My friend Carla wrote an awesome post about only needing 2 steps to get a bathing suit body.
These are the steps to a bathing suit bod I want for my Tornado of a girl.
- Put on swimsuit.
- Hit the beach.
I didn’t tell her I was going to write a response because I didn’t want to be influenced by our offline conversation.
My immediate, honest, gut reaction after reading her post was,
“Well, that’s easy for you to say. You have an amazing body. You’re lean, muscular, fit. There isn’t an ounce of fat on you!”
I know how that sounds, believe me! I’m sure people will think something similar about me.
We all think it’s easy for everyone else, don’t we?
It all comes down to perspective and it’s not that I don’t agree with her. I just think it’s a bit more complicated.
Oh my Lord, how I WANT to simply agree. I want it to be that easy. I want to feel that comfortable in my skin and I’m closer than I’ve ever been to getting there, but it’s NOT as easy and simply putting on a suit and going to the beach.
I’ve been blogging about my weight and body image issues for almost 9 years, which is only part of my journey of getting to where I am (physically, mentally and emotionally) today. By the time I was 12 years old my bathing suit body was already being covered by T-shirts. Through my teen years I wouldn’t have been caught dead on the beach without shorts and a top. Easing into my 20s shorts started to even become scarce. I remember working one summer in Florida the year I turned 21. I wore jeans every day. IN FLORIDA. IN THE SUMMER.
That is how much I hated my body.
If someone told me then the solution was to simply put on a suit and go to the beach I would have laughed in their face. Then, that night, I would have cried myself to sleep.
So for as much as I want to agree, I can’t. It’s taken me a LOT of experience, growing-up and self-therapy (mostly through this blog) to get to place where I can put on a bathing suit with some confidence. To say it’s as easy as putting on a suit and just being happy with yourself minimizes the amount of work I think some of us need to do. And I don’t mean dieting! I mean deep down, nitty gritty, soul-searching kind of work and that can take some time.
Last year I wrote my Exposed update and it took a lot for me to share a photo of me in a bikini. A lot. And since I’m being honest, I can’t really look at those photos without tearing myself apart.
I have always admired confident people. People like Carla who are unapologetically themselves. People who frolic on a beach regardless of what they look like, seemingly without a care in the world. And I don’t mean to minimize Carla’s experience, feelings or the message she is trying convey because I really do think it’s possible to change our culture surrounding women and their bodies. However, for many of us the damage has been done.
It’s not that I don’t think we can’t get past it. I know we can but the steps may look more like this and span some time…
- Stop equating body shape/size with happiness. Remind yourself of this daily.
- Start pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. Start small (wearing a tank top worked for me) and build confidence.
- Work on becoming more comfortable with your body by DOING things instead of worrying about wearing things.
- Try to remember most people could care less what you look like because they are too worried about what they look like. <– Always helps me at the beach.
- Channel your energy into living life to the fullest.
Listen, if you are inspired by Carla’s post and have the ability to simply put on a bathing suit without any baggage regardless of what you look like, I admire you more than you will ever know. Actually, I envy you. For those of you who share my struggle, we’ll get there. We will.