Exposed

Wearing a bathing suit in public is tough. I have never felt comfortable with myself in a bathing suit even when I weighed 110lbs soaking wet.

Truthfully, I would rather stand in front of you completely naked than while wearing a bathing suit.

This weekend as I stood in the wave pool with my kids, I watched everyone else walking about seemingly not self-concious in the least bit despite their cellulite and stomach folds and leg hair and I started to wonder:

What is wrong with me? Why can’t I just get over myself and take this dress off? Or at the very least, why can’t I be a better actress?Β 

I had on my long skirted swim suit with a tank dress cover up. My daughter was begging me to, “Take it off, mommy! Please, take it off…” She wanted me to look like the other moms around us.

To be honest, I felt terribly guilty. What am I demonstrating for my daughter? Body loathing? Am I teaching her to be ashamed of herself? Will I give her a complex? Are other people judging me?

But I just could not take off that coverup, even on the water slides, even in the deep water.

I simply could not do it.

I realized that I was not enjoying this experience because of all of the pressure I was feeling. That pressure was making me recount in my head all of the things I hated about myself. A never ending broken record.

I hate my thighs. I hate the extra bit around my middle after kids. I hate my shrinking boobs and my upper arms flapping. I hate my hair when it is wet. I hate my face without make up. I hate my big butt. I hate my teeth. I hate my smile. I hate my toes.Β 

Just as a forty something woman with amazing abs walked by with her seven year old twin boys, it occured to me that I really was terribly ugly. Not a bit of flab was on her and I hated that woman. I hated her because I hated myself. She was everything I wanted to be. I have run marathons. I have worked out like crazy, starved myself…. But I am fighting a losing battle against the genes. My genes. AND, I am a forty something mother. Why can’t I just accept and embrace this?

How do I learn to love this body of mine? Maybe I need a self help book. Or two. Or three. Maybe even a seminar?

The answer, I have come to realize, is that I won’t ever love myself. Spare me the platatudes about all of that. I will never love myself. Oh, maybe from time to time I will like how I look in something, at least until I see the pictures, but I will likely never reach a point where I truly love and accept my body. Having peace about that is a huge step for me.

I will never love myself and that is OK! Is that such a terribly wrong thing to say? Does it make you feel uncomfortable? Maybe I seem like a sell out of sorts?

Why do I have to love myself anyway?

Why do I have to wear a terribly revealing bathing suit and strut around like I belong in it just to prove something? Why can’t I just do what makes me feel comfortable without feeling judged by it? Can’t I teach my daughter how to protect herself emotionally, to stand up for what makes her feel good about her body, even if it does not fit the norm? Maybe that is a more important lesson here than “loving” yourself.

Loving yourself…

Does that even exist, anyway? Truly loving yourself?

I don’t think so.

I think it is a lie, just another way to make us feel inadequate about ourselves. Rather than having my daughter waste away years of her life worrying about how inadequate her inadequancies make her feel, maybe the best thing I can teach her is to just accept that it is normal to feel this way and to move on.

Acceptance IS a form of courage, isn’t it? Acceptance is maybe even a way to love yourself? Regardless, I am done with worrying about it.

I had a great time once I let go of the coverup angst. So did my kids, and that is what matters.

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173 thoughts on “Exposed

  1. I feel the same way, and I think it *is* a source of empowerment. I used to constantly compare myself and my body type with others, finding all the ways I came up short. Now? I *refuse* to compare. I recognize that mine is a body that doesn’t compete well, physically, against others. And so what?! I’m dropping out of the race!

    I no longer look at myself as a piece of meat to be sized up against others. I am far more than my body, and to me, it’s been liberating. That’s what I want to teach my daughter: that comparison and competition, when it comes to beauty, are the kiss of death.

    I will NEVER be the most beautiful woman on the planet. In some circles, I may be the ugliest one in the bunch. But I think of the lyrics of Ani DiFranco and I recognize their truth: “God help you if you are an ugly girl. / ‘Course too pretty is also your doom. / Because everyone harbors a secret hatred / for the prettiest girl in the room.”

