Let me just preface this post by saying; my insecurities run deep; like Grand Canyon deep.
They were ingrained into me from the time I can first remember having my size 8 self compared to my size 0 sister in middle school… probably even before that. It always came from the people that you’d least expect that kind of criticism to come from but unfortunately it happened, and it continues from time to time still
to this day.
Getting to my Point…
Why is it that I can lay by a pool in my bathing suit and feel like such crap? I lay here people watching, (as I do everywhere), and silently applaud woman after woman for walking around the pool area, strutting her stuff in every single shape and form a woman should be. Bikinis and one pieces, tall and short, thin and thick. Everyone looks ah-mazing! And I don’t say this lightly, I embrace beauty in all forms and I cheer on every single one of them. They are all beautiful!
Why? Because they exude the confidence that we all should.
I think I missed that confidence gene. You know the one that says, “Who cares what other people think!?!” Well, my friends, I care. I’ve always cared. I can lay here thinking about how amazing these woman are. But as hard as I try I just can’t see it in myself.
Now listen friends, I don’t write this to try and get you to comment on my post and tell me the opposite of what I am feeling. I don’t write it to try and boost my own confidence. I know my flaws, I get reminded of them every time I see certain people. On my occasions I do my best to embrace those flaws when I’m feeling empowered… but more often than not, my anxieties get the best of me and I find myself sinking into a pit of despair, clinging to them like some kind of partially deflated life raft.
Maybe these other woman care what others think? Maybe they don’t?
But they shouldn’t! So WHY the holy hell should I? I lay in the shade and use my shirt to cover my belly. I question my swimsuit choice. I lay here worried about what others think of me. I worry about every stretch mark, every bump of cellulite, and every inch of skin that I deem too large or different to be seen by others. Why is that? What switch in my brain do I need to switch to help myself get over that?
I remember a couple years ago, I was on a cruise in Mexico with Zach and Zoie. We were having a blast playing in the pools and water park on the ship and running around and splashing in the ocean on the beaches. I wore a two piece suit in public for the first time in…??? Let’s just say Forrreeevvvveeerr. That is when I saw them. Those young girls with their perfect little bodies. The ones you know have never given birth to a monstrous sized baby, let alone passed the age of 25… I saw their looks when I bent over to pick up Zoie. I saw them stare. It was hard to miss. I even did a double check to be sure I wasn’t ‘falling out’, (cause if you’ve worn a bikini then you know it’s always a possibility). To be completely honest, I don’t know for sure what they were looking at?. But my mind went right to my flaws.
I shouldn’t have done it, but I let them get to me too. I know my stomach is riddled with stretch marks and extra skin. I see it every time I look in the mirror. Every. Single. Time. I gave birth to a nine and a half pound baby, it was bound to happen. I told myself it didn’t matter what they thought. As hard as I tried to let it on and go back to having fun with my sweet girl and my husband, (who’s opinion is the ONLY one that matters), It wasn’t enough to calm the anxiety that flooded my heart. I couldn’t let it go.
I let it get to me and went back to reading my book in my lounge chair… covered up.
Do you know what I let those girls do to me that day? I let them break me. I let them take that little piece of confidence I was trying to show Zoie and I let them steal it away from me.
I. Let. Them.
Why? People tell me all the time that no one can make you feel anything without you giving them the permission to do so; and I gave it to them. Without even questioning it, I let them steal my fun. I let them steal my daughters fun with her mom.
Zoie doesn’t care what I look like.
She cared that we were having fun and I up and quit that.
I let her think that my book was more important that playing with her.
You know what though?!?
I don’t want to be that mom. The mom that feels like she has to hide her body in public. The one that sits in front of the mirror crying because she doesn’t fit the idea of what society (or judgemental young girls) believe a woman should look like. I won’t be the mom that hides under a towel at the beach. I want to teach Zoie better than that. I want to be the mom that plays with her daughter in the sand and the sun without a care in the world. I want to be the mom that teaches Zoie that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes.
Here is My Promise
I promise to work harder to push past and ignore those negative feelings and anxieties.
I promise to play in the sand on the beach.
I promise to go to the pool.
I promise to show Zoie what a real woman looks like.
I promise to look past what I see as my own faults so I can be the best role model I can be for my daughter.
I guess all I’m trying to say is; you don’t have to have a perfect stomach to wear a bikini.
You don’t have to cover yourself up and hide from the fun your family is having at the beach.
You are beautiful just the way that you are!
I am beautiful just the way I am!
What others think or feel or say about me DOESN’T MATTER!
If I can get past this with all my deep seeded insecurities; you can too!
Join me! Do it for our daughters!