Sometimes you sit on a plane unaware that people notice you. Then you get on a plane again, and that person recognizes you and starts talking. I’m not usually a person who talks people on a plane, but today I did briefly.
When you talk to strangers, you realize you aren’t alone in this world. People have walked in similar shoes and often have a similar story or at least knows someone with a similar story. Those few days at my parent’s house with all my siblings gathered around my baby sister; I realized a lot of things about myself. I will do anything for any one of my siblings and their families, but I am not the same person I was growing up with all these people. I’m not even the same person I was a year ago.
I sat around the table with my mother and two of my sisters. I listened to my mom talk about how many pounds she wanted to lose or maybe it was that she wanted to gain, I can’t remember. I listened to one sister talk about her joining weight watchers again, and my other sister says she was going to start worrying about the 15 pounds she wanted to lose after the chocolate croissants were gone. Even my brother thought he needed to lose some weight. It was so frustrating to me to hear because I worked so hard to love my imperfect body. In the past, I would have been right smack in the middle of that conversation comparing the most recent diet I was trying. This time around it all just frustrated me to the point I wanted to walk out of the room. My siblings are beautiful, smart and resilient. My mother is the most active 72-year-old I have ever met. I sat back and listened to the diet talk for a minute and then looked around the room. My baby sister’s kids were running around giggling and playing; there was my six-month-old niece sitting on her mother’s lap trying desperately to pull the ears off my mom’s dog and letting out the most adorable giggle only a baby could. Then I looked at my sister, the one we were all there for, she was sitting on the couch, snuggled up with her oldest watching cartoons. Life was happening all around my mom and sisters, and they were wondering how many points were in one of my chocolate croissants.
How many of us miss out on the most fabulous dessert because we are afraid it exceeds the points for the day. How many of us miss out on hearing a baby’s giggle because we are blending up a protein shake. Life flashes before us in a moment. One minute you are living life and the next minute life decides to shake things up a bit and turns your world upside down.
In a week or so, I’m headed to New York City for six months to start working on a new show. The old part of me is so afraid I’m not going to fit into the sophisticated world of Manhattan. But then something my brother said to me completely shifted my thinking; he said, “the only thing those people are thinking about you is why are you in their way.” The stranger I met on the plane also said: “the city is so romantic during the holidays.”
So I’m done talking about diets and points. I’m done saying “well that’s because I’m fat.” I will no longer live behind my insecurities, but I’m going to swallow this world and my life whole. I am going to look out for that baby’s giggle. I am going to have that piece of dessert because it looks so amazing. I’m going to walk the streets of Soho, and I’m going to find those adventures because life flashes by in a moment. None of us know how long we have here and I will be damned if I’m going to spend it counting points or pounds. Instead, I’m going to spend it living, loving and perhaps with a large piece of chocolate cake in my hand.