Ah yes, the seasons are changing, the sun is making her glorious appearance in the sky more often than not – and it’s time.
Time for me to dig in the back of my bottom dresser drawer for the bathing suits I have hoarded in the hopes that one day my body will be the right size for them – bikini body ready, if you will. I literally have every type of bathing suit you could think of – one shoulder one piece, v-neck one piece, halter top one piece, tankinis galore, a couple of bikini tops, and all sorts of bottoms.
It seems like I have been waiting for this “perfect bikini body” day my whole life. I look back at myself when I was in 8th grade, feeling self-conscious and wearing a one piece when the rest of my friends were rocking their bikinis. I think about the time in college when I came dressed in a bikini – under my tie dye tshirt & workout shorts (that I obviously kept on the entire outing) – for a fun river float. And then I think about the time I went to the beach pregnant, in awe of my body’s ability to keep me and another human inside of me alive, but still feeling self conscious and finding a “cute but sensible” one shoulder one piece bathing suit to, at the time, “make other people comfortable”.
Maybe it was the pandemic fatigue or just an “I don’t care what others think” attitude I picked up in my 30’s, but something came over me one night, and instead of just online window shopping my way through the bathing suit section of Target, I actually added bikini tops to my cart and pressed the purchase button. And then when they came in the mail, I threw away the return label so that I would fully commit to this vision I had for my body and how I would honor her this season.
Because how can I NOT celebrate her? This body – the stretch marks, the muffin top, the no-gap thighs – have been my dearest companions and my fiercest friends. This body has cared for me through a traumatic year of work, taken me on trips to countries across the globe, seated me at incredible restaurants with yummy carbs, and has offered a place for my daughter to “land” for snuggles. Don’t even get me started on how this body carried a little human for 9 months and made her and birthed her and cared for her through the many ups and downs of pregnancy and motherhood.
And what exactly am I waiting for? For my body to fit into a specific bikini I have imagined in my head? I’m all for being healthy, but when did I equate health (or happiness or worth) with how I looked in a bathing suit? Do I truly believe my body is only “perfect” in that state? Or could it be that she is perfect already – just as she is, just as she has always been?
I’m not sure where I learned that bikinis were only for thin people under 30, but I’m ready to unlearn that. Also, let’s not forget that the word “bikini” just means a style of swimsuit. According to Wikipedia, a bikini is “a women’s two-piece swimsuit featuring two triangles of fabric on top that cover the woman’s breasts, and two triangles of fabric on the bottom”, which is a SUPER unsexy way to describe a swimsuit. And let’s also remember that bodies come in all shapes and sizes too (and so do triangles). News flash: every body is a bikini body. So yes – you are going to “catch me outside” in my bikini anytime it’s warm out and where there is water nearby because y’all, it’s about time I did.