You may or may not know I turned 30 last week. I’ve slowly started to embrace that this isn’t a terrible thing, but rather, a time for me to be confident in who I finally am. (Or at the very least, start to get comfortable with the idea that the person I hear in my head and see in the mirror is pretty much who I am).
You may or may not have read in the past about my struggles with body issues. Growing up I was never thin, and while I also wasn’t really what you’d consider “overweight,” I was always on the thicker side. And in my eyes, being even slightly thick, meant I was fat. Whether it was all in my head or in my head because of media, society and marketing, I wore a bikini for three summers before forfeiting to my own body-shaming ways and wearing one pieces or tankinis.
Now, of course, nothing is wrong with one pieces and tankinis, however, the way I felt about my body and myself in ANY swimsuit WAS wrong.
I look back at photos of myself and wish I would have realized then how cute I was. And I don’t say that in a conceited way, I say it from the place of a 30-year-old mother who never wants her children to loathe themselves the way I did. When I was 14 and wore a bikini, I didn’t see the beginning of my figure forming or the ridiculously large bust size I’d recently “busted” out with (hardy har har), I saw stretch marks on my butt and breasts from growing too fast; and I saw too-wide hips that weren’t womanly, but boyish and ugly in my eyes.
I didn’t see cute freckles dotting my face, arms and legs (something people have always complimented me on my whole life), I saw ugly brown spots that formed splotches after being stuck in the sun for too long.
And before there was even a thigh gap to be gaped at, I hated the way my thighs touched, it didn’t matter that they were muscular or looked pretty in tights, I hated that they weren’t skinny.
So you see, part of me being 30 and embracing myself, largely includes me embracing my hips, my bust, thighs, freckles and all the other things I spent too many years hating and hiding.
So despite the fact that I’ve now got even MORE stretch marks on my hips and breasts, despite the fact that I’m a few pounds heavier than I was, despite the fact that I’ve got what Pearyn lovingly refers to as “my stripes” decorating my stomach, I wore a bikini again for the first time in 10 years last week. And I wore it confidently, damnit.
And guess what?
The world didn’t end. People didn’t point fingers and hush giggles, nope, none of that happened.
In fact, I’m pretty sure nobody even thought twice about me because most of the women there were busy worrying about their own bodies, the men were thinking about dunking each other and the kids were so engrossed in playing they wouldn’t have noticed if I entered the pool in a chicken suit.
And you know what? It felt great. It felt liberating. And it felt like for the first time in 10 years, I’ve started to see my body for what it is: a body. It’s not “fat” or “ugly” or “skinny” or “pretty,” it’s just me. It’s the same body that pitched tens of thousands of strikes over my lifetime, the same body that wore my wedding dress and married my husband, the same body that carried my children and the same body that has run countless 5Ks.
And even if I’m 30, even if I’ve got a few more marks and still don’t have that thigh gap, after years of loathing it I’m going to love it.
Because it’s MY body and I think it’s pretty fucking amazing.
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