“Here we go again”, I thought as I attempted to squeeze into ANOTHER swimsuit. There comes a point during each summer that my favorite season, turns into my least liked time of year. That is, when I am plagued with the need for a new bathing suit.
Now, I know this is not a life or death task, but it can definitely be a life changing one. This event can either be a positive or negative contingent on your personal views and goals. If you have, like many women been fine tuning your summer body this could be a rather satisfactory moment for you. However, if you are like me and other women you have been forced to focus less on you and your outer appearance and more on the miscellaneous & “more important” things in life. For us, this moment is filled with grievance – of what we USE to look like and what we had hoped we would look like now. You know, we begin to think about when we were “fine as wine” back in the day, or when we were a size 5 in high school. Furthermore, we are haunted by thoughts and ideals of what our culture insists we should look like in our summertime outfits.
You will have gone from to excitement to resentment, and from happiness to self pity. The interesting part of all of this, is that all of these things can happen in less than 2-3 minutes in a Walmart dressing room.
For me though, my moment of truth occurred last week when I was shopping for a swimsuit to take my little sister swimming, and for my upcoming vacation. Now I’m going to be brutally honest, I have gained around 20lbs-30lbs from the last time I had bought a swimsuit. So, of course somethings are going to be a little rounder, thicker (I don’t like the word wide when referring to my body), and down-right bigger than they use to be. Subsequently, the seven swimsuits I originally tried on didn’t fit as I had planned or hoped for. So just like I mentioned above, my mind went berserk. I begin to stare at my legs, thighs, and my oh so chubby tummy in disdain. All I could hear was, “…now you know that’s not for you … Make sure you cover up those hips…”. I felt as if I was being tormented, and ridiculed before I even left the dressing room. I even had to take five.
But then something miraculous happened. I just didn’t care. Like, I need you all to understand me, . . .I gave NO F***s. For once in my life I did not care what anyone had to so about MY body. For so long I tried to have this perfect figure, and would punish myself psychologically for not having one. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the necessity of being healthy, and I know the implications of obesity. However, I am not sure if the majority of the fashion industry or women understand that we all cannot be a size 0*, and that the average size of an American woman* is a size 12-14. This means that the average woman typically possesses a full chest, thighs, butts, hips, and don’t have abs. So I began to question myself. Why in the world am I depressing myself because I am not where I want to be physically, and because I do not look like what the media is trying to present as a reality, when I know it isn’t?! Just like all of these other women I am living life – and unfortunately sometimes, ish happens! And when it does, you move forward and keep living.
After I got myself together, I stood back up and I was bound and determined to find a swimsuit for all of me, hips included. I found something that I would not have worn in my slimmer and more insecure days, but I found something that spoke to the woman I am today. I found something that that made me smile – a black midriff halter top with gold accents and matching bikini bottom ( which is the piece I would never worn).
That day in the dressing room, I started to love me just a little bit more. I began to love every piece of myself. My body tells a story, and on my vacation I allowed my story to be read aloud. I walked around proudly and confidently, as the cover of my book was shown off to the world. I will no longer allow myself to feel ashamed or less than because I do not look like or fit into that small, undersized bikini.
**** Do not allow the unrealistic physical expectations of men, media, nor the fashion industry fool you into believeing that you are not worthy of love, attention, or the joys of life! You are beautiful, and don’t ever forget that!
-As Told by HER, Hailey Elise