Monday, March 1, 2010

Burn the Ships

In 1519, the explorer, Hernan Cortes arrived in Veracruz, Mexico. After surviving for weeks with 200 sailors aboard a ship the length of about seven minivans, the crew was ecstatic to get off that wooden death trap. They probably planted their lips on that beach and vowed never to leave.

 After all they were the lucky handful who had survived scurvy, epic storms, horrible odors (200 men remember), and probably severe boredom. You'd probably be surprised to hear that soon after they arrived, the same crew was trampling each other in their haste to get back on that boat of death.

 Why? Because the brave new world left them less than brave. It was not the paradise they had been expecting. Waterfalls of gold did not abound. Instead of jumping at the chance of being their slaves, the Aztec people seemed to be rather resorceful and unwilling to be conquered. In short, this was no place like home.

 Seeing that his men were on the brink of mutiny and dissertion, Cortes did what any self-respecting Conquistador would do. He burned the ships.

Sidebar: Okay. So, I've discovered that historians are now saying that the burning part didn't actually happen. It was a mispelling/mistranslation of what should have been "broken." Cortes actually ordered 9 of the 13 ships be grounded into the sand of the beach. Broken. Burned. Whatever. The ships were made inoperable and since I learned the story as burned and it's more poetic, I'm sticking with burn! 

While I cannot condone what Cortes and his crew later did to the Aztecs, I have to admire his logic in this situation. How many times have I set course on a new plan or life change, only to run back to what's familiar -- even if that familiarity is lethal to me?

Why all this talk of ship burning, you ask? It has to do with a couple pairs of baggy jeans. While I'm celebrating the fruits of my ongoing weight loss labors, I'm finding that I'm a bit reluctant to part with my droopy drawers.

 Today when I was washing those jeans, I had the following thought: What will I do if I get to my goal weight -- only to find myself back in this size in the future? Shouldn't I be practical and keep them? I won't be able to afford to buy a goal weight wardrobe and then another ummm non-goal weight one.

 As soon as I pictured myself packing those things in a storage bin and putting them in the garage, I mentally slapped myself with this thought. "Burn the ships!!" How can I attempt a new way of living if I'm already thinking of failing?

So, as much as it pains my inner cheapskate, I'm going to have to let those jeans go. You see, I never intend to come back here again. And to make it more uncomfortable to do so, they're going to have to burn, baby, burn (or at least go to Salvation Army).


Teresa said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

So true, Heather. I am back at the game as well, and despite the urge to save clothes for a "heavy day," I agree that we are subconsciously sending a message that we will one day need them again because we are not going to succeed. I'm done with undermining my own will and determination ... I'm burning right there with you! :-)

Sheila said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I love this idea. I have been downsizing each time I drop a size, which isn't all the frequently. My weight loss is going tediously slow. It's nice that you are donating them, instead of burning them... there are certain nice slacks that I may take in, just because it's less expensive than trying to replace. I don't know if you can do that with jeans though :-)

Maresh Family said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

If ya get cold feet....I'll hunt them down and take them to Salvation Army myself (:
Wonderful story and correlating it with your life. You truly are a wonderful writer!

Austen_gal said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Thanks Deb! You'll be happy to know that I passed them on to a new owner. They are next "goal" to get into. So, it's a win-win for everyone.

Sheila....I might have to take a couple of items in on the seam or new black jacket being one...well, someone will have to...I'm not that good!

Teresa...looking forward to hearing about your bonfire!

Austen_gal said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Umm...I meant to say that the pants I gave are my friends goal pants.

Lori said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Burn, baby, burn! I too have given away some "too big" clothes lately. On a weight loss plan myself... and I've kept one pair of "big girl pants" (only to be able to take that picture holding up the "big" pants in front of my skinny little waist when I reach my goal weight).

Go girl... I'm with you in spirit...

Erika said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Great story! Just FYI, my mom is an excellent seamstress. I'm not sure what she's charging these days, but it's always been very reasonable. If you need her number, just let me know. I'm so proud of what you've accomplished for yourself!