How a Ratchet Spring Break Helped Me Stop Worrying & Love My Bod
There are two ways to approach your typical college spring break: train like it’s the Olympics and look hot af, or just hold your nose and jump in, winter bod flailing all the way down.
I decided to do the latter on a trip to Cancun. No Whole30 and endless gym sessions for me. Yet somehow,Â instead of spending the week stewing in self-loathing, I actually ended up loving my body more by day five.
Allow me to explain.
The plane touched down in Cancun on a sunny day in March, leaving snowy Jersey behind. Half of my fellow spring breakers were already drunk on airport shooters. By the time the shuttle dropped us off at the â€œresort,â€ an apparently loose term, most of the girls had slipped into shorts and tanks, and waitâ€”how the fuck were they already sun kissed? Ya girl felt cheated.
From their bronze faces to their manicured toes, these girls looked perfect. Meanwhile, I didnâ€™t use tanning beds both because Iâ€™m poor and donâ€™t really want skin cancer. No matter, I was pale and refuse to diet (please thatâ€™s torture), so I looked at my beer belly and my paper-white skin and did not feel good. I was jealous and compared myself to them, as so many women do. Already spring break wasnâ€™t as expected. I ordered a piÃ±a colada and tried to ignore the jealousy.
It was just drunk girls everywhere. Let me correct that â€” drunk, skinny, tan girls with perfect hair, everywhere. How did they do their hair? It was 80 degrees and humid â€” mine was a rat’s nest. Like knots, Mexican water and no conditioner were not doing much for my thick curly hair.
Okay, I thought, so Iâ€™d never look like these girls. At least I could be more fun. I ordered a Long Island iced tea and handed the bartender my huge refillable bottle. Even drunk, I could see that these girls seemed to be more fun and confident than me. Prettier, skinnier, tanner, what could I win?
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This was about when I handed my bottle to the bartender and asked for filtered water. Filtered water in Mexico does NOT mean bottled water, but drunk me thought it was a glorious idea, resulting in my head in our hotel room toilet for twelve lovely hours straight.
My roommates actually went back out 3 times before I could keep down a sip of water. Really, donâ€™t drink the Mexican water. Whilst I was puking my guts out, my roommate made the comment that â€œat least Iâ€™d be skinny.â€ As if Iâ€™d care about that at all? Iâ€™d definitely rather be eating?
When I put my bikini on the next morning, blissfully alone in the room, I was skinnier. ButÂ it didnâ€™t make any difference. I was no more or less confident. I headed into the pool (the one full of frat boy piss, yes, naturally) to my roommatesâ€™ shock, and drank the day away. Looking back at it now, I realized that I was no longer drunkenly looking around at other girls. My slightly skinnier waist made no difference in how other people looked at me, why should it matter to me?
At this point I was starving as nothing at the â€œresortâ€ was edible; it was probably pigeon in the burgers and even the tacos sucked.
All I wanted was a slice of Rutgers pizza and a day without EDM music. The spring break bod isnâ€™t worth it, Iâ€™d rather be full and drunk and chubby. Iâ€™d rather be happy. There was no reason to compare myself to other girls. There is no competition. There is nothing to win, it is not possible to be both the prettiest, the skinniest, the tannest, and the most fun. No one is all those things, no one girl is the best.
The prettiest of my friends and the least, I couldnâ€™t even choose. It quite literally does not matter. Confidence does not stem from these beauty standards we create for ourselves. These donâ€™t matter, women are not prettier at the expense of other women. I always said it, but living it is different. The other spring breakers were pretty on their own, not in comparison to me. And this is when I finally began to thrive.
By the end of the trip, my whole body hurt, but it was litttt in Cancun. I didnâ€™t need to put others down to feel good about myself. It was better to focus on me, to embrace the disgusting alcohol, the sun finally tanning my skin, my beer belly and my friends sharing this crazy experience with me.
We train ourselves to be confident at the expense of the women around us. We tell our friends that their exâ€™s new girl is uglier, or fat, or less fun. Why must we be better than other women to be more confident? It doesnâ€™t work. Confidence does not come when you are more attractive of those around you. It is false, it is temporary and it is useless.
My girls killed it in Cancun. There were amazing women everywhere, strutting their stuff, smart as hell and letting it loose on vacation. They can do them, which is defined by so much more than weight, a tan, and their hair falling perfectly down their backs. And Iâ€™ll do me.