This is another post in my body empowerment series. See here . Sorry for the adrupt change from the Christmas season/ shopping posts, but sometimes you do have to talk about real issues.
I have been very open on this blog about my struggle with my weight and how I have been working to both grow in my body confidence at the place where I am, while also being more fit and a lower BMI. I know how contrary these goals can sound but I personally feel that I can do both and I think that there are a lot of women who are in the same place that I am in. I need to be proactive about my health, but I need to love who I am and a big part of that is the body I am in.
If you spend a lot of time reading about body confidence and fat acceptance, you’ll spend a lot of time reading about bikinis and fatkinis. In fact, somewhere along the way the marker of body acceptance became wearing a bikini in public, no matter what size you are. In a way, that makes sense. Is there any time you feel more exposed than at the beach? And the snow is still on the ground when Target starts showcasing bikinis in a reminder that soon we won’t be able to wrap our bodies in our warm fluffy cardigans. If you want to reclaim your body from what society finds acceptable, what better way to showcase your confidence and love of your body by wearing a bikini?
So, after months and months into this journey, I decided to embrace the bikini. I had worn one or two occasionally, but only with close girlfriends or in the dark. This time I was going to wear it on a cruise where my husband and a close male friend would see me. Plus, I have gained ten pounds in nursing school, so this would really be a way to prove my body acceptance!
See the problem?
Well you are smarter than me because I didn’t see the warning signs of the disaster that I was setting myself up for. I wore my bikini and it was… miserable. I hated the way I looked since it didn’t suit my style, I spent the whole day worried about burning my stomach area, and just felt generally uncomfortable. I was already struggling with the weight I had gained in nursing school and this made it feel more evident. I felt like a failure for gaining the weight. THEN when I realized how uncomfortable I was, I felt like even more of a failure because I still wasn’t close to being body confident. It was the usual spiral of being depressed and angry at myself for being such a terrible feminist that I can’t even wear a bikini.
The truth is, I don’t if I will ever be comfortable wearing a bikini because I am super paranoid about sunburns. And that’s ok. Trying to prove I have accepted my body because I am wearing a bikini is just as superficial as not wearing a bikini because society told me too. In the end, I was allowing the fat acceptance movement to tell me what body acceptance looked like. Let me clarify that I think this movement is very important and overall empowering and good. But whenever you (and by you, I mean me) allow someone, anyone, to define to you what you should wear or how to feel about your body, it’s not going to take you to good places.
So, my summary of this experience: I don’t like bikinis but I still need to work on how I express confidence in my body. And actually make it my own way of expressing my body confidence, not what is someone else’s way of expressing their confidence.