At the end of my post about our anniversary trip to Siesta Key, I said something about writing about living in a bikini for a few days and what it taught me. I said I’d write about it if I was brave enough.
Well, I decided I wasn’t then. But I guess I am now. Maybe?
Yes. Yes I am. Deep breath. Girl talk time.
>>>To start: this seems slightly off-topic, but I promise it’s not. It’s good time to interject that I read Brene Brown‘s Daring Greatly, a book about vulnerability and leadership and living wholeheartedly, late last fall. I loved it and swore she was stealing thoughts from my head several times. It’s very well-written, and totally thought-provoking, so you don’t just breeze through it, and it messed me up in a really good way. And perhaps gave me the confidence to write things like I am today. Truly a perspective-changing book if ever I’ve read one. If you haven’t heard her speak, I highly recommend starting with her TEDx talk, followed by her TED talk, followed by the book.<<<
So. At 37, it’s just time to get over some of these insecurities I’ve had for years. I’m not that young anymore, but I’m in the best shape of my entire life, so I’m declaring that 2015 is the year I let go of some of these stupid, warped-by-society issues I’m still carrying around primarily from my teenage years.
Especially because the things I don’t love and nitpick? They’re not even things that I can change. I mean, via surgical means, lots of things are possible, I guess, but I’m not going to those lengths :).
I’ve even blogged about both of my main hangups in the past: stretch marks and body shape. One stretch mark comes with a funny story. Here’s an edited excerpt from 2008:
I got stretch marks that were not run-of-the-mill when I was pregnant with Luke…The main one to which I’m referring is on my side, and it wasn’t all that noticeable until after he was born. When Luke was about 3 months old, I was putting his car seat in our car, and my shirt lifted at my waist a bit. Matt gasped audibly, and asked, “What happened to your side?” He apparently hadn’t noticed until then my gigantic, red stretch mark that was like 1/2 an inch wide and 2 inches long. I glared back and said, “Uh, I had your baby.” Priceless look on his face…like I’d somehow been stabbed without him knowing it or something.
My other issue is that despite two years of working out, eating healthy, losing 30 pounds, etc., and major changes to my body, my body shape remains the same. As in, I carry my weight in my lower body…I may be a few sizes smaller, but I’m still a curvy few-sizes-smaller. And my sweet friend Heather, who’s a trainer as well as just smart and full of good sense, has talked me off the ledge several times with a simple reminder: this is how God made you. And that’s more than ok. And, you really can’t change this anyway, so tone it up as best you can and deal with it.
All of that brings me to the beach trip. I bought a small-ish bikini; with no one I knew besides my husband, who was unshockingly a fan of this decision, AND no offspring on this trip with us – oh my gosh, they would be so embarrassed to know that their mom even owned, let alone wore, this in public – I felt confident enough to do this.
Until that moment at the beach when I first took off my cover-up…momentary panic. What was I even thinking back in Missouri when I made this decision?
And then? This overwhelming feeling of WHO IN THE WORLD GIVES A RIP ABOUT THIS? I am on an amazing trip to one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen, and I’m going to worry about my imperfect, non-airbrushed, yet totally healthy and capable body? That’s just crazy talk. I literally decided in those first moments on the sand that I was done thinking about that…and I was for the rest of the trip. Totally at peace.
The thing about insecurities, though, is that they have a tendency to creep back up on you eventually…hence waiting a couple of months to actually write this out. Work in progress, people.
I wore that bikini 3 of the 4 days we spent on the beach (one day, my never-sees-the-sun-stomach needed a break from the rays or I would still be peeling). I walked miles of shoreline and laid for hours in a chair reading or sleeping in that suit. And it was incredibly freeing to be rid of all of those gremlins, as Brene calls them.
Also, all of this makes me think: I love and am gifted at being on vacation, and I want to go back as I sit in the frigid Midwest right now.
A couple of friends of mine and I have claimed 2015 as our year. We have big dreams and big goals and we’re going to make them happen. I’m not ready to write about what it all means just yet; it will likely come out in bits and pieces as the year goes on and as I actually know something.
I know I’m not the only girl (yep. Still going with girl instead of woman) carrying around nonsense like what I wrote about today. Maybe it’s time for you to be ok with something you’ve long disliked about your body, too? Join me. Be brave.