I Met a Whale!

Well, sort of. 

I spent this last week in Maui, trying to squeeze in the last bit of mental sanity before work officially kicks into high gear. I slept, ate, and exercised. In addition to the usual hiking and swimming, my travel mate and I tried out Qi Gong, which we really enjoyed. I was pleasantly surprised to have worked up a sweat over deep breathing and gentle movements. Does this mean I am getting an early start into my old Chinese woman qi-gong-in-the-park self? Yes. 

One other thing that we tried together is sunrise SUP, which stands for stand up paddling with Paddle on Maui. Tiring, but so worth it. It wasn’t my first time doing it, but uh, doing it in the ocean is completely different, especially if you’re meeting, let’s say, new friends. 

Saying hi to my new whale friends in Maui.

I SAW WHALES! !@#$%^&* 

Here’s the fucked up thing though: as soon as I got my hands on our pictures, the first thing I stared at was my mid-section. My mom’s voice rang in my ear, “suck in your stomach.” Nevermind the whale tail that’s so clearly captured next to me, nevermind that I am like, SO CLOSE that the freaking whale’s head could’ve been underneath my board, and nevermind that I fulfilled a dream of mine, which is to be close to what I would consider to be one of the most amazing wonders of our world, in that moment I could only focus on how unattractive I looked? Shit.

I mean, who’s even looking at me? NOBODY. And how dare I compare myself to a humpback whale? 

Even more preposterous, I remember the moments of being photographed, on the sea, WHILE THE WHALES WERE NEXT TO US, and thinking to myself, my body is going to look bad in these photos. It will. I already know it. 

How many amazing moments in our lives have we missed because we let ourselves get in the way? And how many more moments are we willing to lose because we can’t stop obsessing over how “beautiful” or “ugly” we look? 

The ideal body is YOUR body. You’ve only got one, and it’s yours forever. So this year, thanks to my whale buddy (or buddies, since there were two of them and maybe even a baby that we didn’t get to see), I am pledging to be more present. 

I don’t want to let anymore beautiful moments go to waste, and neither should you.

- Lisa

Lisa Leemaui, humpback whale, whale