Uncovered

Mission ruins, San Antonio

“Mommy!” my daughter gasped urgently. “Look, she’s a mermaid…” There was reverence and surprise in her voice. 

Imagine meeting a mermaid here!

“Yes, she is…. now, shhhhhh,” I responded.

I held my breath waiting for my little girl with no filter to say something about the woman’s size. She was probably close to 400 pounds and she was wearing a two piece bright purple and turquoise mermaid swim suit like it was the most natural thing in the world.

Mercifully my daughter said nothing more. Instead she snuggled up against me wrapped in her towels and fell asleep, smiling. I am grateful that she and the towels completely cover up my thighs.

I found myself very jealous of that woman. If I could have even half of that confidence, I could… 

But then, I remembered, what I saw was probably only just the tip of the iceberg so to speak. What kind of ugly things had been uttered by people under their breath as she walked by? Was she really, truly confident or was her swim suit an act of defiance, a f**k you to the world wrapped up in flashy purple and turquoise lame fabric? I would never know the reality of what lies beneath.

In contrast to the mermaid, there was a woman who must have been a size 4 standing in the wave pool with a voluminous hot pink coverup who looked so incredibly self conscious and miserable. I felt and understood her pain. She hid her body but did not succeed in hiding her discomfort. 

“Nothing makes a woman more beautiful than the belief she is beautiful.” —Sophia Loren

I looked around me at the hundreds of other men and women, bodies of all shapes and sizes and the swimsuits of all sorts, each one an act of courage. Bacne, surgical scars, stretch marks, cellulite, fat rolls, belly bulges, love handles, etc. all exposed. 

My body is a blessing.

“You are the best looking woman out here,” he whispers in my ear as I take off my cover up. I’m not. The mermaid is, but I love that he can make me feel like he believes it is the truth. 

So I decide to walk around like I am, like I really do believe I am beautiful in my deep cobalt blue velvet one piece swimsuit. I don’t like my body but that is OK. I am not this body. I am not this swimsuit. 

I am beautiful.

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107 thoughts on “Uncovered

  1. That reminds me of the last time I went swimming. A group of teenage or early 20s girls walked by, one pointed at me and said, “That’s why some people shouldn’t wear bathing suits.” They all laughed and walked on. I was already self-conceous, this was awful. That was 4 years ago, and I’ve never been swimming since.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am so sorry. If my daughter ever does anything like that, she will be grounded for life. We have the right to wear whatever makes us feel comfortable. A coverup over our size four body or a bikini mermaid suit over our larger one.

      Liked by 2 people

      • There are no amount of words to express how much that pisses me off. A younger me might have shrunk away hearing so words, but as I get older, I may have had to put that selfish disrespectful teenager and her gaggle of chicken-headed friends in their place. They will have to find out the hard way, that eventually one has to get a personality in order to have true value in this world. I’m so sorry that happened to you. Fuck them. Karma will have an answer for their ignorance.

        Liked by 3 people

    • Sad to think that those girls were trapped in a very narrow value system. Their schools failed to teach them how great art portrays women, and men, from the inside out. Or if that lesson came through, it needed to be reinforced regularly . . . But how? It seems that so much in our popular culture drags us down. I wish I knew how artists and poets– the Sophia Laurens of everyday life– maintain their perspective. I’d teach that to my teenage granddaughter, though she seems to be learning some of it already through limiting medical issues and the wise guidance of a strong mother who overcame setbacks of her own.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I certainly “get” what you mean about body confidence. Even though I am smaller these days (Size 6 USA), I still don’t think of myself as beautiful or even pretty even though random people have said that I am “beautiful” and my sweetheart beams when his friends say that I am. As I continue to lose weight for my upcoming marathon (will end up around 125lbs at 5’8″), I am seeing the contours of my muscles made strong and more defined by distance running. I just keep racking up the mileage and seeing where I will end up.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I am almost 20 pounds lighter now than I was this time last year. It just does not get better, liking ones body. Still, that swim suit had been sitting a drawer for four years so it was cool to actually be able to get it on. πŸ™‚

      Like

  3. Cobalt blue velvet swimsuit – that sounds amazing! Isn’t body image a funny thing? I don’t think I have dared put on a bathing costume in nearly 20 years. Yet, I am at my happiest when nude. I’ll never understand it. We humans are funny creatures πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Good for you Victo! Over the years, for me, body image concerns changed to choosing clothes that flatter an aging body. Important to exercise and maintain strength & balance. Love your daughter’s “mermaid”‘perspective, and your comfort with a beautiful body! πŸŽΆπŸ’› Christine

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I find body image issues really heavy on my heart. I have the lowest of low self esteems. Though I am a small size, I can barely stand looking at myself. It is a constant grind. My friends who are heavier than I am sing praises and admire my body at times when I can’t do the same. It makes me feel like a cheat. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You are absolutely beautiful, Jessica Chastain lookalike! Wasn’t it wonderful that your daughter looked beyond our social norms and saw a mermaid? I always wondered why early sailors mistook manatees for mermaids. 😁 In Egypt, men positively lust over a well upholstered body and belly dancers are not slim.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Such an innocent awe inspiring. comment by your daughter.
    Children are not born saying horrid things. They hear
    and learn from their teachers.

    For me, I solved the swimsuit issue awhile ago
    while web searching.. I bought a few one piece
    swimsuit dresses. No these are not the old lady
    swim dresses. They come mid thigh, a flattering
    cut for me. The tops are beautifully shaped.
    Mine came from the swim dresses

    http://www.SwimOutlet.com

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Interesting conversation about body image. I am at the age where I want to accept myself and my wrinkly skin that goes naturally with being eighty. Still I like best the parts of me that have looked pretty much the same over the years. My ankles and feet are fine.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. The fashion and beauty industries do that to you guys. Cosmo. All that crap. They’re predatory. They make you hate yourselves because you don’t measure up. There’s a lot of money to be made in promoting a woman’s self-loathing. A *lot* of money.

    I like how you can’t bring yourself to type out the f* word. So demure.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Great post and so true for many of us. I think that especially as mums we miss out on a lot with our kids because we are self conscious (I am no exception). Lets love ourselves, lets get off the sidelines and enjoy life. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Good on you for taking off that cover-up. I’ll never like my body, but I’ve gotten to the point where I say “eff it” (if I’m not in direct sunlight anyway) and walk around in just the bathing suit. At my weight, I can only imagine the comments some people must make, but whatever.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Bravo Doc. I have so much to say about all this. I have typed in three different responses to this and then thought….no… I will just say well done! My next blog posts are going to be on this very topic.
    Thanks for speaking out…..
    Love,
    Your friend: Tons of fun!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I was intrigued by the photo as soon as I saw it. Then I wondered what it had to do with a mermaid. Loving the last lines, “I am not this body. I am not this swimsuit,” I imagined looking up from the depths of our souls, from who we really are. Beautiful post!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Yes, Victo, you go for it! I love this post, and myself am dealing with some issues being in public without a shirt on due to my recent surgery and weight loss. You are beautiful and so am I – I just need to keep reminding myself. Thanks for an uplifting wonderful post to start my day. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  15. What a lovely thing for her to say! A mean person would have compared that woman to something large and unattractive, but your daughter saw her as a mermaid. There’s something beautifully heartwarming about that. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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