I prefer to keep this blog upbeat and positive, seeking the humor in every situation. But sometimes, life is hard; and I also want this little space of the internet to reflect that. Life isn’t always sunshine and happiness, and I prefer to be real than to photo-shop perfection into my blog posts. There are moments that require our paths to wind up a mountain, tall and daunting. And we’re required to take a deep breath and to step forward – one footstep at a time – as bravely as we can. So with that being said, I feel as though I do need to share this difficult journey that lies before me with my readers in an attempt to remain real.
*Takes a deep breath*
I have to go bathing suit shopping this year.
*shudders….but feels a sense of relief at having typed out the difficult truth*
To be honest, like most women, I’d literally rather do just about anything else… And it’s not that I really struggle with my body image. I just wish that bathing suits looked a bit more like snuggies than leftover scraps of fabric.
In the past, I’ve always gone with an experienced support group (a.k.a. my mom and sister). Because these two are good. No matter how many times they’d say, “It’s not you, it’s the bathing suit” I’d always believe them. Because yes, the issue is obviously with the bathing suit. And the lighting. And the fact that I forgot to paint my toenails.
But this time around, there will also be the C-section scar. And the soft skin on my stomach from growing healthy babies… and liking the taste of icecream too much. My ‘baby’ is turning two next month, and I’m just now starting to work at losing the ‘baby weight’. My body has been stretched, and pushed to the limits, and – quite frankly – in need of the gym but just too tired to get there most days.
And there’s nothing like trying on a bathing suit to make a woman feel as though she’s trapped in a body made out of silly putty.
But you know what? I’ve also been on the ‘other side’. Back when I was at my skinniest as a young teen, before God healed me of an eating disorder, I was ‘skinny enough’ to fit the bathing suit model standards. But I also hadn’t menstruated for a year. My hair was falling out. Skin flaked off my body like dandruff, I was freezing cold in the middle of a hot summer’s day, and I was constantly at the doctor’s.
All this to try to meet standards of beauty that a world had set for me.
I was thinking about this just the other day… About how I am so much more confident now, curves and all, than I was back then when I was ridiculously thin. It makes me look in the mirror and feel thankful. Thankful for this amazing body that grew babies. Thankful for my strength, and my health, and the blessing it is to spend every day with my family.
When you start to look at things that way, the size and shape of your body kind of takes a back-seat!
Women (and even men) are constantly bombarded with images that have been photo-shopped to perfection. Models and actresses flaunt their seemingly-perfect bodies and lives, leaving so many feeling ashamed and inadequate. These images set what so many view as the ultimate representation of beauty.
But here’s the thing… Contrary to what Hollywood would like you to believe, you and I are not cookie cutters. We are not gingerbread men, cut from the same mold to resemble a specific outline. We are unique, and there is no one image that we need to critique our bodies against.
We all have individual markings, characteristics, sizes, and shapes. If only we could learn to embrace that!
And here’s where freedom truly lies… Ultimately, I am a child of God. My beauty has nothing to do with anything that a mirror can reflect. I was created by a perfect Creator to worship and to bring glory to His name. The size of my shorts has absolutely no impact on that. 🙂
That’s not to say that I shouldn’t always strive to take care of my body! But fully embracing my status as a child of the King sure takes a whole lot of pressure off of needing to look ‘perfect’ for the summer season. Because curves and ‘imperfections’ looking back at me in the mirror mean so much less.
I’m excited to just get out there and live the life that God has given me! I mean, how dare social media, television, and magazines tell me that I’m less than? I’m beautiful… right now!
So yeah, bring on the bathing suit shopping and the confident splashing on the beach with my kiddos. Because in Him I find my beauty, which means I am ready – right now- for summer… and my summer wardrobe. 🙂