What’s something society said your plus size body couldn’t do, that you ended up doing anyways? I have quite a few items on that list, but one experience that truly sticks out is when I took surfing lessons in Bali. Growing up, I never saw anyone who looked like me on a surfboard or even next to one. I mean, I hardly saw women who looked like me in a bathing suit or at the beach. The image of a surfer was always the same: white, skinny, and blonde. Since this was the only image I had of this sport, I grew up thinking that this was an activity that wasn’t meant for me as a plus size, black woman. I felt that I would look silly and out of place and fail miserably if I tried.
What I love about traveling, however, is that it always boosts my confidence when it comes to trying new adventures. During this trip planned by Sisters Traveling Solo, I was able to take a class from the Santai Surf School. I highly recommend utilizing them if you are ever in Bali because they broke the process down into simple steps and captured amazing photos while I focused on surfing. Before even venturing into the ocean, we practiced on land getting into the best position to catch a wave. Once everyone was able to practice on the sand and grasp an understanding of the technique, we headed towards the water.
I was still hesitant once we made it into the ocean and resorted to catching the wave while laying down on the surfboard. Honestly, that experience alone was incredibly fun and felt safe as I didn’t have to worry about making a fool of myself. My group wasn’t going to let me settle, though, and encouraged me to try standing up on the board. So, I tried the next few times and fell face first into the water! Over and over again, I fell, but guess what? I was having a blast and started to forget about looking perfect. Once I finally let go and was able to feel the wave, I actually surfed for a few seconds (have the photo to prove it!) before falling again!
I now look back on that experience and relive the joy I felt in that moment and how exciting it was to try and conquer something new. I don’t think about my large, jiggly thighs or the fact that my body is left out of surf magazines. I know that my body is amazing and capable of achieving anything that I push it to do. I never would have known that my body could indeed surf if I never even tried. Today, I encourage you to stop putting limits on your body and dare to create your own images showing just what plus size bodies can do!
xoxo, Global Midwife