I read an article about a woman who created a swimwear line, based around her embarrassment of her birthing scars and stretch marks. I felt immediate anger and sadness. fully admit that I am not as comfortable with my body as I once was. Pregnancy and age have done some interesting things to this body of mine. However, I am not ashamed of my extra skin, lines or scar. I felt like her admission was deeply concerning. I fully support women (men) wearing what makes them comfortable. I understand wanting a swimsuit that is flattering, but not because you are ashamed of your body and most certainly not because you want to hide your body’s evidence of you creating life. I felt like it was a step backwards in self acceptance.
Now, this being said, I do my best to not post pictures of my body on social media. I personally feel that my body is God’s temple and is for my husband’s pleasure only. I do wear two pieces now. I do, however, try to cover up when taking pictures when I pose with my fish I catch. I received a startling awakening when I started fishing, there are some very gross people out there. I received some very inappropriate messages that I am sure all lady anglers get. I felt that I didn’t want to do anything to invite these messages. I wanted my body to not be the subject of their fantasy if I could help that in any way, I avoided it. While I understand this upsets some people who think I am perpetuating “rape culture,” I don’t see it that way. As a rape survivor, I get it. I am living with the undue guilt and working through that even 15 years later. I know that I could not have done anything to prevent it, but that thought still circles my brain. I could have been wrapped up in layers of layers of clothing (which I was because it was freezing outside) and I would still wonder what I could have done differently. I do think, that we should be respectful of our bodies. There is a time and place for the amount of clothing you wear. You are never “asking for it.” Ever. No, does mean no. Forcibly having sex with someone against their will is always wrong. You do not invite someone to rape you, but I do think you invite people to look at you with certain clothing or lack there of.
I realize this is a much larger topic to cover than what I will in this post. I feel more eyes or maybe it is just me being self conscious, when I wear a bikini versus a one piece. My body is by no means, something wonderful to look at, except to my husband. I am in better shape than I have ever been. When I got pregnant with Vivienne, I was only 3 months sober. I was terrified that I would not be healthy enough for her. My doctor encouraged me to eat. I had gone from not eating anything to eating everything. I laid in bed at night and wondered if I had gotten all 5 food groups! I wanted her to get everything she needed. She did, I gained 75 pounds in that 9 months. In the end, it was water weight,as I was gaining 7 pounds week. I was huge. That was the first and seemingly last time I would be truly hungry. I know this angers people. This is the other issue I have been bothered with.
I am skinny. I have always been skinny. Not fit, skinny. I was made fun of as a child for being so skinny. I had nicknames like “small fry.” I know, clever group. I have never been on a diet. I have also, never been strong, physically. This is something I want to change in my 30s. I am actively working towards being healthy and fit. This, to me, is the only thing we should care about when it comes to our bodies. I have been shamed in my adulthood, mainly by other women, for being too skinny. I had a lady at an old job tell me that “only dogs like bones.” I have been told I need to eat and that I wouldn’t be so cold if I had “more meat on my bones.” Nice. I see tons of ads for women with curves and songs about girls with bass. I have neither. I know I am not alone. I feel like there is a place for all of us. We have people who are attracted to us, as we are them. There is no best body.
I remember when America’s Next Top Model did a “short girl” episode and I was still too short for that. So, is short not pretty? I am too short, too skinny. Well, now I am skinny with a flabby mom belly. Awesome. It is super fun finding comfortable pants. I am pretty sure most women have that problem. My body is a work in progress, but it is beautiful always. I am proud of the fact that I am healthy now. I am proud of my scars that are evidence of the trauma that we went through to get our baby. My body tells a story. I am not ashamed of anything. That doesn’t mean I feel I have to show it to everyone or that you need to show yours.
I will say that I like wearing a two piece when it is going to be just us on the boat or when we are going somewhere with less people. If we are going to a pool party or a more crowded swimming area, I prefer a one piece. That is my own personal preference. I prefer more modesty in certain situations. I can’t prevent someone from having sexual thought about me, no matter what I am wearing, but I can try. My whole point is, we should never be ashamed of our body that God gave us. We should work to love the skin we are in, no matter how wrinkly my tummy is!
At 31 almost 2, I feel great! I am getting my body in great shape. I love exercising and being active. I love that I am managing my health naturally, with essential oils. I have more energy than I have, well, in maybe forever. I try to eat food that is good for my body. I drink tons of water and rarely soda. I feel my physical health is improving. I am tightening that baby tummy skin, slowly, but surely with good ole fashioned work and natural cream. I am loving this body I was given.
Yet, I think that as I approach 32, I am more aware of my body and the issues I have with it. It is difficult to see it change. We often watch the Real Housewives (I make him) and I think how sad it is to watch them go through surgery after surgery to get back a youth that can never be recaptured. Honestly, the most beautiful people are the most confident people. I think a true inner confidence comes from loving yourself, no matter what. It comes from embracing your body and your soul. I know, cliché, but it is true, that true beauty comes from your inside self. That beauty can’t be taken, even by rape, age or love lost.
I hope that we can perpetuate a loving, accepting culture, not concerned with weight, size or temporary appearance. I hope we can look more to the inner self. The only part of us that we get to keep forever, not the part that is buried in the ground. Use your body as a vessel, the way it was intended. Love it, take care of it, but don’t obsess over it. Wear what you want to wear with respect to the people around you. Respect yourself. Love yourself.
I thought about posting a picture of my imperfect body and actually took one in my swimsuit, but I just couldn’t. While I am proud of my body and love my body, I just don’t think the internet needs a picture of it. I want to stay true to the ideals I value. I don’t want to post a picture just to prove a point.