    We all end up as decaying skin on yellowing bones anyway, right? (<–How's that for some macabre body positivity!)

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I think people rarely look the way they want to look. Society puts a lot of pressure on everyone to try to all look tall and thin and fair of face. Most people don’t, even when we are young we always seem to see someone who has a better look. It took me a long time to appreciate that I don’t have to be tall and thin, and I don’t have to look like I belong on a magazine cover. I really liked this entry because your conclusions are sound. You really just have to find a way to appreciate and enjoy who you are. That is how you love yourself and others will love you for being able to be the person that you are and being able to be happy with yourself. I think your kids probably just initially sensed your discomfort and sincerely wanted to make you relax and join the fun. As you said, once you did that, you all had fun. I am glad for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Exposed | evry2blog

  4. I felt like an arrow was thrust in my heart, right in the middle of it, as I go over your article ma’am. I’m twentyish yet I have the same dilemma. I never was (or will never be) confident in wearing a skimpy bikini for I have so many insecurities in my body. I’m too jealous with those women who can confidently flaunt their body without a single bit of shyness. I always asked myself why can’t I just be like them and forget all my body issues (dark spots, scars, bacne, and I don’t really look good when my hair is wet, too). But then, as you’ve mentioned, I should love myself by accepting my flaws, and wearing a bikini should not be a big deal. Wearing something comfortable is much better, right?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Your articles are refreshing! I like this one because in the end you loved yourself more than you could if you donned a bikini and grinned through it. Loving the part of you that wants to cover up for comfort is the most beautiful! Thank you for sharing and giving others permission to love themselves in ways different from what we are told.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I hated wearing swimsuits when I was a model. I hate wearing them now. I hate being judged on my looks and not my brains. I hate that being “empowered” supposedly means baring it all in a stupid ‘selfie.’ I guess that means that I’ll never be ’empowered,’ LMBAO!

    Also, notice that the only women being encouraged in ’empowerment’ are never smaller than an (American) C-cup!
    πŸ˜„

    Liked by 1 person

  7. You write: “Why can’t I just do what makes me feel comfortable without feeling judged by it?”

    This *is* love – self love.

    And: “Can’t I teach my daughter how to protect herself emotionally, to stand up for what makes her feel good about her body, even if it does not fit the norm?”

    This *is* love.

    Much love!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Everyone has body images. I have a friend who is the tiniest thing and in good shape, and even SHE has self consciousness. I think its just inherent human nature for a women to always want to look better. Honestly the only thing I was every self conscious about was fuzz lol

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I have the exact opposite problem … and no, I’m not talking eating disorder. I’m talking about Marfan’s syndrome. I just can’t bare the thought of my almost “Grim reaper” appearance strolling around the pool.

    I have to say though, if they ever figure out how to harvest us for what ever it is that causes us not to gain weight, I’ll be a rich man.

    Actually, speaking of … I spoke to a geneticist student recently and apparently according to her, your body don’t store fat until a certain age. From what I understand, in Marfan’s, the ‘switch’ to tell your body to start storing fat, never gets triggered. I don’t know how accurate this claim is however.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I wear one-piece bathing suits at the beach on occasion, but will not wear a bikini. One of the reasons is I love swimming, and I would hate for the bottoms to ride down, or even be bothered by these concerns. And yes, a lot of it is my own self-consciousness about my body. You have a very honest and unique perspective here. I doubt most women can love their bodies and love their selves the way the pop psychology tells us we are supposed to. And feeling bad because we don’t just causes more pain and is simply ridiculous. I try not to let my self consciousness to get in the way of me enjoying a dip in the ocean or pool, but it does take effort–lots of it. But once I am in the water, I always enjoy swimming so much, all of that is forgotten, at least until I get out again, exposed and dripping as I plod my way back to my towel. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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