Here we are again, the one time of year most women despise: bathing suit season. Something about shedding the comfortable layers of fabric to reveal our true silhouette is intimidating and filled with silent (and sometimes vocal!) angst. I get it. I really do. Believe it or not, I also fight the demons in my head about body image.
“You’re so out of shape.”
“You used to look great, but now…”
“You are way too old to wear that.”
“If you wear this, you will be judged by ____________ .” (fill in the blank)
I’ve seen my friends post articles about being fat. Being skinny. Being modest. Being honest. It seems with every perspective shared, there are three more viewpoints to contradict the point. It can really make your head spin.
So here’s the deal. This is my perspective on the whole “What bathing suit should I wear?” debate:
This is my life.
I really don’t care what bathing suit you wear. Bikini, tankini, ruffled skirt or racer-back tank. Wear whatever you feel comfortable wearing! You, and you alone, are the only person in control of your body image. Stop comparing yourself to everyone else and for goodness sake, stop gossiping about those who have the confidence to boldly wear what they like. I’m not threatened by you; please don’t feel threatened by me.
I wear two-pieces. That’s right – a bikini. No, I’m not trying to act 18. I’m not trying to make you jealous. Seduce your husband? Are you kidding me? Girl, please…
I am 42 years old. I’ve had 3 children, all full-term, delivered naturally. My body has been in a state of constant change for the past 17 years.
I’m short. Curvy. No surgical enhancements, not even lasik surgery to fix my ailing eyesight. I can stand in front of the mirror and rip my reflection to shreds. Thanks for your opinion, but I need no assistance from you to feel horrible about my appearance.
I will never be tall, thin, and gorgeous. I will never look like a model in a magazine (mainly because the girl in that photo doesn’t even look like the girl in that photo.) And to be perfectly honest, this is probably as good as it gets.
I’m at the point in my life when I can embrace who I am in every single way, including body image. I try to eat somewhat healthy. I work out when I can. I can also wipe out a bag of salt and vinegar chips faster than you can blink.
I am me.
Not the girl next door. Not the woman across the street. Not you. Just me.
I will always be fatter than someone else and skinnier than another.
Please. Stop. Comparing.
I wear two pieces in the summer for many reasons. I hate having wet spandex stretched across my stomach. I despise having to remove an entire bathing suit just to take a bathroom break. Because I’m short-waisted, tankinis make me look like I’m wearing a dress, which brings me back to the whole wet-spandex-on-stomach issue.
I don’t wear a two-piece to make a feminist statement and I most surely don’t choose this swimwear to contradict my Christian beliefs.
I am wonderfully and beautifully made. Stop trying to make me think differently.
I have a teenage daughter who internalizes my spoken and unspoken words and actions. If I spend every summer bemoaning my physical inadequacies, what message does she receive about her own body? (Which, I might add, is almost identical to mine when I was her age.) I can assure you, she is not flaunting her body and quite frankly, neither am I.
I’m just more comfortable wearing a bikini.
I am not judging you for wearing a one-piece to remain modest. Rock on! You over there, wearing your tank top and shorts, shine in all your comfortable beauty! I am not trying to stir the pot or rile you up. Goodness, no. I am merely sharing my own personal insight on a trending topic in my newsfeed.
Embrace who you are now and who you are going to become. Age means change and that’s ok! Wear what you want, so you can enjoy the time you have. I’m sure there will come a time when my preferences shift, but until then please accept me as I am, which includes what I choose to wear.
And the next time you see me at the pool or water park, I hope you will stop by and say hi without judgment. I might need you to lotion my imperfectly freckled back so I don’t burn as red as a lobster.