this blog honors and glorifies the One who gave me words. That in fact they are His words typed through my fingers.

The burning lobster red has cooled to my new summer skin tone - one that's colored with contrition, humility and thanksgiving.
Yep. That wasn't a typo. Thanksgiving for grace. God's grace. For His forgiveness. For His gifts of second-chances and new starts. And for His strength to persevere, His promptings to write and His words to type.

So no promises. But hopefully lots of words. That speak to you. That is if you're still out there...

Happy summer!