Sunday, July 14, 2013
I wore a bikini to the beach on Friday. Big deal, right? Well, it was a big deal. I'm not quite the bikini body you like to see on a sunny, summertime beach. I'm more of the 30 pounds overweight, she-should-put-some-more-clothes-on beach body. And yet ... I did it. I felt sick to my stomach (yes, the flabby, 9 months post partum, stretch marks from here to there, white-ass belly) when I peeled my shirt off. Okay, okay. It was more like a careful tug off, so that my milk-filled breasts didn't pop out of the top. Luckily, I can't see the back of my legs or I'm sure I would have been way more self-conscious about those cows. But I can't, so I wasn't. I flipped off my shorts (okay, okay, I quickly pulled 'em down, hoping no one was watching.) Then I strode out of the shade and off my blanket towards the water and my waiting family. I should back up a bit. First of all, I'm not a swimmer. At all. In fact, if I could go a summer without having to be near a body of water - I would tooooootttallly do it. Unfortunately, I really want my gals to learn to swim, so I park my rear on the blanket for two weeks each summer while they go to lessons at the local lake. I sit in the shade so I don't worry about sunburn or getting too hot. Because I've turned into my mother, apparently. Secondly, I used to have a bikini body. Oh sure, at the time, I was convinced I was "too fat" (read that in a teenager's whiny voice) but hindsight is 20/20 and I looked good back then. Tanned, toned, a bit more confidence than I have now ... Sigh. I didn't like the water then, either. I was more into the hours of lazing in the sun. "Tanning" with a book, lemon juice in my hair, and a timer so I could get evenly bronzed. But now. Now, I'm just a 30 something mama who doesn't think about summer and what that means until swim lessons start. I love to eat. I hate to sweat. Doesn't make for a great combo for a bikini body. And yet, I put that baby on and walked from the shade out into the sun and into the water. The whole time I was walking I thought about all of the different parts of me that were jiggling, the parts that were blinding others with their white-ness, the parts that were society-deemed ugly. Once I got into the water and waded (then dog paddled, because that's about as much as I can do) toward my family, all of that negativity melted away. My family was out there having fun - and so was I. I was in the water, playing. My gals were super excited to have me out there. They told me they were surprised to see me. They told me they were glad to see me. And they told me they liked my swim suit. Two people said to me that day that they wished they were as confident as me. Yes, I do realize that they meant they wish they could be "fat" and wear a bikini and not care what others thought. Oh I cared. The whole time I was walking out of the lake back to my blanket, there was a running commentary of all of the rude things people were saying about me, in my head. Were people actually commenting on my size and lack of suit? Maybe. Most people were probably not even looking at me. Many people probably didn't even notice me at all. But during that oh-so-long walk from water to shade (all of ten seconds, probably), I was convinced I was the talk of the beach ... and not in a good way. Today, I can still feel the knot of anxiety, writing about the walk to and from the water. But even louder, I hear the happiness in the voices of my children, glad to spend time with me, no matter what I look like in a bikini.