This photo never had intentions of getting on the internet. It was a quick photo response to my traveling husband's text, "What are you doing?" And the photo was my reply as I inhaled nail polish remover fumes from my eldest whilst attempting to relax in the backyard. So, how did it get here you may ask...
Well, it got here because I got over it, with the help of my kids. I was browsing the clearance racks at Target and this cute bikini was only $12. I loved the top, looked at it, sighed and put it back. My daughter asked, "Why'd you do that? Why'd you put it back, I like it." I couldn't tell her the truth that I, like most women my age, have some major body issues, especially after having children, despite the fact I tell her numerous times a day that it doesn't matter the size, but the prize is your heart and your mind. I say it and I desperately try to believe my own words, I really and truly do. Instead, I just said, "Oh, I have plenty of bathing suits, I don't need another one," hoping that slightly dishonest answer would suffice. Not quite, "Well, you do but you don't have any bikinis, Mum. I know you used to wear them but now you don't. Why?" Ugh, these kids sometimes, "Well, I don't know. I have marks on my tummy and I just like one pieces better." She gave me a look silently saying that she knew I was full of malarky, "Well, who cares about those marks. I think you're beautiful, Mum. And, we all know Daddy does," imagine an eye roll here to emphasize her disgust at her parents actually liking each other. Ew! At that point, how could I not buy the suit? I could not tell her that her words, the exact words I've said to her, were meaningless or held no value to my heart. I could not. Doing so would send messages that I could not erase or alter. I half heartedly put it in the cart and thought that was done for. But, alas, not so.
The next day, we were getting ready for the beach and that spunky little sprite yelled, "Remember, Mummy, your new suit." I wanted to cry. I didn't want to put it on but even more so, I didn't want to tell her that I could not get over my own sh** and just put on the damn suit. So, I did. I put it on, ignored the evil voices in my head, and made my way to the beach.
Luck had it that a good friend of mine, also in her bikini, was at the beach the very same day. We were chatting about the bikini in general and she said to me, "Oh, who cares. Whatever, I'm not 16 anymore, who cares. This is me." Dear friend, I hope you know who you are because combined with my kiddo, you kicked my insecurities butt right out of my head.
The moral of this post: stop being hard on yourself. You are beautiful. You are perfect in your imperfections. Those marks on my stomach, the widening in my hips, the little extra at my sides, they are just the signs that I've lived, I've given life, and I continue to live. In my skin, in my bikini. Love yourself, right as you are my lady friends and I promise to do the same.