Spring Break is Over...
It's that nasty time of year. The slap in the face after Spring break that told us we didn't meet our first "hot bikini bod" goal of the year for that trip to Cancun. The wake up call that one-third of the year has passed us by and we're just stumbling over our crash and burn off the wagon. Now this may not be the case of everyone out there (gosh I hope so for the motivation that we all need!) but I can guarantee that these moods tend to come in waves throughout the year to hundreds of thousands and it shows very heavily in the articles and blog posts written.
Finding My Voice
A dear friend of mine recently posted an article to a weight loss group I'm a part of. This blog post, found on swimmingforshore.com, was written about swim suits and how we as women tend to look at ourselves. How we react to our dressing room sessions as well as reacting to those out and about on beaches and at pools. I have to admit that I read a lot of posts similar to this and nothing has really motivated me quite like this one. Before you read on, I highly encourage you to read the blog!
After furiously nodding internally at this post, I decided to write a blurb in a Facebook comment on the post. As I wrote, one word after another, I felt more and more sure of how I felt on the subject. I'm still young to anyone that would ask, but I'm also 27 and I haven't had a "perfect body" since I was 20. I have been through a lot of struggles that many can relate to and I just really felt an urgency to finally voice my opinion on the subject.
I've never been the person that responds as such before. I have always wanted to write, but it's honestly rare for me to stumble on a subject that just hits me right in the gut and says, "say something." The words that flowed from my fingertips are not ones I've heard often in the last several years through my journey of weight-loss and healthiness. So I share my thoughts now in the hopes that they fall into the hands of those that could really benefit from hearing them. And if the woman who wrote the blog post happens to read this, thank you for your words. You've touched at least one person out there and made a difference.
Do I Have a Bikini Body?
Growing up, I loved spending every day possible at the pool during the summer. I can't swim long distances and I never learned proper technique, but man I would be in the pool from open to close as many days as my mom would drive me. After high school came the college girl tanning phase since I still couldn't really swim. This phase is usually acted out with the skimpiest outfit available to minimize tan lines and maximize the tan. And let me tell you, I had the body for it. I'm 6 feet tall and back then I was a buck-fifty soaking wet.
Now that my age and wisdom have advanced a bit, I don't miss those days. I've put on pounds, but most of them were comfortable pounds. I remember a sweet old man I used to work with at at Wal-Martl. A few years after I had moved on, I ran into him at a restaurant and stayed to visit. I only remember one thing he said to me in the hour that I spent catching up. He told me that I had put on some weight and it looked natural on me. At that time I was still WAY smaller than I am now, but I had finally put on some curves rather than being the "Jolly Green Giant string bean" as I was so dubbed in grade school.
Everywhere we turn, women and even men are telling us that our size shouldn't matter anymore. I wholly agree with this statement. It's about who we are inside, what we strive for in our lives that defines us, not the number on the scale. But when the topic of bikini season pops up, women still go scrambling for diets, gym memberships, support, and reassurance that they can fit in to the "itty bitty teeny weeny yellow polka-dot bikini" just in time for the summer months.
The article written sparked my thoughts on self image, goals, and confidence. Last year, after several summers on the sidelines and away from pools, I finally managed to find a suit that just filled in all the right holes in my confidence. I didn't go with something that covered everything up like I have something to hide. It was a tasteful two piece that still made me feel sexy rather than embarrassed at what might be bulging out. That moment when I was putting on something that FIT, not something to wiggle into 20lbs from now, was the happiest I had stumbled across in a long time. I had just taken a breath of fresh air. I felt that for the first time in years, I was comfortable with what I was going to wear in public at a pool.
Who We ARE Vs. Who We're Trying To Become
We should all love our bodies and dress the part rather than degrade ourselves with negativity and never purchase what we could ROCK regardless of weight, BMI, lumps, wrinkles, thigh gaps, or muscles. We as women tend to purchase outfits or swim suits to strive for in a goal rather than to actually wear right away. When we don't reach the goal or the desired size, it's damaging to our confidence and our esteem.
I'm all for setting goals and buying an outfit now and then to reward or motivate weight loss, but I feel it has gotten out of control. Women rarely feel comfortable in their wardrobe from day to day anymore; whether it be a lack of money to buy new clothes that fits just right or the stubbornness of not wanting to give into whatever our current size is, we as women are feeding the goal rather than showing off what we've got to offer. Living happy every day in your skin, in your clothes, with your hopes, dreams, and goals... That's what life should be all about. If you think you look great, and act like you look great, then it will just ooze out of your personality and attitude.
We too often forget the here and now in a journey and only focus on the goal that may never quite turn out the way we hope. We need to take back our image and be comfortable with what we've got every step of the way instead of just focusing on what the end game will bring us. I honestly believe that the power of beauty and confidence lies in every person. It's just waiting there to be discovered and used.
So here's to those that have an outfit in their closet they're trying to fit in. Here's to those who've fallen off the wagon and are scrambling back up. Here's to those who have supplied motivation in their goals and achievements. And here's to each of you.