June 21, 2006
Summer has officially arrived, which means that it's officially swimsuit season.
If I had a nickel for every time a plus-size woman chose to sit on a chaise rather than take a dip in the pool, chose to sit on the beach rather than splash in the ocean, or chose to stay indoors rather than snorkel, I'd be a wealthy woman. Sadly, the prospect of donning a swimsuit keeps far too many of us from enjoying all that summer has to offer.
It all boils down to our own self-judgment and the fear that others will judge us if we show up in a swimsuit and fully participate in summer.
The roots of our self-judgment lie in the tapes we play in our mind. Those tapes might come from comparing our bodies to those we see strutting on red carpets or in fashion magazine layouts. They may come from the insidious messages that Madison Avenue promotes - the ones that tell us that we simply don't measure up. They may come from put-downs made by family members or so-called friends. Whatever the genesis of the tapes, though, it's time to hit the rewind button. It's time to nurture self-acceptance and self-love through creating new messages. Take some time to think about all of the wonderful things about your body. Start small if you must.... Maybe you have a great smile, or your hair is full and shiny. But move beyond that, until you can appreciate your body's strength and it's curvaceous beauty. Once you do, you'll realize that wearing a swimsuit is something you and your body deserve.
As for the judgments of others, well, they very well may see us in swimsuits and think or say negative things. The truth is, though, that their judgments say a whole lot about whom they are as human beings, and say nothing at all about who we are. If we are strong in our belief that our bodies are strong and beautiful, the judgments of others won't affect us.
As for swimsuits, we've never had so many choices in styles and colors. Take the plunge and find one that makes you feel comfortable and attractive. Maybe you're not ready for a tankini - that's okay. A swimsuit with a flounce skirt or a tank suit with a pareo is absolutely fine. The only criteria you need to be concerned with is that you choose a swimsuit that you will wear.
After that, it's only a matter of taking action. I had a friend whose favorite saying was, "Be scared, and do it anyway." Going out in your swimsuit the first time may be very scary. But I'll bet a nickel you'll survive.... And that it'll be a little less scary your next time out. By the end of the summer, your inner mermaid will definitely be making a splash!