Maybe it’s too late to have this conversation, but I want to talk about swimsuits.
Swimsuit. What a word. I mean, it is practically synonymous with self-hatred talks to the mirror and the emotion of shame itself. Good grief.
Every summer, we try on the old one or drag ourselves out to find a new one. And it’s never fun. We are always miserable.
If the mirror tells us bad things, we dutifully renew the gym membership, even change our diets. And that’s not a bad thing. We probably should’ve done that anyway.
But it usually doesn’t help because it takes literally all the courage we have to suck in our guts, slip on the flip-flops with heels, you know, for a little extra length to our silhouette and actually walk into that pool.
This year, I wondered Why. Why do we do this to ourselves?
I mean, we are torturing our bodies and minds but for what? So we can walk around in essentially spandex undergarments, comparing ourselves to everyone else we see, not enjoying ourselves at all?
I believe it was Eleanor Roosevelt who inspired all of us to “do one thing every day that scares you”. I’m just curious why we waste our brave act on a swimsuit.
In the past two years, I watched my body boomerang and balloon, growing a full belly with a baby inside, and then a shrinking belly with skin that didn’t know quite where to go.
I went from regular to large to regular-ish again, and in all of this changing, I realized what my body is really for. My body is for loving.
So if that’s true, what are we doing to ourselves every year, hitting the gym, changing diets, having hate talks to the mirror, starting some time during spring and ending some time by when we can hide out in sweaters again?
I mean, would you be friends with someone who talked to you the way you talked to you? Probably not. But I digress.
I don’t have the cure for all our self-hatred or shame. I mean, that is a much longer conversation. But I just think we don’t need to play by the arbitrary rules media writes.
Our culture says, “Prove how brave you are and how much you love your body by wearing practically no clothes.” And I’m like, “Why? Do we know each other?”
Cause last time I checked, being mostly or all the way naked was for intimacy and trust, not a peep show for random strangers who I’ve never met. So what am I trying to prove in this publicly-worn spandex underwear anyway?
I say, I can be brave a million other ways. I can be brave in ways that move the world forward. I can be brave and love myself on my terms, not the terms of judgy strangers.
Don’t get me wrong. I love when people love their bodies. And I want us all to use our courage. But I say, dont waste it on a swimsuit. Use your courage to apologize to your spouse or your best friend. Use your courage to apply for that job you think you’re not qualified for. Use your courage to take that medical missions trip you’ve always known you should take.
But don’t waste your perfectly good courage on a swimsuit. Wear the cover up or the jean shorts or the one piece or whatever. It’s all good. I will be right with you. Cause I’m using my courage to be a better mom. And that’s taking pretty much all of it.
What will you do with all the extra courage you have? I can’t wait to find out.