Be Full: The Swimsuit Edition
Guys, we are taking a little break this week from all of the heavy (pun totally intended) stories about bodies and beauty and belonging to dig in to a timely topic that is just begging for a little truth telling.
Friends, we need just a minute to talk about swimsuits.
Because the sun finally came out and it's pretty likely that most of us will have a run-in with a beach or a pool or a Kohl's dressing room, and we will find ourselves confronted, once again, with "the rules".
What rules, you might ask?
You know them. The swimsuit rules. (Spoiler alert: I think they are total bullshit)
I really don't need to list them because every woman knows some iteration of "the rules". However, for the sake of discussion, I will summarize them here:
Rule #1: You will never be enough.
Rule #2: Select a suit that communicates complete adherence to Rule #1.
Examples: Fat thighs? Skort. Fat tummy? Tankini. Back fat? Dear god, please buy a one-piece. Fat everywhere? Lots of draping fabric, preferably covered in large flower prints intended to distract from the fact that there isn't enough fabric to cover all of that.
Rule #3: If in doubt about your selection, please see rule #1, put that suit back on the rack and just wear shorts to the pool. You didn't really want to swim anyway.
I sure as hell hope so because this is the STORY OF MY SWIMSUIT LIFE.
Right up to the very last swimsuit I bought, right before our trip to Florida two months ago. That's right.. the woman who found a way to let someone take shirtless yoga photos and then plastered them on social media engaged with the aforementioned bullshit swimsuit rules as recently as FEBRUARY. Here is how it turned out:
I drooled over a super cute, high bottomed bikini for months, and then walked into Kohls one day and instead bought some sort of strange hybrid two-piece, complete with a semi see-through tankini.
Seriously, this suit just screams "SHE SETTLED!!".
This suit is the epitome of every indecisive moment of my life... it's like the person who is considering leaping off a cliff, but changes their mind right before they leap, skidding dangerously close to the edge.
That's me. Teetering right on the edge of the cliff, clad in a swimsuit that is suffering from a profound identity crisis.
Guys, no more.
I know who I am. I know who you are. And we need new rules. So, I wrote some for us.
Friends, I know that some of you are thinking that you just couldn't be comfortable in a suit that doesn't cover all of your "problem areas". I am familiar with the terror that can sink its claws into the soft ground of our flabby thighs or our doughy tummies. I realize that it is scary to consider what someone might see if they really do see all of us.
But I also know this.
We are dying to be seen. And known. And loved.
And we can't get these things we crave if we are hiding, if we are covered in folds of fabric and layers of shame.
And it matters. It matters that we are able to see fat bodies and old bodies and soft bodies because all that we have been fed is the opposite. We have been inundated with images of tone and taut and tan since before we were able to talk. And those images have kept us chasing an ideal that steals our most basic human experience out from underneath us.
No more. It does not have to be this way.
So, you've got an assignment.
Put down your phone. Go shopping. Take your new rules with you. And know that you're not alone. I'm right beside you, ordering that cute high-bottomed bikini, ready to create a world that has enough space for every single one of us.