How many of us are dreading summer? Not very many, right? Ok how many of us are dreading swimsuit season? That’s what I thought, a lot more hands popped up, my own included. There is a lot of stigma that goes with the swimsuit. How do my boobs looks? How about my tush? Is everything covered? Am I showing off too much..do I look trashy…yadda yadda yadda.
I have to say that up until last year I felt completely disgusted with myself when it came to summer clothing and swimsuits. I never wore shorts, not only am I pasty white, but my legs are like little sausages. I am not a very tall girl, towering in at a whopping 5’6”. So my little legs are easily misconstrued as sausage links. Throw on a pair of heels and they are that of a Greek goddess, but on average…sausages. Peddle pushers (or capris for some of you) were my go to. Summer clothes were not my favorite things to shop for. I would dread going into the store or the mall and trying on clothes. You all know what I am talking about. That tiny little room with the bad lighting, and the fun house mirror, and the broken door that could swing open at any given time, exposing you to the world. The dreadful dressing room.
I am a believer that the dressing room is designed to make us feel horrible about ourselves 98% of the time. The lighting is never good, and the mirrors are way to close and add disproportion to our body image even more than what we have already made up in our heads. We are our own worse critics, but the fun house mirrors don’t help. You find something on the rack that you know will look great on you. It’s the right color, the right size, and it is in your price range! What a deal. Now you decide to go into the dressing room and make sure it is everything you hope it would be, and BAM!! There it is. You are staring back at yourself from the fun house mirror as you realize, you could pass for a smaller version of the Stay Puffed Marshmallow Man. All that’s missing is a tiny sailor hat. Maybe they have one in the toy department, it would really pull the look together.
You stare at yourself for a bit picking apart every little detail about yourself you didn’t know was there to pick out. Your thighs are huge, your stomach is pudgy, your knees look weird. Who knew there was such a thing as knee negativity? But there you are in that tiny room with the fun house mirror and your shattered ego. So you quickly take off the article of clothing, and you change back into your regular clothes you came in with. You look at yourself in the mirror…cocking your head to one side, and you scan your body up and down. You do this for a few minutes or seconds ( I usually do it a couple of times) then you sigh, throw a smile on your face and open the door. You quickly put the garment on a rack in the fitting room area hoping nobody sees you. You fear that if they notice you hanging the garment back on the rack, they would know all about your moonlighting services as the fun sized version of Mr. Stay Puffed.
On your way out of the store you get upset that you even came out shopping in the first place. You try to rationalize with yourself that you already have enough clothes to get you through the summer and you don’t need anything additional to add to your arsenal. This includes a swimsuit. You had so many issues with just one article of clothing, now you aren’t even going to try to find a swimsuit!
Up until last year, this was my annual self-deprecating ritual. I had become one with the fun house mirror and I was ok with the fact that I would just never be comfortable in any real summer clothes and I would continue to wear my pedal pushers and tank tops. As you know I have been on a weight loss journey. You can read about it in my Sweat and Smiles blog. I had an unhealthy idea of what beauty was and it was really starting to cause a problem. Not to mention the issues I was having trying to get a grip on the fertility problems, (Hope, Faith, and Fertility )basically I was a basket case.
So I started working out and journaling what I ate, and the weight seemed to come off pretty easy for me. This helped me gain a better image of myself. I was able to go out into the shopping mall, walk into a dressing room, and find a whole handful of swimsuits that I loved and looked amazing in! I am a fan of vintage style clothing, so when I was able to find some suits that were the same style I was ecstatic! I am continuing my weight loss journey and my insecurities sneak up on me just as much as they did before. I have a new perspective on them though and that is what I would like to share. Sorry it took me so long to get to my point…
I had an epiphany one day, I’m not sure where I was or what I was doing. Probably one of those days where I was being a Naughty Girl and eating something I know I shouldn’t have been eating. I have had a few of those days, but I always find my way back to where I need to be. Anyway, my thought was this…we are all concerned with our self-image. Weather we are stick think, overweight, or any other things that we could pick apart about ourselves. I will tell you a secret, even the super models are insecure about something. There a billion people on this planet and we are all different shapes and sizes. We are all struggling with the same thing. We all have our own insecurities and we all have our way of dealing with them. We watch what we eat, we wear baggy clothes, we wear makeup, the list goes on and on.
What I started thinking about was all of my own imperfections. I have a laundry list of them! I don’t like my stomach. I am 30 years old and if I don’t get my hair colored it would be gray. I hate the hair on my arms. As I stated before I am extremely pale, so the hair on my arms stands out, therefore I wax. The things that make me a woman, my uterus and ovaries, and hormones, don’t work like they are supposed to (this one is a constant struggle) And there are many more I could tell you about.
The very things that I hate about myself, are also the things that make me…well, me! They are the things that make me unique and different from everyone else out there. They are my own perfect imperfections. We waste so much time picking ourselves apart, we never sit back and think about the things that make us special. The fact that I have to color my hair every five or six weeks doesn’t make me any more or less perfect than the supermodels with the supermodel hair. We all know that’s not natural anyway! My hair coloring makes me more human. It makes me relatable to somebody else out there dealing with the same issues. I can admit that the things I pick apart about myself all comes back down to my own vanity. But I feel that society has generated a culture of ego’s and vanity driven people, myself included at times. We should take a step back and look at ourselves and be thankful for all of our little imperfections, because they are what make us beautiful!
How boring would this world be if we all looked the same. If we all had the same body type, eye color, hair color and texture, or anything else you can think of. Who wants a carbon copy of a carbon copy? We would all grow tired and board of each other really quick. Then there would also be nothing to strive for in the sense of being better versions of ourselves.
In my journey, I am not looking to become a different person. I am not looking to change every little detail about myself and become someone my husband doesn’t recognize. What I am doing, is trying to change little things that I can to help myself feel better about myself. I am looking to take some of those insecurities and shove them out of my life. I will keep working hard to make little changes. I will try to embrace the things I can’t change and I will start to accept myself for who I am. If I don’t start doing these things for myself, no one will do them for me.
I encourage all of us to stop listening to the rude, lying voices in our heads that say we are not beautiful. We all are beautiful and unique and our imperfections are what make us that way!
I also want to leave you with a challenge, I challenge you to take a trip to the mall or any local clothing store. I want you to step into a fitting room, and I want you to try on an article of clothing, or a swimsuit (if you are daring). I want you to look into that little fun house mirror, and I want you to smile! I want you to really look at yourself and think about that laundry list of insecurity. Then I want you to take another look at yourself, and I want you to list all the positive things you see in yourself. These things do not need to be physical appearances, because beauty is not just about what is on the outside. We all know that, if not I can write another post about inner beauty as well! But I need you to really look and see all the positive things that we take for granted about ourselves, and I want you to know you are fabulous. You are beautiful, and you are unique!