I wore a two-piece swimsuit to the public pool today and guess what terrible thing happened?
No children cried. No one vomited. No one told me to put a shirt on. Literally, no one cared.
Now you see, I haven’t worn a bikini in public since I was… ummm probably 14 or 15. My stomach has not seen the sun since before I was old enough to drive on my own without a licensed adult sitting in the passenger seat. This was a big deal for me.
On the way to the pool, I had a bit of a panic attack. I almost turned around to go home (7 miles) and grab a shirt. I thought about running it to my flea market booth in town to grab one before hitting the pool.
But.. my kids.
You see.. I’m raising two girls and I had them in tow with me today. The last thing I want to do is look at them and say, “be ashamed of how you look.” I don’t want them to think…. “Cover your body. It’s hot out, but swim with a shirt on.”
I know we were raised to strive for abs and thigh gaps… tiny bikinis and perfect bodies. Guys, those bodies were photoshopped and smoothed over and fed to us on the cover of Seventeen Magazine. They knew that we would stare in adoration while our moms left us in the magazine aisle at Wal-Mart to grocery shop.
Now here we are.. 20 years later.
Is my body how I want it? Absolutely not. In fact, my fancy new scale reminded me today that I am technically overweight, according to my BMI. By 3 pounds… and I guess science doesn’t lie, right? ( I HATE THE BMI SCALE, by the way.)
If I lose those three pounds will I suddenly love my body?
If I lose 10 pounds and hit my goal weight, I’ll surely love it then, right?
Not even close.
Because honestly. I know me and I’ll always have something to nit pick. Two years ago, I was twenty pounds lighter than I am today and I still wasn’t impressed with the body in my mirror.
It’ll be stretch marks or my cellulite. It’ll be wrinkles. It’ll be veins. It’ll be my freckles or my pale skin that seems impossible to tan. There is always going to be something holding me back and I’m so tired of wasting my adult life hating myself.
I told my friend what I wore to the pool, and she called me brave, because she could never. Girl, I’m not brave. It’s literally 100 degrees outside. It’s hot. And honestly, I don’t want to walk around with a t-shirt and shorts tan line for the rest of the summer.
I should have told her she is dumb because she is perfect the way she is.
I should have told her that no one cares about how she looks in a swimsuit… except her.
But she was me last week and that has been me since I was young. And I know me enough to know when I would roll my eyes and pretend like the compliment isn’t sincere.
I know, we hear all the time about being body positive and to put on the damn swimsuit but until we actually do it, that stuff won’t resonate.
And that sucks.
My body has birthed three humans. She has survived trauma and depression. Eating disorders and body dysmorphia. My body has helped me power through on days that I just really didn’t want to. I probably need to appreciate her more.
I guess what I’m saying is… Stop waiting until you have a perfect body to enjoy your life.
Today, I get it. Today, I understand the body positive movement. Today I see that no one gives a shit what I look like except me.
So today, I want to encourage you to put on the damn swimsuit and enjoy summer with your babies. I know it sounds like a broken record. But I promise you it’ll be ok. No one cares what you look like. You aren’t nearly as important as you think. No one is looking at you except for the tiny people you are raising. Teach them better than Seventeen magazine taught us.