There was a summer during my teen years when I routinely sat around my aunt’s pool in baggy sweaters and baggy stretch pants insisting that I was “fine.” I’m from New England where the temperatures vary, but summer is still fairly hot so I doubt I was actually “fine.” I vividly remember one ensemble being a combination of a hot pink long sleeved sweater and yellow pants. Yikes! I obviously refused to get in a bathing suit that summer. I have been self-conscious about my body for as long as I can remember. Bathing suits have been the absolute bane of my existence for many years.
Junior high swimming was anxiety provoking. Thank goodness for makeup sharing induced pink eye or rather spraying the hair spray a little too close to my eye about 10 minutes before swim class so I could go to the school nurse and feign pink eye. Worked like a charm as did menstrual cramps, headaches and oops I forgot my bathing suit. In order to makeup the swim classes I missed all I had to do was swim 20 laps after school. The swim instructor allowed me to keep a T-shirt on over my bathing suit and there was no one there anyway besides the swim team who paid no mind to the random two or three people making up missed swim classes. Twenty laps was no trouble. I actually love to swim. I simply hated getting in the pool during swim class with all of my peers, boys and girls.
I was quite a good swimmer though. Twice the swim coach approached me about joining the swim team and twice I replied sure despite having no intentions of joining. In retrospect I regret that decision to this day. That is the one and only thing I would change if I had a do over because I believe it would have inadvertently altered the course of so many other events in my teenage life.
I’ve never been comfortable in a bathing suit. I have a quintessential pear shaped body so exposing my legs is nothing if not embarrassing. Only recently with the advent of the skirt tankini have I been able to feel even remotely comfortable on the beach or at a swimming pool. I initially felt a bit elderly, but then I found a couple of cuter styles of skirt tankinis. A flattering bathing suit for my figure and continued positive changes to my body have given me the confidence to wear a bathing suit when the need arises though I still keep my cover up or sun dress on as long as possible.
This past weekend I was in Florida with Carlos visiting my Dad and his girlfriend. It was a quick three night trip and it involved being in a bathing suit 90% of the time. We swam at his condo pool, the beach and on Saturday we spent the day at a water park. Initially at the water park I kept my cover up on, but quickly realized that it would simply be a nuisance because there were too many fun rides so I relegated all my belongings including the cover up and my flip flops to a locker. I walked around a water park for nearly 7 hours with nothing but my bathing suit on. You know what…I felt absolutely fantastic.
OK I didn’t exactly feel like I could grace the pages of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. I simply felt normal. I felt comfortable for the first time in nothing but a bathing suit, albeit a skirt tankini. I didn’t think about my weight, or how my body looked in the bathing suit. I was comfortable in my own skin. I wanted to shout how good I felt or at least share it with someone. I didn’t do either. I just kept reveling in my head how worth it this journey has been. I’m so glad that despite my ups and downs with my weight I have never fully given up. I am grateful that I persisted and found a way to make fitness a priority in my life. I am proud of myself for continuing to learn more about nutrition, try new ways of eating and delve into the reasons why I’ve been overweight for so long.
After having my son I knew that I didn’t want to watch my him grow up while sitting on the sidelines of life. I wanted to be right there in the thick of it, running, playing, experiencing life with my family. I vowed that my weight issues would never inhibit my son’s life. Saturday was a really significant day for me. It was the first time I had ever been to a water park with my son. I rode every water slide, jumped in the pools, lounged on a tube while floating down the lazy river and sat at a picnic table for lunch in nothing but my bathing suit.
What kind of bathing suit do you wear? Are you comfortable in it?