Once again it is upon us, that glorious time of year when lemonade sounds so good every single day.
When the sun is still shining AFTER work.
When weekends are spent swimming, picnicking, and enjoying the outdoors.
And, of course, when swimsuits are back in season.
Every year a few months ahead of time, as if we didn’t know summer was coming, the magazines and newspapers and television shows remind us.
Get fit for SWIM season!
Lose those lumps before summer!
Trim your abs and wear that teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikini!
Anyone and everyone from anywhere and everywhere likes to tell us to get in shape, now. Fast. Furiously. Yesterday.
And this is all so we can look good in a swimsuit.
So, a few days ago, having been reminded a thousand times that yes, it is swimsuit season, and, yes, I would like a new swimsuit for Hawaii, I went on an evening walk to Macy’s. To the swimsuit section. I browsed. I was not in the market for a definite buy. I just wanted to see what was out there. And, like most people, ahem, women, I fell in love with the cute prints and super super cute swimsuits. Until the fitting room.
There is nothing like a swimsuit to point out every single tiny flaw in your body. What skirts and dresses and shirts etc. etc. etc. can hide a swimsuit puts right out there under glaring neon lights for the whole world to see, and gawk at, and possibly even laugh at after hours.
And, to top it all off, swimsuits are freaking spandex. So not only do they highlight every teeny tiny little flaw, you’re uncomfortable the whole time, too. How fun!
And, standing there in front of what had to be some kind of fun house mirror, I realized that I had put on a few pounds over the colder months, despite my attempts to eat healthy and stay active. But, more troublingly, I, a person of confidence and body image awareness, felt bad about myself, and I wanted to change my body more than anything else in the whole world and make my body perfect. Like all the little tiny skinniest girls in the world trying on bikinis.
I looked around at a sea of skinny women. It was unbelievable. I had to be the only woman trying on swimsuits who might have been in the middle of a healthy weight range. Unbelievable, but more unbelievable, and what disturbed me, I did not consider that maybe there was anything wrong with these suits. I decided I should change my body to fit them.
Then, of course, I ran these thoughts by Boy Eat. And, suddenly, like being pulled from an abyss, he showed me the light.
Perhaps I was not built to be the skinniest Minnie. And, maybe a teeny tiny swimsuit felt tight. And, sure, perhaps I had put on a few pounds (nothing a few good workouts could not cure if that would help me feel better about myself). But, most importantly, more importantly than any of that or any swimsuit in the whole wide world, Boy Eat reminded me that beautiful women come in all shapes and sizes and that one season like swimsuit season should not keep us from feeling beautiful just because we could be skinnier. I am healthy. I am happy. And, there is definitely something to be said about that.
So, this year, I am trying something different. This year, I am not going to starve myself before trying my bestest to fit into the cutest tiniest bikini ever or be okay wearing an uncomfortably tight one piece. This year, I am buying a swimsuit in my size,and one that feels good and looks good. This year, I will work out and try to tone my body so that I look better and feel better about myself, not to match some ridiculous societal standard of summer beauty, but to be the best me that I can be. And most importantly I will not try to be someone I’m not. I’ll just be me, just with a little more muscle, and a little less lump.
This year, let’s not let swimsuit season make us feel bad about ourselves. Let it inspire us to be healthy. Let it remind us to take good care of ourselves. And, more than anything, let it take us back to a time when society’s standard of beauty included some curves. And, the next time a swimsuit section makes you feel bad about yourself, go home and google 1950’s beauty queens, or do it right there on your phone. Turns out, we are not alone. Most importantly, let’s be grateful for what we do have.
After all, when little black dress season rolls around, I’ll be thanking my curves again for how amazing I look.