The first time I ever posted a photo of myself in a bikini on social media it was for a piece like this. About the importance of accepting your body and not letting it hold you back from the life you want to have. To go swimming even if you're bigger than _____ size
And yes, I still truly believe that, but there's a piece missing in that story.
That keeps getting lost in translation.
To get a bikini body, you just have to put on bikini - oh yes, and also wade through the lifetime of people pointing out the "flaws" in your figure, the white noise of every magazine, commercial, and TV show telling you your body is inherently imperfect and shameful, every snide remark given, and the umpteen dozen times a day you catch your reflection and immediately wish something was different - and then simply go for a swim.
We work so hard to mask the vulnerability with fun hashtags and narrowly avoid letting slip our facade of impenetrable confidence and I am calling bullshit. It's really god damn hard. It may never get easier, and it's okay to struggle and fail. Slapping on a bikini for an annual photo doesn't mean you're above it. You've cleverly outsmarted every scar from those lessons we learned decades ago that we oh so gently carry as we go through life.
So this year I wanted to write this to open up the conversation, to bare all, the physical and the heart wrenching.
There's no perfect beach body or uninhibited confidence, there's just a woman wearing a garment hoping to be a little kinder to herself this year than the last. Hoping to outgrow the reach of it all, hoping her words matter enough to wash away some of your imprinted ideals that still hold you imperceiveably hostage. Just like mine do.
Together we are stronger and braver than the shadows of who we once were.
Bathing suits or not, of this I am sure.
"If I could just run far enough, skip lunch, lay out a little longer in the sun I could be that beautiful. The pursuit of something I wasn't entirely sure of, but certain I should be pursuing it with all my might"
"As I unravel my past, pulling out each thread and staring at the scraps and chaos, I feel increasingly certain that the answers aren't behind us - it's an exercise in taking stock and then considering: what's next..."