red bikini.

today i’m going to buy a red bikini. well, at the very least a red bikini top with black bottoms, but only because target is out of the red bottoms that i want.

and now i’ll tell you why this is a thing.

i went to vegas last weekend and the amount of fun i had was insane. the freedom, the energy, all of it, i had it all. i am generally insecure about my body, but in the spirit of the weekend, on pool day donned my bathing suit (my ONE bathing suit, carefully selected for minimizing flaws, that remains hidden in the back corner of my bottom drawer so i don’t have to look at it and shudder too often) and hopped out to the pool. after 20 minutes of carefully arranging myself so my stomach didn’t roll up or hang or whatever, i got really bored of paying attention to that and said fuck it. i also, not coincidentally, had a few poolside adult beverages. i stood around, sat, swim, DANCED with abandon all day, and all in a bathing suit which to me means practically naked.

i’d be lying if i said i didn’t notice and envy the bodies of women taller and leaner than i, but really, i put myself in idgaf (that would be “i don’t give a fuck”) mode and got on with my day.

one day this week, many of the pictures from the weekend went up. and i had a moment, or, to be more precise, i had about three hours. i have gone from a size 8/10 to a 6 and now to a 12, and in my mind i’m still an 8/10. i’m not even 5’1″, so these changes, they show. and in these pictures i barely recognized myself. my face, my frame, everything ABOUT me looks different. i don’t know how to dress this person. i don’t know how to exist comfortably as this person. i don’t know how to believe this person is beautiful and worthy (and this reveals a prejudice which gives me deep, deep shame).

and then i remembered how free i was on pool day, and i panicked. my god, who did i think i was, prancing around like i deserved to have fun with everyone else? i must have just been the overly loud, obnoxious fat girl, you know the stereotype, and everyone must have judged me. my face burns now, still. even knowing how wrong all of those things are, how i have a right as much as anyone else to enjoy a pool and the sun and the music, how if people really did judge me based on my body it is them who are unworthy, not i. i know. i KNOW.

i read a book before i left called two whole cakes, by lesley kinzel, who is an amazing writer. she write about fat acceptance and body politics over on xojane and in many other places. the book was excellent – smart, funny, informative, and for me, revolutionary. one of the things she said that i keep repeating to myself is “your body is not a tragedy”. my body is not a tragedy. tears spring to my eyes when i write that because i don’t even know how to really believe it, but how much i want to is so intense.

i got over my moment, after talking to two friends and letting myself have ten minutes to cry. and you know, it’s so far beyond, “i look fat in that picture”. no. it’s, “i don’t know who i am”. it’s “i am not deserving of anything good”. it’s “everyone must think i am awful/lazy/ugly”. it’s “but i eat salad and go to the gym, and what will ever be enough?”. it’s “i want to disappear”. it is guilt and shame wrapped into a ball and stuck together with loathing, and it is so fucking heavy to carry.

i don’t want to make a grand, sweeping declaration that i’m done with it, that i’ve thrown it away forever, because this is a battle i have fought for as long as i can remember. but today, i am setting it down somewhere over there and i am buying a red bikini. because i am worthy of owning things that i like, that i find pretty, that i want to dress myself in. i deserve beauty.

19 thoughts on “red bikini.

  1. You know I understand. God, how I understand. And I also know that me telling you that you are 40 kinds of gorgeous won’t mean much I am hoping my telling you that I am here to reinforce your body acceptance and perpetuate your love of yourself in any way I possibly can. And I will tell you all of this in person in FOUR DAYS.

    I love you ♥

  2. here via ms. stereo and SO glad, cause you are SO right, and that’s the way you do it. i used to be one on those tall, slender women you spoke of, but menopause threw some pounds my way, threw some jiggly thighs and belly my way, and i began avoiding one of the loves of my life – the water, boating, swimming, laying lakeside in the sun, because i have been embarrassed. the boyfriend would talk me into it now & then, but still – not the same. but this year? something changed. a new bikini and i don’t look so bad, and more importantly, i don’t FEEL so bad.

    loved this post. here’s to freedom, and letting our bodies have some fun.

  3. Have I told you lately that you inspire me?

    You inspire me. To live a life more filled with joy and idgaf. To be kinder to myself and less full of hate towards my body. You’re a rock star, lady.

