A few weeks ago I was on vacation with a group of friends – lucky to be in beautiful Leeward islands of the Lesser Antilles. (who says this blog can’t be educational too?) The scenery was amazing and the food was delicious.
The one “flaw in the plan” was my bathing suit. I didn’t heed my own advice and waited until late July to shop. Given my proportions, the pickings were slim. I ended up wearing something I didn’t love – a bikini. I was grateful to have found swim shorts to wear over the bottoms, but the rest was still very much… a bikini.
On a particularly sunny day, we took a catamaran ride to Nevis for sightseeing and some time at the beach. A few friends complimented me on the suit and how I looked. I responded with the sentiment that it was the only suit that I could find and at least I’d found shorts to cover up my thighs because… no one wants to see that.
Suddenly, the uselessness of what I’d said hit me. I quickly corrected myself to say I was happy that I’d found shorts because I wasn’t comfortable in bikini bottoms. (I do not condone body shaming in others, and was careful to apply the same logic to myself, even if it was after the fact.) After making a mental note to consider my word choice next time, I continued to enjoy the sun and the sand.
Later that afternoon, as we sped back to St. Kitts, the conversation echoed in my head. It was a beautiful, perfect day, spent in and around gorgeous water. Why was my first instinct to hide my body? Why was I concerned about what impact viewing my body had on others?
I also thought about the first-ever body positivity seminar at CurvExpo in June. Kimmay Caldwell, Hurray Kimmy, who I consider lovely, expressed that she felt her body didn’t fit the expectations of her Hispanic heritage. (at least, that was my interpretation of what she said!) Instead of holding herself to someone else’s standard, she confidently stars in photo shoots in lingerie, proud of who she is and how she takes care of herself.
Why was I going to let any negativity intrude on my beautiful day? The shape of my body doesn’t make a difference, and doesn’t require an apology. Inspired by Kimmay’s own unretouched images, I asked a friend to take a picture of me just as I was – sweaty, with windblown hair. (full of salt, too, from our swim in the ocean) I work hard to take care of me because I’m worth it and I took time to honor that.
How will you celebrate you in 2019?