I, like every other bagel-addicted woman, have a complicated relationship with summertime. Or more specifically, the parts in which we prance around practically naked with nowhere to hide. Those moments especially suck.
But what’s even more anxiety-provoking than the actual swimsuit part is the slow build up to bikini season. The few months leading up to Memorial Day weekend can make even the healthiest woman feel off her game.
Suddenly it’s like no one wants to have an extra appetizer to share at dinner. We’re switching from grabbing drinks to grabbing juices.
And all we can talk about is which gym class torches the most calories. The pressure to look great in a bathing suit is reinforced from all facets of life.
But here’s a pressure that is noticeably absent: feeling great in your bikini. What happens when you don’t look like all the fit girls in the catalogs?
We spend too much time trying to emulate the bodies of these women, and not enough time working on our attitudes. We automatically assume that if we’re the toned-est, thinnest, leanest possible humans then our swimsuits will practically wear themselves.
The reality is though that no matter how amazing you look in your bikini, if you’re not feeling your best self, there’s no way you can be your best self.
Countless summers I’ve been the girl who quickly reaches for her towel the minute she steps out of the pool, or the girl who buys a trendy cover-up and doesn’t take it off all day.
Even while remaining modestly covered, I couldn’t fully enjoy myself because I still felt bad for not proudly wearing my swimsuit.
It wasn’t until a recent vacation with my mom, in which I felt completely uninhibited in my bikini, did I realize that hiding my body wasn’t helping my cause -- it was hurting it.
Regardless if you’re actually doing anything shady, when you behave like you have something to conceal (be it your body or a secret or whatever), you’re going to look wrong or guilty.
I always preferred to keep my shorts on because I thought people wouldn’t be able to tell that my thighs were three times the size as everyone else’s.
The only person buying into this foolishness is myself. In reality, I’m just zeroing in and letting everyone know that that I have big legs and feel less-than-stellar about it. No matter how much you try to obscure your true figure, people will be able to recognize the difference.
Attempting to disguise yourself only draws more attention to your body and sets you up for a “big reveal” later. Instead of learning to mask your figure, it’s way more beneficial to learn to feel confident with your figure.
And despite our perceived sizes, no one is looking away. On my vacation with my mom, I wore my bathing suits comfortably and without second thought. (It’s my mom. She’s definitely not judging me, and I was there to relax, not impress anyone.)
I didn’t do anything special to draw extra attention to myself, yet more women were complimenting my bikinis and more men were swimming my way in the ocean.
It was as if shredding my insecurity also shredded my stomach...Well, sort of, let’s not get too carried away.
I know it sounds trite and many people are probably rolling their eyes, thinking this preaching is an after-school special nonsense and complete B.S. And I’ve totally been there.
I’ve read these “feel good, look good”/ “it’s what’s on the inside that counts” articles and thought they were for insecure people who needed to tell themselves nice, hopeful things. But until you truly embrace these words and put them into practice, they’re going to seem like just that. Words.
After years of hiding behind spools of fabric, large bodies of water, and any other belly-eliminating contraptions (high-waisted pants work wonders), I’ve realized something: Feeling good about yourself will get you much further than simply looking the part.
Sure dressing for the role certainly helps, but loving that your physique has a little extra sum-sum gives your allure and swagger a little extra sum-sum.
Work to feel good. Whatever that means for you, if you’re a Kardashian or a Kate. I’m not saying we should all stuff our faces and then parade around preaching.
I’m saying that if you feel best even when you don’t look like everybody else, then you’ll stand out for the right reasons. Shining from within is just as important as radiating on the outside.
Photo Courtesy: We Heart It