Recently, the body positive movement has reached a fever pitch, especially considering we are reaching peak swimsuit season.
Now, I’m normally pretty proud of my body, accepting what I look like (FYI: it’s taken awhile to fully embrace what I look like.), but I still feel self-conscious when it comes to *shudder* wearing a bathing suit… in public.
To backtrack, I’ve known that I don’t have the traditional “bikini body” since elementary school, where I always had a little tummy sticking out of my two-piece swimsuit. And so, since third grade, I embraced the tankini (as long as it was long enough!) and one-piece life. And sure, I often felt embarrassed standing next to my skinny-mini friends in their trendy two-pieces while I seemed super modest in a Target-brand one-piece.
And by early high school, I was deeply immersed into the world of Spanx and had adapted my swimsuits to only wear ones with ruching or get a flowy cover-up, so as little of my body would be visible as possible… or just avoiding a swimsuit whenever I could get away with it. Which even meant avoiding the water on sweltering days or running into the water quickly so that as little people got a glimpse of my swimsuit and my so-called “problem areas.” But that type of beauty standards really mess with a young girl’s head. Makes you think that they way you look isn’t good enough, that no one would ever like you for it, and that really screws up your sense of self.
OK, back to my point:
In reading about all the kick-ass women out there standing up to the body shamers, it truly inspires me. Why should being a certain size be the key factor in IF you can pull off a swimsuit. New mantra: if you like the suit, wear it with pride. Body size be damned. No shallow body-shaming haters have the right to take that away from you. It hurts me to admit that worrying what other people would think about me once prevented me from enjoying my life and feeling confident in my skin.
I’ve known skinny-mini Barbie types that have admitted to feeling self-conscious in their own skin because they (who regularly fit in sizes 2-6 mind you, something I have never been) feel overweight and thus, not pretty? What?! That really put a lot in perspective for me. How do people who arguably look far more like the traditional beauty standards of models and Hollywood than I not feel confident as they are? So, then and there, I slowly started to look at my body in the mirror and learn to rock it. So what if I’ve never fit in anything less than a size 10? So what if I have a little tummy poking out of my two piece? So what if I don’t look like a supermodel? SO WHAT? At some point, I hope you can look at yourself as is, and realize you are a queen, regardless of what Hollywood would approve of.
So, I’m proposing a change this summer: PUT. ON. THAT. DAMN. SWIMSUIT. ALREADY. Rock that bikini, that crop top, that dress, those shorts, rock whatever the hell you want. It shouldn’t matter what some outsider thinks you should be wearing. If you like it, wear it. And not just wear it, OWN it.
You’ll never be okay with your body and self-image until you learn to accept it. Sure, we all have our insecurities. But, the sooner you learn that you can never look like stick-skinny Hollywood and fashion types, the better. Because it starts with acceptance. Look in the mirror and say, You are beautiful, You are awesome. Start the day with confidence. Next step, head to the pool/beach in your swimsuit — SANS cover-up. And just enjoy your freaking life. Life’s too short to worry if someone is judging your bathing suit. (I’ll save them the trouble: I may not look like a Kardashian in my swimsuit (nor will I ever), but who cares? It’s a cute suit and I feel like a supermodel when I hit the water.) BAM.
Own it, love it, live it.
…There’s your summer mantra. And mine too. We’ll get through this together.