I tried to let the photo speak for itself, but, a blog post is always within reach. And it’s an opportunity to build on what I was trying to communicate to women about body image and confidence.
This is my third year posting a bikini photo. And every year, the result is mainly the same. 90% of the feedback is outstanding, and 10% is what happens when you jump into the jungle of the internet.
This year’s photo was of particular importance. One, I have been chronicling my weight loss journey and goals in fitness for well over a year. And it’s very hard, and disappointing that despite my efforts to get my health under control, I’ve come out 50lbs heavier. But part of being mindful of what is happening with my body is remembering to keep a good head about the entire process. What are my wins? Why am I solely focusing on what didn’t work?
Let’s get real. One, I quit smoking. That’s no small feat. I did it cold turkey, armed with only a fidget spinner. I set a date, and I was stubborn enough to stick to it. From a pack a day, to breaking the habit has been the qualifier over everything else. If I didn’t do anymore this year than quit smoking, I’d already won that race.
Two, I’m almost 40, stressed out, dealing with a pandemic, suffering from Sleep Apnea, and depressed AF over not being able to see people and go out. The number of people I have seen on Facebook remarking on their waist bands, scale numbers, and dress sizes is incredible. Most people I know have struggled with the veracity of the pandemic, and it’s showing up on our bodies. If you came out of this unscathed, without an extra pound or two, I salute you.
And three, I have no idea what the hell is going on with me. And neither do the doctors. I cut out carbs for a month, and I gained 10lbs. I mean, who the hell knows at this point. From speculation that it’s my thyroid, to leaky gut, to early menopause, to not drinking enough water, to extreme allergies that have ravaged my body this year, the bottom line is that I’m not losing weight. And while some are concerned I’m jumping the gun by heading to the bariatric clinic – take faith. They don’t just cut you open without consulting, working with nutritionists, and designing the very best course of treatment for your particular case based on your overall health and genetic make up. My best shot at getting some answers is to hear what they’ve had to say.
But the one thing about my that has never swayed, is that I’m confident to post a bikini photo because I wanted to wear my two piece when I jumped into my pool with my partner and my daughter. And I’m sure the neighbours could see me trotting around the backyard, checking out my garden, and stoking the embers in our campfire. Saying hello to the turtles that have nested on our property line. Picking up towels, and draping them over the deck rails. Being myself, in my element, in my home, and with my family.
However, same goes if I was at the beach. I wore this two-piece all last summer. From New Brunswick, to the Picton shoreline. Swimming, is swimming, is swimming, is swimming. Less you dive in with your clothes on, I suggest you look away.
I’m always amused by the negative comments I get on my photos. One yesterday said: “Put some clothes on.” That one was ridiculous. I hope she says the same to the people on the beach. Okay, Karen. Sure.
The other, though, was a repulsed gif. The Steve Carrel one that gets used to really showcase disgust. And I left it, because I think it should be seen by others. I think we, as a society, need to actually see what bottom feeders are living in our communities. Who are raising children. Who have wives, and girlfriends, and daughters. When they come trotting along to my bikini photo and leave a disgusted remark, imagine then what they are doing at home to the women they claim to love. We need to see this behaviour, and call it out at its source. Am I offended you said something shitty about me in a bathing suit? Your opinion literally has no merit in my world. But, what I do worry about, is your daughter. Who could be battling with body issues, like mine is. I worry about your little girl who is berating herself in the mirror. Who is on TikTok and seeing beautiful women she aspires to look like. I hope your daughter scrolls through Facebook and sees a woman like me – a woman who says – you are beautiful right now, because your smile is brighter than your waist line. I hope the angry asshole who made fun of me on my photo one day realizes that we all know how he behaves online. And that his wife, girlfriend, sister, mother, saw it too.
Listen, y’all. I’m an advocate for health. Body image, size … it’s about health, first and foremost. If your mind, body, and soul aren’t working together, then it won’t matter how much you weigh, because the weight of your insecurities will hang off you in every photo, in every thing you do. When I look at my photo, I see a woman enjoying the summer. Yes, she has a tummy. Yes, she has a pair of Dolly Partons. Yes, she has some thic thighs. But her smile is brighter than the sun. And knowing this picture was taken of her and not simply a selfie, says she was with company when the photo was captured. That means, she is not afraid to be herself around others. And the campy flamingo? Means she’s got some personality.
I am not encouraging unhealthy weight gain. And I’m not encouraging poor eating habits. I am encouraging you to give yourself some goddamn credit. Enjoy your life. If I, knock on wood, were to get called home tomorrow, I would be 100% content with that photo being my legacy. My purple hair, my pink flamingo and my itsy bitsy teenie weenie cherry pop bikini, snapped in a photo by my partner, in our first summer together. Because despite the pandemic, despite the stress, despite the uncertainty, despite the worry about why my body is not responding to the work I’ve done over the last year – what matters is that I’m still living life, in love, and in the sun.
I hope you will, too.
— c ☆