Monday, August 4, 2008

Two Tankinis and A Six Pack

In the weeks leading up to my vacation my mind was occupied by many thoughts.

Some of those thoughts were about packing for the week away.

Some of those thoughts were about making sure we had money to do all that we wanted to do while we were away.

Some of those thoughts were about making sure everything was taken care of before we left- turning off the water, stopping the mail, paying bills, etc.

Most of those thoughts were about the fact that I was going to have to squeeze my post two baby body into a bathing suit.


I had a few options for my bathing suit choices and all of them were packed into my GIANT suitcase. Two were tankinis- one from my honeymoon- and the other was a one piece that had never, and still has never, been worn.

I spent my week in some combination of the two tankinis and I was ok with it. I wasn't overly thrilled with my appearance in a bathing suit, but I wasn't holding back chunks either.

As strong as my legs may be, and as muscular as my quads are, I still loathe how large they are.

As much as I remind myself that my little "pouch" at my tummy is partially because I've carried two children inside my body, I still don't like that little bump there.

As grateful as I am for a fabulously hot orthopedic surgeon who fixed my shoulder as best as possible and made it so I could toss my son in the waves, I still don't care for my arm "waggle".

I sat on the beach and I tanned and I played in the waves and the sand. I sat in my navy blue tankinis and looked at other women, some skinny, some not so skinny, and I wondered what gave them the confidence or the comfort to squeeze themselves into their suits.

We came back from the beach the first day and my husband said to me, "I don't know why you were so worried about getting into a bathing suit. You're beautiful and your suit looks fine. Besides, did you SEE some of those women!??!"

He was sincere. He really meant that I was beautiful and I know that. I also know that I did look ok in my suit. And I also know that there were some women on that beach that were wearing suits that would not have been my first choice if I had their body types.

I'm not here to criticize them. I'm not here to judge them. They can wear whatever they want. What I am here to do is ask what is it about them that makes them more confident in their body and that says, "Wear that string bikini" ? I'm also here to ask, what is about me that says "Don't go for the bikini, you'll make a fool of yourself. Get the tankini, it's not the SAME navy blue as your other ones."?

I'm a pretty confident person. I have my moments of self doubt. I sometimes question my parenting choices and I wonder what people think about me or say about me occasionally. But I'm not self-conscious, for the most part, and most days I rock confidence old school style. I just don't know what it was about those women, those women who had stretch marks and tummy rolls, that was any different from me.

Part of me did consider a bikini. Not a string. Good lord, no. But something simple. Something cute and fun. Something that didn't scream "Mom Bathing Suit" but said "Hey, I'm still young and fun and sexy". I couldn't find anything sending out those messages.

I don't feel bad about my body. I grew and gave life to two children and I have the "scars" to prove it. I am an athlete. I exercise. I moisturize. I will never have Kate Moss's body, I don't really want it. I want something a bit more firm and toned. I don't think I need a six pack- well not one on my stomach- to get into a bikini. I don't know what I need to get over that proverbial hump that is keeping me from donning a somewhat revealing two piece swimsuit.

My thoughts have repeatedly gone to those women on the beach. Those women who didn't have the "perfect" bodies and who still had the courage to wear bikinis.

And then my thoughts go to me and what I need to do to get myself, my imperfectly perfect self, into a bikini by next year. The mental and the physical. And I know that I have the ability to do it and I will.

Maybe even before next Summer.

And maybe, just maybe, I'll only need half of that six pack (again, not the tummy one)to muster the courage or comfort to squeeze my post two baby body into a bikini and head back to the beach.


Kellie said...

I a not an athlete and am overweight. However, I will drag out my bathing suit and cover up and be one of the 'fat' people on the beach. But, what is my alternative? To send my husband and child out to have fun without me? That's what I would have done in the past, but not this year. This year I look how I look and it's not ideal, but I'm working on it. So, I don't think that those of us who look crappy in bathing suits are more confident.....we're just hoping nobody is looking!

Kate said...

I wonder the same thing. I think that yoga has helped me a little with my body acceptance, but I really admire people who can just put on a bathing suit and go. It makes me realize I did not fully appreciate my body when I was in my 20s!

HRD said...

Its not fair that we have these insecurities and men, most but not all, will just put on swim trunks, and go. They could care less. I on the other hand,wear my swim suit, with a bra, becuase the bathin suit does nothing for them, then I have to wear a shirt over top to hid the bra and I had found swim shorts to wear for bottoms. I hate it, but its the only way to get me on the beach.

melissa said...

this relate!! i wear a tankini top and my husbands bathing trunk bottoms...because i hate my body and what it's become since children. but...during the winter when i'm covered up...i'm so completely confident!!!
love this post!!

Helen E.M. Wright said...

I have found that no matter how you look there is always at least one person who looks worse.

Tankini's are quite forgiving though!

crazy working mom said...

I think that in general, most women have issues with our bodies. Even when I worked out 3 times a week at Curves and my body was in pretty decent shape, I was still ashamed to show off anything from stretch marks due to babies. Now here I am preggo again. I just don't think that I'll ever have any kind of confidence. But, actually I'm okay with that.

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