I have a favorite blog I follow called Brittany Herself. I started reading it because the girl is hella funny and I connect to her as a mother, a wife and curvy girl.
Like me, Brittany has gone through some weightloss transformations. She went from a 24 (I think) to a 14-16-18 depending on the brand and stretch, became a model, spokesperson for Land’s End and now is an online celebrity in her own right. Something she’s done time after time is to take her beautiful, curvy body, puts a bathing suit on it and she goes public- at a TED Talk, in Times Square and, most recently, she bikini’d up on her own blog. Whenever Brittany shows her lovely figure I squee and swoon with delight and envy. I love that she stuffs her fear and anxiety away to show the world something they have shuttered away for decades (the curvy, post- childbirth body of a mother).
If you know me well, you know that I am an open book. Ask me a question and I will answer it as honestly as possible. I have strong opinions about bodies, exercise, parenting, sexuality, education, socialization, vegetarianism, environmentalism, religion, politics… My body, after having two kids and accepting husband, is not a temple of privacy. I don’t really care what you see, I just cover it up because society dictates to do so. Truth be told, I’m a bit of a backyard nudist! Ha!
Which brings me to my point…
I hide a lot of my bikini pics from my blog- even though I ALWAYS actually wear one as a bathing suit in private and public! I’ll throw a ‘from the rear’ shot online every once in a while, or a link to a picture to protect the public from my saggy tummy and jiggly thighs without the opportunity to prepare their eyes first, but I don’t care. I realize I’m losing weight, so technically, in my brain, I should have less to ‘worry’ about, as a bigger girl stepping out in skimpy clothes. My problems in a bikini are the sagginess. My belly droops, has curdles, jiggles, shakes AND IT ALWAYS WILL NO MATTER HOW MUCH WEIGHT I LOSE OR HOW MANY CRUNCHES I DO! So, should I never ever wear a bikini? I think not! Swimming in bikinis feels better, you get sun all over, water all over and there’s less drippings from wet bathing suits on the floor from having less fabric. I found this really fabulous picture of a woman online who went from my starting size to a typical bikini size and didnt get surgery. She looks amazing and I hope to be similar…
(If this is a picture of you and you don’t want it on my blog, don’t hesitate to ask me to remove it!!! I can’t remember where I found this inspiring picture!)
The more I think about it, my wearing a bikini is one of the most political things that I can do. Putting on my bikini during my Oregon vacation was liberating. Scary, exciting and liberating. Putting on a bikini on a public beach invites people to… Well… See me. Judge me. As a fat girl, my size has always been one of the first things that allows people to form opinions about me so I feel incredibly vulnerable stripping down and allowing so much outside visual contact with my wobbly bits.
For the most part, though, everything went remarkably well. I’m sure people noticed me. I know some did, (people would slowly gather around while I splashed in the Pacific, then would disperse once I got dressed, with remarkable consistency) but only one person actually had the gall to snap a picture of me (super obviously, btw. What an ass).
(This is the woman who snapped one. Fair is fair so I took one of her and she acted like she didn’t see me all of the sudden.)
Initially, I hated to think of how she would share that picture with her friends, pointing out the fat chick in the bikini at the beach. But the other part of me had a sense of pride that I stood there, in all of my 230 pounds, I bent over and dug in the sand, in my bikini, at 230 pounds, body surfing, in a bikini at 230 pounds, even turning cartwheels. In a bikini. At 230 pounds. I allowed people to look at me and see what a normal woman actually looks like. So even if that picture taking woman shares my picture with her friends, even if they laugh at and mock me, it will still be one more opportunity to see and acclimate to the diversity of what a woman’s body can look like.
I’m hoping that, like Brittany, I can be a pioneer for body acceptance too. I don’t need to go on the Today Show or strip down on stage in front of 100’s of people, but I can be an anonymous presence on the beach who, through exposure, helps to propel the body acceptance movement forward. Cheers!
I find it incredibly ironic, btw, that obesity is a huge epidemic in our country and we still are less than flexible with how much skin we allow people to see.