  4. I know the “I don’t know who I am” feeling. The “That’s not me. That’s me? What?” Ugh.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’ve been there (because not having a good self-image is the same whether you’re a six or a twelve) and I still thoroughly believe that you are beautiful.

    Fly your red bikini, love.

  5. You are such a badass.
    Seriously.
    I could tell you all kinds of things about how I think you are too hard on yourself and you’re beautiful, inside and out, but I’m usually pretty sure you don’t want to hear that from me.
    But here’s the major thing I take away from this.
    You’re a BADASS.
    Because the bravery it takes to say this stuff to the whole wide world… it’s hardcore.

    It’s *so* universal, this self-loathing, but none of us ever want to admit it to the world – except for a few who really love to feel sorry for themselves in public. But this isn’t that!! It’s all about overcoming that urge to feel sorry for yourself, buy the fucking bikini, and dance.
    I love it.
    Also you.

  6. You are not alone in these feelings. When I am feeling this way, I try to remind myself that we are all our own worst critics.

    You are a rock star who looked amazing at BiSC. You’re going to look even more amazing in your red bikini.

  7. so yeah, that was the smack in the face i needed. this particular dance with the devil is the worst and most toxic one there is. you do deserve beauty. cheers to the baby steps it takes to get the mind to recognize that you deserve it.

  8. You are a strong and awesome woman for putting this out there because so many of us feel the same way. I’m in a similar boat as you- 5’2″ and used to be a 6, now a 10/12. I see pics or look down at my tummy roll & get so ashamed of what I let happen. It’s tough to get over those moments, but I’m trying to embrace the things I love- ample bosum, great hair and skin, awesome smile & eyes- as I work on getting the rest in order. I wear wrap dresses that flatter the curves in the right spots & have banished any piece of clothing that I don’t feel sexy and awesome in out of the closet. Good for you for sticking up for your amazing self- you deserve beauty and amazingness. I’m not sure I can justify a red bikini purchase with a tight budget, but you have inspired me to go buy something pretty just for me- and who the eff cares what the number on the tag says!!

  9. This post made me cry. Yes. You ARE worthy. I get those feelings so much. But you’re right. You deserve it. I envy and admire your freedom. This is lovely. Big hugs.

  10. I don’t know you, but this post makes me want to hug you and every other lady who’s every felt the same. I hope you bought that red bikini. I hope you wear it and dance in it with as much passion as you did on vacation. Never apologize for being joyful. You deserve every moment of happiness you have. Also, you rock for posting this.

  11. You are so beautiful and so amazing and I just heart you so much. I felt this way after seeing the pool pictures from last year, which is dumb, I know. But then I looked again, looked at all of us in our different sized bodies and realized that it doesn’t matter, that every single person at the pool is beautiful and amazing, no matter how many or how few curves they’ve got to call their own.

  12. I know EXACTLY how you feel. And I wish I didn’t, but I do. After a few months of dieting this spring (which you heard me complain about profusely), I now weigh very close to what I did when I got married – and yet this weekend when I was at a pool, I still didn’t put on a bathing suit and cool off. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME? I am so proud that you were able to enjoy the pool and enjoy yourself and be as fabulous as you deserve to feel, and ARE.

  13. you. are. AMAZING. GORGEOUS. HILARIOUS. AWESOME. THE BEST

    pick one; pick all! they’re all true. body image is a tricky fucked up thing, and i am so there with you. rock the shit out of that red bikini because you are completely fabulous

  14. Having spent the week prancing around in a hot pink red bikini and trying to ignore everything that made me squirm about it, I am so happy I read this post. Thank you, you beautiful woman.

  15. Thank you. For saying everything that I have felt and think and mourn and loathe and love. I have asked my dear friend NakedJen to share her secret on how to achieve self love and acceptance of your own naked imperfect perfect body. I feel as if I can grasp that secret my life would be so much happier. Such a challenge isnt it? Why do we feel like this? When did the self love change and how do we get it back? So very sad.

  16. Thank you for posting this. I really needed it. I’m feeling this way about my body lately, especially as I’ve recently given up soda and HAVEN’T LOST A DAMN POUND. Grrr. Anyway, it’s nice to know I’m not alone (not that I’m saying it’s nice that you’re feeling this way…).

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