If you’re reading this, my guess is that you’re thinking one of two things:
1. HI THAT’S ME I DREAD SWIMSUITS.
2. Isn’t “dread” a bit dramatic?
If you’re like me, you’re thinking the first thing. Or at least I used to and wow I really used to – we’ll get to that in a bit.
Maybe you’re thinking more along the lines of the second one – and YOU GO GIRL. I bet you rock your confidence like nothing else and I’ve got nothing but respect for ya! OR maybe you’re just a chill person- what’s that like by the way?
Nowadays, I don’t “dread” putting on a swimsuit. Do I love wearing one? Not really. Do I seek out opportunities to wear one? Uh no. Do I feel like my best self when I’m wearing one? LOL stop.
This relationship with swimsuits started at an early age – yes I consider it a relationship. I remember noticing the feelings I had towards swimsuits and confidence in early junior high. I noticed how I didn’t fill out certain areas like the other girls and that I filled out other areas a little more. It didn’t prevent me from wanting to swim and hang out though. As I got older and entered high school it began to bother me more. All of the sudden being pale was a bad thing, too? Y’all this girl is half Scottish and the rest is a random mixture of assumingly pale European countries. Being tan isn’t in the cards for me. Neva eva. All throughout high school I was so bothered by the fact that I wasn’t tan with a six pack. Have you ever heard the phrase, “I wish I were as fat as the first time I thought I looked fat?” UH YEAH. Girl, please. It bothered me so much that I would avoid any kind of pool day, lake day, whatever. If you could get me to go, you better believe I was consumed with how I looked the whole time.
Looking back I see how ridiculous it was to feel and act like that. I grew up with a confident mother who didn’t endorse that kind of thinking. I grew up in the church where I was repeatedly told and believed that appearance shouldn’t have that kind of power. My attitude and insecurities stemmed from lots of different things: media, comparison, mixed up priorities, and being impressionable.
To this day my self-confidence fluctuates. I’m invested and rooted in community, church, and a really loving and wonderful relationship and I still struggle. The difference between the younger version of me and is that I really do know where my worth is now. I’m so confident in this because I’ve tried putting my worth into lots of dumb things over years, but mainly because I know I have to regularly engage with and put my faith in the Lord. Anytime I stray from God, comparison really affects me. I’m so glad I know this about myself and that God is continuously loving and faithful.
I have a few more thoughts before we go, though.
1. Here’s the thing: wearing a bikini is basically being naked. Naked = vulnerable. If you don’t want to wear one, then don’t. No female is obligated to wear a bikini anytime water is involved. Praise the Lord one-pieces and high-waisted bottoms are super trendy now. It used to be Adidas one-pieces or bust. (Dillard’s swimsuits are 40% off right now btw.) SIDE NOTE: Hey best friends, significant others, siblings, etc: don’t make a girl feel weird/make comments about wearing a one-piece. That’s lame. Tell her she looks fab and go splash around.
2. You don’t have to be tan to be the most beautiful version of yourself. Being tan hides things and I appreciate that. It also defines the right things. I appreciate that, too. But oh my goodness you don’t have to be tan to be beautiful. To be super honest, any kind of sun on your skin is bad for you. Don’t get mad at me for saying that, get mad at every dermatologist that will tell you that. There are about a million different self-tanners that are so great these days, too! (St. Tropez mousse is my favorite!)
3. Don’t let wearing a swimsuit ruin your mood or your memories. Your significant other or your kids won’t remember how you looked while you were swimming or at the lake/beach. They’re gonna remember how much fun they had with their favorite people!
I hope this post wasn’t too much. I felt like I needed to write it. I’m going to the beach this weekend and have felt a few of those negative thoughts creep in, but I’m not having it. I’m gonna rise above it and I think you can, too.
So put on the bikini if you want, put on the one-piece or the tankini, heck – put on the full-body scuba suit. Just have fun this summer, lady!
– Caitlin –