Donning a bikini is not a normal occurrence for me. I haven’t worn a bikini proudly since….ever. While I wore them in high school and college, in my 20s and on my honeymoon, I was always self conscious about my body. It was so unnecessary back then. I was a healthy, fit and confident girl. When it came to my body though, it just never seemed ‘good enough.’ Youth indeed was wasted on my young self. Ah hindsight.
Once I had kids, tankinis were a life saver for me, hiding the extra baby weight that never seemed to go away. And then I pulled out the old mom swim skirts because who wants to flash their tush at the beach when you’re bending over for the 705th time in an hour to get the sandcastle just right? The older I got, the more I covered up – pretty soon wearing cover-ups at the beach and at the pool.
Let me tell you – cover ups can get kind of warm. As recently as five years ago, when I was at my most fit, I wouldn’t wear a bikini because, well, I felt like I was just too old. But now I know the real reason: Even though I was healthy and fit and looked good in a bikini (said Hubs,) I still didn’t feel ‘good enough.’ I was still self conscious about my body.
I won’t go on and on about my post-fit body, my struggles with body image and how I associated thinness with goodness for so very long. You can read about that right here.
This January, I started feeling super sluggish after an emotionally tough winter. I was in a job that I no longer liked and I allowed it to alter my mood, alter my schedule and my life. I gained weight and had no desire to cleanse, to diet, to do anything. What I did want was to finally get to the bottom of why I vacillated from doing all the ‘right’ things – eating and exercising and making healthy choices – to slipping into unhealthy and nonexistent exercise habits and food choices.
I’d had enough. I needed to dig deep into my soul and figure out what the hell was going on with me. And I did. With the help of Pam Gross, my Whole Life Wellness Coach, I realized my soul was hungry for me to come back to itself. I realized my emotional, spiritual and physical health needed connection. I needed to follow the dots and learn how to reconnect with my self, with my soul. Once I did, the rest came pretty easy.
Cutting out sugar and all the garbage that makes my 47 year old body feel all those 47 years felt good. What you put in is what you put out. I started eating cleaner – but still had some wine on the weekends. I still eat pie and pasta, but I’m intentional about it and listen to my heart and soul when I make food and exercise choices. It doesn’t take a lot of effort when I’m just following my heart.
All that said, I did lose some weight – not as much as I wanted to. I am nowhere near the weight I ‘think’ I should be. And I really don’t care. I am so happy in my body right now. I feel connected and light.
With that attitude, I decided to test myself on Spring Break. If I really felt connected and light, wearing a bikini (which by the way is WAY more comfortable than a one piece or a tankini hugging my muffin top,) on the beach would be no biggie. It’s just clothing, right?
I threw two bikinis in my suitcase and threw caution to the wind. I did it. I exposed my white belly in all it’s imperfect gloriousness two days in a row. Guess what? Nothing happened. No one looked at me, no one cared. The sky didn’t fall, I didn’t cringe at myself in the mirror. And most importantly, I didn’t care. For the first time in my entire life, I was proud of my body. Other than the fear of getting a sunburn on my neverseesthesun belly, I didn’t think about what I was wearing.
I rocked my bikini and it had nothing to do with how I looked. It had everything to do with how I felt.
Talk to me about body image in the comments below. Do you wear a bikini? A swim skirt? Whatever you wear to the beach, do you rock it? I’d love to know.
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