Here's something about me: I love swimming! And swimming in the ocean or a lake or any natural space= the best thing ever! But I went through a few years where I did not swim at all, or barely at all, and it was for THE DUMBEST REASON EVER!
You see, I would wait all year for the summer to begin, knowing that by the summer time I would have lost those few pounds that I had inevitably gained at Christmas, and I would look great and feel good enough about myself to get in a bathing suit and finally get to go swimming! But summer would come and I wouldn't have lost as much weight as I had hoped I would, or none at all, or I would have (gasp!) even gained a few pounds, and my desire to swim would dwindle down to nothing, much like my fragile self esteem. I might get up the courage to go swimming once or twice a year, but the whole time I was worrying, wasting my time feeling self-conscious and comparing myself to a version of me that I thought should exist, but never really had. Even after I had worked so hard to get myself to a healthy place of body love and acceptance, the thought of getting into a swimsuit still made feel not supper awesome about myself, enough so that I rarely swam, always telling myself that the next summer would be different. The next summer I would be somehow more worthy of being seen in a swimsuit.
Then in 2010, everything changed. The years leading up to that year, I had been so sick that my body had whittled down to a weight that I never thought I would achieve, but I was so ill, my life was slipping away from me. Yes, I was finally skinny, but I was so sick, my body did not feel like my own. I could barely leave my house except to work or go to the hospital. I was in pain constantly. Then in 2010, I had the surgery that would save my life, but I ended up with an ostomy bag attached to my stomach. I was devastated, but I was alive.
Of course, that story is about a lot more than body image, but for me, a very important piece of what I learned that year was how to love myself unconditionally. One of the biggest hurdles I crossed during the six months when I had that ostomy, was going swimming for the first time with my bag. I had been so self conscious in a swimsuit my whole life, and now, under my one piece was something that made my body so different from anyone else I had ever met, and I was actually letting myself swim in public! Then and there it all became so clear. I was never going to let myself destructive thoughts keep me from going swimming ever again, or allow me to deny myself any pleasure in life, based on what I looked like. Life is too short to wait for perfection. My time and your time is far too precious to spend being so stupid.
So now, I collect bathing suits that make me feel lovely. I tend to like high wasted suits like this J Crew one that I wore two weeks ago on my trip to California with my husband and his parents. The water was freezing, but you know what? My husband and I got right in and swam! It was amazing, and I felt beautiful. I was so grateful to be alive, and happy, and free of the rules I once thought protected me.
Now, a word about how to get awesome suits like this for a steal: shop now, and be willing to get things tailored! I always wait for the J Crew swim sale specifically, and then I get the super clearance suits and tailor them myself. If you get the cup size right, it is easy to a adjust the band. If anyone would like a how-to on this blog, let me know! Knowing this one tip has saved a lot of too big suits for me in the past. Actually, I used the trick on the suit pictured. :)
Another great trip is to buy on-sale separates that weren't meant to go together, but still work, like a solid color bottom, and a patterned top. Most of my suits are miss-matched, but they look great together! If you buy within the same color family, like sticking to navy and white for example, you can keep mixing and matching the same suits with new pieces next year and so on.
So there you go. Figure out what you love, and do it. I'm sorry to tell you this, but that perfect you that you know you almost could be? That person doesn't really exist. The you you are now is wonderful, and perfect. Never deny yourself the life you were meant to live because of your body. Don't live with regrets. Be happy. And go swimming for goodness sake! It's wonderful. :)