Yup. There I am. In all my bikini glory.
We were on our first trip to Mexico and I was feeling good (after a couple cucumber mojitos) and I asked the hubster to take a picture of me because I was having such a fun time. I looked at it afterwards and thought I looked pretty darn good.
Then I moved on to bigger priorities, liiiiike what to drink next.
It wasn’t until I was going through photos after the trip, that I recognized what a momentous occasion that was. I didn’t think to immediately criticize myself when I saw the photo.
I actually thought I looked good.
Sure, I’m not at my thinnest, nor my heaviest, but I’m okay with having my picture taken, in a bikini of all things! Sure, I could tighten my tummy (who couldn’t?) and stand to lose more weight.
But this is me.
All of me.
In a bikini.
It took me 35 damn years to be okay with that. Sometimes I wish I could shake my skinnier 22 year old self and tell her how flipping beautiful she is and to stop worrying about how much she weighed.
I wish I could comfort that 13 year old who scribbled in her diary that she would try harder that year to lose weight to be “just like other girls,” so she could actually get a guy to like her or be asked to slow dance or for fucks sake, just fit into single-digit sized jeans. I wish I could tell her that the diet she had laid out on those naive pages wasn’t realistic and she’d disappoint herself when she couldn’t stick to it. I wish I could tear out those pictures she pasted into her journal of happy junior-sized models – sizes she never, even as a teenager, fit into.
You see, I had breasts in 5th grade. Not training-bra breasts. Womanly C-Cup breasts. I wasn’t overweight, I was just suddenly a WOAH-man. I had cellulite in 6th grade and remember asking my mom WTF it was; that one dimple on the back of my thighs that appeared when I crossed my legs. Genetics, I tell you. It’s a bitch. I had hips that were never junior-sized enough to be able to button up jeans. I wanted to be dainty and “normal” like other girls my age. I had to deal with things other chicks had no clue about until their teenage years or twenties. I thought I was alone. That sort of body shame is something that seeped into my mind well into adulthood.
I had a womanly body I didn’t know what to do with and I desperately wanted to get rid of it. Get rid of my body.
So what’s the difference between now and then?
I respect what my body can do — Fat rolls, thick thighs, giggly titties and all.
I’ve had doctors tell me I’m perfectly healthy and yet, I still fall into this bizarre <dun dun dun> overweight BMI category. It’s the same overweight BMI that ran 3 half marathons and can lift and break into Vinyasa like a boss. The same one that has great physical test results. THAT same BMI.
There wasn’t any way around it, really. I had to learn to love my body for all it does. I was tired of fighting with something that has given me so much; something that has accomplished so much. I waved the white, self-hate flag.
Perhaps I’ve let go of wanting to be supermodel-thin because I’ve seen so many other women with bodies just like me, who are models! Where were these bitches when I was growing up?! Why was Kate Moss tossed all over every magazine cover for me to covet when my 5’8″ body could never look like that?
The #BodyLove movement isn’t lost on me. When I see other women who are happy with who they are, regardless of that silly standard of beauty, I know it’s possible.
So, perhaps that’s why I’m posting this. It’s not exactly easy share it, but I sure would have liked to see other healthy women who aren’t a size 2…or 10…post their real bodies and share the love, even if it’s just so we know we aren’t alone.
Cellulite and all. We’re in this together.
Sure, I’m not walking a catwalk every time I put on a bikini. And duh, I’m not exactly comfortable bending over in one. I’m still conscious about my back flubber and arms that sometimes don’t stop waving goodbye even after I do. But it’s not about that anymore. I know I’m more than those attributes. I know I’m worthwhile even with those.
With this newfound #BodyLove, I’ve also noticed myself being less critical of others in my head. I’m actually cheering gals on who give zero shits that they don’t fit a body standard and are running in only a sports bra or daring to wear a bikini without being a size 2. It’s such a better head space to be in, this caring about yourself thing. Being kind to yourself, leads to kindness towards others.
My husband took this picture below on our most recent trip to Cancun and originally cropped my body out. When I looked at it, I asked why. He told me it’s because I’m usually pretty critical of what I see and he didn’t want me to be upset. He’s right. …So I had him retake it.
Pretty major steps for me.
And for you? It’s not too late. It’s not too late to turn that dialogue around and have a healthier relationship with your body.
Why not thank your body? Really. Look at your body and thank it. Even if you’re healthy, unhealthy, overweight, skinny, scarred, bumpy, indented from your bra (What? It does happen.) or suffering from a raging case of Chipotle belly (What? It does happen). Thank it for something it’s accomplished, even if you don’t believe it. It’s all yours. It’s your only one. I bet you it has provided you something you can appreciate. I’m telling you the dialogue may start small, perhaps even a bit forced. But eventually, and I promise this, you’ll start accepting tiny bits and learn to love your version of beauty and strength. It’s a version that can move mountains…
…and maybe even ask her husband to take a picture of her having fun on the beach in a bikini.
Looking for other body loving gals? Check out these rad chicks: