Oh, mercy! It seems summer shows up every year and, every year, I've dreaded swimsuit season. We've had a pool for years and, for years, I never swim when others are here. I use the normal excuses (busy making dinner, I don't feel like it since I can swim anytime) but none of them are true. I never want anyone to see me in a swimsuit because I've been so ashamed about how I look. I want you to know, all of those excuses are finished. It's over. I'm swimming with everyone else!
A couple of years ago, I was swimming with my grandchildren and family. As I am the largest in the group, I had a t-shirt on top of my suit. When I got in the water, my grandson asked why I still had my shirt on. My daughters, trying to alleviate my embarrassment, both jumped to explain that I felt more comfortable with a shirt over my suit. Both my grandchildren were completely perplexed by that. It's taken me two years to do something about it. You see, I don't want my grandchildren to grow up with body shaming issues.
I look back now on photos that are decades old, when I looked great in a bikini but was terribly uncomfortable even then, thinking that I didn't look good enough. Who decides we look good enough? When did I let society bully me into worrying about how others feel I look? I have thought about that conversation with my kids for two years and finally decided this year that I was done and finished. My grandchildren don't see me in a swimsuit, they see Gram having fun with them and playing games in the water. My husband doesn't see me in a swimsuit. He sees his crazy woman and my loving face with eyes looking back at him with wonder at our commitment and life together. My children see the mother that was always there for them and continues to love them exactly where they are today. My friends see the friend that laughs and cries with them. The people that matter the very most to me see me through eyes of love. Isn't it far more important that I participate rather than sit out or try to hide who I really am??? What kind of memories can I make when I shy away from activities with others?
Am I aging? Yes. Do I droop in places? Yes. Do I look good in a bikini? No. Am I willing to put in the effort to look good in that bikini? No. Honestly, I'm not. Above all, though, I am unwilling to allow anyone to make me feel less for not having a model-shaped body. I am not willing to give the example to my children and grandchildren that it's more important to sit out of life when you don't fit into the norm. For Pete's sake, who ever chose the norm and when was it ever fun to be part of it in the first place?
For now, I'm going to be that girl. The one who jumps in with a cannonball when I want to. The Gram that plays in the water in her suit. The best part of this is that I've already started. I walked self-consciously out to join my grandkids at the pool and heard, "Gram! I love your suit!" Yep, that's me! I hope it will be you too!
I will never be the smallest in a bathing suit. I will most likely be the largest in the crowd but I have learned to accept and appreciate my body for who I am today. It's brought me a long way. I am fortunate enough that every part of me works in perfect order. I am a child of the One who created the Universe and, if He thinks I'm special enough, what was I ever worried about in the first place? And so it is. I.AM.ENOUGH.