Jennifer Weiner ( Princeton alumna and a New York Times Best Seller – just to name drop a few) started a phenomenal trend called #weartheswimsuit which you can read about in depth here. http://www.today.com/series/love-your-body/jennifer-weiner-s-weartheswimsuit-movement-inspires-women-t100534. To which I say, WHHHHHAAAAAATTTTTTT? As in women won’t wear bathing suits because of what they weigh or their perceived flaws? Huh?
This is me (and our sweet Receo) in January of this year at 172 pounds. More than I weigh now. It was taken right before the super bowl game as I tried in vain to get some sun while the kids were napping. My husband took it (because the dog was being so clingy to me and I would like to think because I look amazing). I don’t mean that in a conceited way at all, but what I won’t say ever is Oh my Gawd No! How could you take a picture of me in a bikini?! Because you know what? I have been bigger. Much bigger. And wearing smaller bikinis.
We have two daughters – so my husband and I are in the business of raising women. Women who know they are strong and capable and should be proud of their minds and bodies. Though they look to him to see what a husband should treat his wife like, they look to me on how to inhabit their bodies. This is not a job I take lightly.
Yes, I have stretch marks across my belly. And on my hips and my thighs too. I had those before I had the girls. I added more when they came along. Then more still after they were born. I earned each one by growing into who I am. They tell a story of my journey from being a girl to becoming a woman and are no different than the contouring ridges of my fingerprints.
I stand at a place of deep reconciliation with my body. But I do not stand alone. There are countless others who have changed, again and again and are braver and more beautiful because of it. There is nothing “brave” about being in a swimsuit. We need to rise up and say that. There should be no shame in whatever number the needle lands on when you get on the scale although critics will tell you otherwise. To that I say there is so much more to me than my weight.
Always, always wear the swimsuit. Wear it in the pool when you are teaching the kids to swim. Wear the swimsuit when you want to get lost in the ocean. The sound of waves rolling in over your head in magnificent unison, while sand shifts and coral crackles with life are not to be missed because Target swim suits run small and make you feel bad. You won’t suck any worse at paddleboard because you had to buy a size 16 to accommodate your bust or your bottom or both (I speak from experience, I mean, hand eye coordination?! And your partner expecting you to volley that tiny ball back to him?! Every. Dang. Time? Relentless! Things need to stay put, not slide out).
Wear the swimsuit when your in-laws rent a two story waterslide and your kids are dying to see you fling yourself down it. Wear the swimsuit when you wash the car (but don’t try to go all Tawny Kitaen circa White Snake videos – because no matter what you weigh you might dent the hood). Just wear it. Wear it with a smile on your face and no apologies. Because, yes, there are people watching me in that swimsuit, in my case. Two little girls who look to me to figure out what is okay, what about them is loveable and what about them is beautiful. And that has precious little to do with a few pieces of fabric.