So, it’s the start of summer and you know what that means? The season of swimming and sipping lemonade by the pool while wearing little clothing.
Everyone is freaking out over Target having a new line of swimsuits out and all you can think about is wouldn’t it be nice to wear that tiny, neon pink bikini and feel great in it! You constantly see pictures while scrolling through Instagram of your friends jumping in lakes and posing in their new suits because they are “#confident.” You sadly find swimsuits that you wore junior year in your drawer that won’t even fit past your thigh anymore, sigh.
All you wish is that you could feel comfortable wearing one or even just finding the courage to try some on at the mall without feeling more self-conscious than you already are.
I am still extremely uncomfortable even just thinking about waltzing into a store trying to find a one-piece that makes me feel confident, let alone a two-piece that reveals every part of me! I purposefully haven’t bought a swimsuit in over a year just so I can have the excuse of “I’m so broke I can’t even buy one at the moment!” (Even though I could just cut down on my coffee purchases and buy one).
If you invite someone to do an activity that involves bringing a swimsuit and they kindly reject, please don’t ask them why or what’s the matter? If you offer them one to borrow and they say no, PLEASE don’t keep insisting, they don’t want to swim! Most likely they don’t want to have the awkward conversation about body positivity with you!
I cannot count the number of times my friends have said “let’s go swimming!” or “we can go to the pool in the summer!” and I constantly feel bad when I reject the kind invitation. My anxiety literally skyrockets at the thought of walking in public with my body on full display.
Even if my friends give me words of assurance, those wandering eyes of everyone else at the pool don’t help.
I know I wouldn’t be able to flat out say, “Because I don’t feel comfortable being that exposed.” We don’t want you to come back with, “But you’re beautiful! You don’t need to worry!” Those statements don’t fix the issue and we don’t want to come off as “fishing for compliments” when we make a big deal about it, because it is a HUGE deal to us.
We would love to join you but we genuinely just don’t want to jump into a lake in fear of something slipping down or worse, coming off!
I remember going to a water park with my best friend last summer and I purposely left the bottoms to my bikini at the hotel just so I could wear jean shorts (in hopes it would cover me up). I proved to be out of luck when the sign read “Only Bathing Suits Past This Point.” I honestly contemplated saying I was feeling sick and couldn’t go on the water slide I wanted to ride so badly. All of this overthinking just because of a daunting item of clothing.
I remember standing in the stall changing into the bottoms I bought at the gift shop. I couldn’t make my way out because I was so self-conscious. As soon as I opened the door my stomach dropped. I looked in the mirror and the whole day was filled with my mind racing at the questions of, “I look awful” and “why did I agree to this, I knew I couldn’t handle it.”
If you don’t feel confident or comfortable going to the lake or even trying on a swimsuit, that’s okay! You have the right to feel the way you feel even if people constantly say you need to “get over it” and “you need to love yourself” because they have no idea what’s going on.
I applaud every woman who has the confidence to walk on the beach without a care in the world, I hope to get there someday.
But until then, I’ll be wearing my jean shorts and tank top to the warm sand, thank you.