“Laying down, taking a moment to really stop and close your eyes and just do not worry and breathe for a little bit”
By Rajiv Jain
“I Need a Vacation… From Myself”
Fiction. Based on a True Struggle With My Body.
This journal entry is inspired by true events. Some of the characters, names, businesses, incidents, and certain locations and events have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes. Any similarity to the name, character or history of any person is entirely coincidental and unintentional.
You wake up. Heavy, that’s how you feel.
A look in the mirror does more harm than good. Your boring brown eyes don’t even work properly. You need to wear glasses because contact lenses irritate your eyes, that’s how shit your face is. Your nose is stuffy about 80% of the time making it red and puffy. Your cheeks, man your cheeks, it’s where you hold all your food. Your ‘double chin’ has grown into a ‘four chin’. Your lips are the only thing you can make seem okay with lipstick. You want to throw yourself at the mirror and break it, to make it look just like you feel.
You look at your phone. It does more harm than good. Gorgeous long hair, white pearly smiles, perfect bodies, clear glowing skin, designer clothes, perfect relationships. That’s what you see in that horrible phone.
But it’s not because of you. It’s because of everyone around you. Everyone has it all. Everyone is living their best life. You’re just living.
You feel it when you shower. The extra fat that is. You have rolls that go on and on all over your body. You have boobs that hang so low they might as well be part of my stomach. You feel the bumps on your face, those horrible pesky zits that even though you’re way past puberty, you still get them weekly. You feel the wrinkles. All over your face. On your forehead, on your eyes, on your chin, your neck, even your chest. You feel your scars. “Love your scars” but how can you when they’re a daily reminder of all that I’ve been through. You don’t feel grateful for them, you feel resentful for them.
You get dressed. You don’t need to see yourself to know that you don’t look like those girls in your phone. You feel tight in places you didn’t even know could feel tight. You feel exposed even though almost every inch over your body is covered with fabric.
You let your hair down. Not to show it off, but to cover your face. The more things to cover you, the better. You put dry shampoo on it because you haven’t washed it in a week but you don’t have the motivation to do so.
You look at all the make-up. Is it worth it? Will it actually make a difference? You look at the time. You have five minutes until you have to leave for work. There is no time to actually make myself look decent.
You pass by the kitchen. Thinking about food makes you nauseous. You don’t want food. You drink a little water to subside the grumbles in your stomach.
You arrive at work. Game face on. You smile at everyone. No one actually looks at you but you have the smile just in case, you don’t want people thinking you’re a downer.
The only friend you have at work invites you to lunch. You accept. She wants to try the new restaurant around the corner. You agree and walk beside her. You look at her. She is gorgeous without trying. Her long wavy hair sways with the wind and shows of the glow in her face. She has a pinch of make-up, but she doesn’t even need it. She doesn’t need to cover up. Her outfit covers her skin but shows of her curves.
She smiles as you seat down, “I think I want to eat a burger, it’s been so long since I’ve had one.”
“I’m not really hungry, I think I’m good with a salad,” you say. But you really want to eat a burger too. That will bloat you though so you decide against it.
You order and eat while hearing her talk about how her boyfriend is so nice and loving towards her. While you listen you glance around and you notice men are looking at her, none at you. You don’t blame them. You’re also looking at her. She’s hard not to look at.
You decide to go to the store. You need new face products. Clearly, the ones you have at home don’t work for your skin. You ask the clerk for recommendations and you see how she looks at you, judging. She’s looking at all your imperfections. You look down.
She gives you some products, you glance at them and read the ingredients as if you knew what the hell they are. “This will be fine,” you say. Really, you just want her to stop looking at your face. You turn around and head to check out.
You work-out. You don’t know why though, you’ve been working out for three months now and it hasn’t done any good. Not to your body nor your mind. You still look like shit. You still feel like shit.
You eat another salad. Your stomach really wants pasta but you give it a salad.
You take a shower and you feel them again. All the rolls, the bumps, the scars, the divets. You shower your face with the new soap you bought. You do the rest of your nighttime routine. You put on the biggest pajamas and curl up on the bed with a book. It’s the only way to get your mind off life for a few minutes.
You wake up with the book in your hands still. It’s the same as yesterday. The biggest clothes, hair down, but today you actually put on make-up. However, you don’t see the difference.
You arrive to work and hear a co-worker talking about their vacation. That’s what you need! A vacation!
A vacation from this life. You feel a tingle in your stomach. Just the thought of a vacation makes you feel good. I might need to schedule one.
So you do. You speak with your boss. He approves the vacations and you feel excited.
As soon as you arrive home you look at prices. Shit, you might not have enough money. Your excitement drops fast. You glance at yourself in the mirror. You need this. So you look at all the offers, all the websites until you find something decent that you can afford and won’t leave you broke. You find something and you book it as fast as you can. Once the confirmations arrive at your email you smile. You’re doing it. You’re taking a vacation by yourself for yourself.
You take a shower but this time, you don’t allow yourself to think about it. You just shower. You don’t allow yourself to feel every horrible part of your body. You finally wash your hair and you let the water fall down and break the tension away from your body.
You feel refreshed. It’s a different feeling. It almost feels good.
You count the days until you will have that time for yourself. You count and count.
It’s here. Finally. You packed your bags, probably more than you should’ve but you’re ready. The anxiety can’t help creep on you. It’s been so long since you’ve been on a plane. It’s the first time you’re flying alone. It’s the first time you’ll be alone for such a long time. You’re afraid your mind will make it unbearable but you’re strict about making this vacation count.
You arrive at your destination and you see it straight away, the beach. Hawaii. Hawaii. I’ve always dreamed of being here and here I am. Finally.
You never thought you’d actually do it. Being in a bathing suit in broad daylight? Never. Yet, here you are with a bathing suit and a piña colada in hand. You actually feel good about it. You actually let yourself enjoy the fresh air and the hot sun on your body.
You don’t care who’s looking. You don’t care how you look. All you care about is how you feel, and you feel pretty damn great.