Yesterday I was choosing a bathing suit for an afternoon spent with J and our daughter at the waterpark. I picked up the tummy concealing bathing suit from last year and my eye fell on the very cute, very bright bikini someone gave me that I never fit in. It was too pretty to throw out and it just got lost in the drawer.
It's just me in my bedroom. I tried it on. It fit. Perfectly.After months of practice, hours spent sweating on a mat and run-walking miles I saw a difference. My focus has been to improve my fitness level, not to lose weight or tone up. I've lost less than a handful of pounds but have this athletic lean body as a result of my training. I was shocked.
Just one thing almost made me take it off: my stomach shows beyond a doubt that I've had kids. It looks like a tiger used my stomach as a scratching post. The skin is stretched out. The only way to fix that would require a knife and lots of money. I'm not going to do that. Just seems like I'd be a different person.
I started to take it off and thought of an article I saw on a mother's body image influencing the way her daughter sees herself. I thought of the pretty little girl I have downstairs proudly wearing her tie-dyed rainbow bikini she loves. I never want her to feel anything but love for the vehicle carrying her brilliant mind and allowing her to move through life.
I kept the bikini on.
J loved it but our daughter's reaction was worth it. Her eyes lit up, her jaw hit the floor. I asked what she thought. "I like it! You look great!" She had this big smile on her face as I asked her to throw on some clothes so we could head out. I heard her ask J in this hushed, proud voice: "Have you seen Momma?" I could hear the smile in his voice: "Yeah, I did."
I was nervous about going out in public in it. Then something occurred to me. The only people whose opinions mattered at the waterpark were the ones with me. They liked how I looked. I'm out to enjoy myself, to hell with what other people think.
I had a blast. There was moment when a young woman looked at me and I could see this look on her face. I recognized it because it had been on mine before. She was mentally comparing herself to me... and she didn't like how she looked.
I understood. Despite being absolutely gorgeous with an even bronze tan and this long, thick blonde hair she was comparing our sizes. It didn't matter how she looked, she was still going over her flaws. I did something I had never done before: I made eye contact and smiled.
She looked away but I saw her shoulders straighten. I bounced on.
We had a blast. Smelling like chlorine and worn out to the bone, we headed home talking about the next time.
I woke up this morning and saw a friend kicking herself on social media for not being absolutely perfect, for not meeting the fitness goals she had set for herself. I wanted to reach in the screen and hug her. Because she is perfect. Screw the numbers, screw what other people do or think.
I was listening to this and took the time to actually watch the video. I offer you this, a beautiful woman who does not look like a supermodel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=0GStp-Mzy_w&feature=endscreen