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.