It’s that time of year again when everyone is trying to get into their best “beach” or “bikini” bod shape.
I’m seeing/hearing a lot of talk about getting into shape, but I’m also seeing a lot of what that ideal shape is being challenged. I am happy to see a lot of websites I follow, like Buzzfeed or Hello Giggles, posting articles that promote acceptance of women (and men) of all shapes and sizes. My love-hate relationship with Buzzfeed aside, I’ve been pretty happy with their posts recently – including one I saw today about the best places to buy swimwear, and there was a variety of bodies represented in the list.
I have always struggled with my weight, I’ve fluctuated my whole life, but I’ve struggled even more with accepting whatever weight I was at – whether at my highest or my lowest, I was not accepting of myself.
Even though it’s been nearly a month, pictures from my wedding are still popping in people’s feeds. My initial reaction is to always smile and feel all warm and happy inside at the memory, and then my immediate reaction after that is to cringe, and wonder: “Am I really that fat?”
But I’m trying to adopt a healthier mentality. When I catch myself thinking that, I first remind myself about how beautiful I felt that day, and more importantly, how HAPPY I was that day. I think what the extreme happiness I felt shows in every single picture I’ve seen, and to me, that should be more important that how wide I looked or how many lumps I had. If I still have trouble accepting that thought when looking at a particularly unflattering picture, I just close the picture. I will open it again later, with that first initial happy reaction, and I will keep working until I can look at it without critiquing my own appearance.
I am no stranger to wanting to get into “shape” for summer. I’m not currently happy with my weight (no surprise there), and I want to feel better about myself. But I’m going to take my time, and I’m going to do it the healthy way – both physically and mentally. I’ll make better decisions about my health but I will not deny myself an enjoyable ice cream date here and there. Although I’d love to ideally lose a bit of weight, I’m determined to enjoy my summer regardless.
In actuality, the only real goal I want is to find enough confidence to wear a swimsuit that shows my stomach scar and not be ashamed of it. It was my goal last summer, and I shamed myself out of ever reaching it. I don’t want to do that again this year. And the reality is that I should be able to find that confidence regardless of whether I lose weight or not.
If there’s anything the internet is teaching me, it’s that we’re seeing a shift in what is the “acceptable” body shape at which to feel beautiful. We should all be free to feel beautiful, no matter what size, shape, color or gender. It’ll take time, there will always be close-minded trolls, but I think we’re on a positive path and I’m determined to take part in that movement by accepting my own body first.
That’s my two-cents on this sticky summer afternoon.
Now here’s a picture of my cat, who is also big and beautiful.