Folks, there is a lot going on in our world at large, wars, white supremacists, pre-wars, democracy that is crumbling faster than that sandcastle that you really thought was going to turn out well this time. But all pales in comparison to the story that I have to share today because I just can't keep it to myself any longer. Folks, the images and experiences I am about to share with you have been bubbling, bubbling, toiling, and troubling in my mind for weeks now. I can't keep it locked away anymore. Hold on to your hats because I'm going to share some earth-shattering news. Are you ready?
You don't look ready.
Seriously, you just have this vacant stare! Look ready!
I'm going to trust that you look ready now.
Good people of America (or wherever), I bought a bikini.
I KNOW. I am an overweight woman, and I (sniffs, someone hands me a tissue, thank you). Bought a bikini. After spending my teenage years hiding my shame in one pieces and those shifty "tankinis", I finally swallowed enough self loathing to live my life and buy a bikini (disclaimer, I really like my one pieces and tankinis).
It was a tough decision to spend money on something that might make me incredibly self conscious, but I did it in the name of I WILL DO WHAT I WANT. That's right, maybe you've noticed (maybe you haven't) but I'm not an international supermodel. I might not even be a "classically attractive" person. Thank God above that I have a winning personality. What was I saying? Right! Even though I don't look perfect, I bought a bikini. Please save your 4 hour long applause/ standing ovation. I don't want your hands to chafe.
Buying a bikini might not seem like much, it's my understanding that people do this all the time??? (sounds fake) This took guts people. This took bravery. This took months of getting out of bed and dragging my sleepy ass 500 feet across the street to the GYM. THE GYM. Filled with ATHLETES and FIT PEOPLE and occasionally A REALLY ACTIVE PROFESSOR.
So, for the first time for public consumption and to fuel my own need for constant attention and validation, I present to you the bikini I purchased:
Yes, thank you for asking, I actually am next in line to be the new Pillsbury Doughboy.
All joking aside, this image scares the Ramona and Beezus out of me. I don't see "curves" I see lumps, and rolls. Every part of my body that I like to keep tucked, smooshed, and sucked in have no where to go but out. As "empowering" as it supposedly is for people to stick it to beauty standards, those standards are as ingrained in my mind as the fact that the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell. I wish my first reaction could be "YES GIRL!!!" but it's more like ... well just look at my facial expression.
This issue is paltry. I understand that. It only scratches the surface of larger issues. But this was a huge step for me. I'm not going to wear this full ensemble any time soon. For now I have been sticking to my high wasted bikini bottoms (which are very cute, if you're every going bathing suit shopping and you are a person who might consider buying a bikini, invest in high wasted bottoms!!!!). I have worn part of this alleged bathing garment in public in front of people and various waterfowl. It was terrifying wearing what felt like underwear in public for the first time. Of course my palms were sweaty, of course my mind was racing like a NASCAR SYMBOL HERE, and of course all I could think about what that one line from Hairspray where Amber Von Tussel is like "you have to vote for a person, Corny, not one of the Himalayas". To be fair, it would be kind of incredible to be one of the Himalayas. Or maybe it would terrible because you would always be comparing yourself to Mt. Everest and you'd probably be really self conscious that you're like the dollar store version of the highest mountain on earth.
FOCUS! After a while, I did feel more and more comfortable with my body being physically present on Earth. As is both fortunately and unfortunately always the case, the strangers around me didn't stop and pay exclusive attention to me. I mean to be honest, it is always disappointing that the entire world doesn't shower me with praise every time I leave my house.
Despite the fact that the image of myself in my head and the person I am presenting in real life do not match, despite the fact that I am not ready to wear the full ensemble pictured above, and despite the fact that I still have to wear a rash guard most of the time because I have really sensitive shoulders, I am glad I bought this bikini. I really thought I was going to feel worse about myself after buying it, but I don't. I don't feel a massive surge in confidence, this isn't a Lifetime movie. I'm not going to sign up for Oberlin's naked run (now a Never Nude run, maybe). But I am getting closer to accepting that my body is just gonna do what it does. And if I can never fully accept that (stupid self esteem issues!), at least I can always blame my horrible genetics.