Making Friends With my Bathing Suit
Oh, mercy! It seems summer shows up and, with it, that dreaded swimsuit season. We've always had a pool and, for years, I never swam when others were present. I used the normal excuses (busy making dinner, I don't feel like it since I can swim anytime) but none of them were true. I never wanted anyone to see me in a swimsuit because I had been so ashamed about how I looked. I want you to know, all of those excuses are finished. It's over. I'm swimming with everyone else!
There was a time, years ago, when I was swimming with my grandchildren and family. As I was 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. That gave me great pause. You see, I didn'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 many times and finally decided that I was done and finished with body-shaming. 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 the eyes of love. Isn't it far more important that I participate rather than sitting out or trying 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, whoever 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. I walked self-consciously out to join my grandkids at the pool and heard, "Gram! I love your suit!" Yep, that's me! I will never worry about playing in the water with my loves again!
Update: Our youngest kids asked us to go to Hawaii with them with only four weeks' notice. Are you kidding? There was no way I could lose 60 pounds that quick! People, we went and had the time of our lives! I snorkeled all over Kauai, I went out on a raft to explore the Napali Coast. I was never self-conscious in my suit because I was having fun! The pictures all reflect it! Don't miss an experience because you are overly critical of yourself. I never thought I would go to Hawaii fat but I did and I LIKED IT!
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.
Until next time...........