Wowza! I never thought I’d be writing something about one of the things I dreaded the most. Most women struggle to find the right fitting swimsuit, and for me that’s been a problem since I was about 10 years old and I started becoming aware of my body rolls and big thighs (the latter which I’ve since learned to adore). I thought that I wasn’t going to be enjoying my days at the beach as much as a girl with a flat tummy and small bosom. Eventually, it got to a point where I decided to skip pool parties and the beach altogether because I was afraid of not being accepted, but this summer I decided to take a big leap of faith.
As I got dropped off at the gym for my 2-hour daily routine which alternated cardio, squats, and abs, I began to ask myself why I was taking such drastic measures if I was still going to be uncomfortable with myself. I didn’t want to miss out anymore and I wanted to be able to enjoy getting a tan that was even on every visible part of my body. I was tired of being afraid. As my mom and I ventured to a small, private, deserted beach every Saturday this summer, I had teased my courage with different bikini tops and bottoms that made me feel like the sexiest teenager alive, because after all, “happy is sexy.” It was all fun and games until I realized that my fear went beyond the bikini (or one-piece for that matter) and I had to accept wearing it in public as well as in private. My fear didn’t stem from my rolls or my stretch marks, it was what people were going to think about me that scared the life out of me. Last summer’s brush with cyber harassment had done a number on me, and as much as I wanted to dismiss it, the idea of exposing myself in a swimsuit for others to trash was simply not appealing.
I was terrified. I didn’t want people to say that I looked like a freshly popped can of Pillsbury biscuit dough. The words of women in the 2002 movie Real Women Have Curves were etched onto my body and soul when I thought about PDA (in this case; Public Displays of AbsolutelyTooManyCurves). I began to waver between Panchita’s “There’s no better dressing than meat on bones” and Carmen’s “Don’t eat the flan!” But I did it. I ripped the band-aid (or coverup in this case) I held my breath, and double knotted that bikini as if I were born to do it. I took a walk on the wild side and noticed … nobody cares. People actually don’t give a f@#*. As I looked around searching for haters, I realized that out of everybody on the beach that day, I was my harshest critic. What was I so afraid of?
It took looking at myself through someone else’s eyes to see myself as I really am: an over-thinker, a perfectionist that is sometimes too hard on herself, and a curvy goofball with just the right amount of spice. So you go out there and shine. Wear that bikini because honey: you can. I can, she can, and he can – we can. Don’t be so rough on yourself and genuinely enjoy yourself. Sit in the sand. Take a selfie. Splash in the water and have your cake sister… and not just because it’s cheat day.