To the Girl in the Blue Bathing Suit

At my son’s swimming lesson last week, we met his new swimming instructor, a teenage girl with blonde hair and long legs and a face that spelled uncertainty. 

Parents sit on chairs behind a glassed-in pool and watch the various lessons happening at the same time; most of the swim teachers are in the pool with the kids, but since P is in stoke development, his teachers spend most of the time pacing the pool, watching the kids from above and commenting on their stroke form after a length of the pool. 

P’s new instructor does not look entirely comfortable in her own skin and I just wanted to reach through the glass and give her a hug. I wanted to tell her: “you are beautiful, you are skinnier than you think you are, you are brave for choosing an after school job that requires a bathing suit uniform, for walking back and forth in front of all of these parents and all of the other teachers, most of whom are muscular teenage boys.”

And in a way, I was telling my own teenage self that I was enough, that I was always skinnier than I thought I was, and even if that wasn’t the truth, my body was the shape and size of the majority of American women, and that comparing myself to others would never be a good idea. I would tell my teenage self to wear that bathing suit, to wear those shorts, because a beach body is the body you live in.

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Friday Reads

Burger Queen, a rare interview and profile of In-N-Out’s mysterious and young CEO.

Let’s Keep it Real About Our Bodies is great insight into body acceptance by a professional runner, who walked the runway and then posted pictures to show the world what her body actually looks like.

Can we all just agree that Logan aged well? Veronica Mars pics to gets us through until March 14. (Let’s not get into why Veronica was with Piz at the end of Season 3, when clearly she still had feelings for Logan.)

Are you House of Cards binge watching? Claire Underwood is the character I love to hate. Feminism, Depravity, and Power in House of Cards takes a closer look at this ruthless character. (Spoilers!)

Cheap Words takes an indepth look at Amazon’s business model and whether it’s good for books.

Liberated

This is the last post about Hawaii, I promise. 

But I feel that this is a very important last post because: I wore a bikini and lived to tell about it. 

Seriously, this is a big important step in self-acceptance for me. It started last year when I decided to quit fighting with my naturally wavy hair and stop straightening it like I had for the past 15+ years. 

And this year, before going to Hawaii, I went to Target and spent $8 on a bikini without even trying it on. Future President was with me and I couldn’t be bothered to spend the time in a fitting room while he begged to look at cars and trains. So I bought it, convinced I would be returning it before the trip, but I tried it on at home and, well, I didn’t die while looking at myself in the mirror. 

I should have know that my husband would love it, but I didn’t. It’s hard to love a body that has stretch marks and a poochy stomach, which I still blame on pregnancy. But while I didn’t love it, I knew I could wear it, especially underneath the cute coverups I had bought on super discount from Old Navy. 

In addition to the bikini, I also packed two one-piece bathing suits but I didn’t wear either the entire time we were in Hawaii. 

L. is an amazing friend. She’s also in incredible shape. She encouraged me to wear the bikini and I did, right next to her, the woman with the flat stomach, the woman who runs half marathons. The 30s are the time to be liberated, she told me. The time to be liberated and to love yourself. L. is also very wise. 

So the next time I go to the beach, I’m wearing my bikini, taking off the coverup and getting a bikini-shaped tan. 

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