My best friend decided she wanted us to take a spontaneous beach trip with friends and I was so excited because I haven’t been to the beach since my freshman year of high school. I’m a sophomore in college. YEAH. So like I said, SUPER EXCITED. That excitement vanished once I realized I didn’t bring a swimsuit with me — the only time I can swim is our pool workouts for field hockey and we use sports bras and compression shorts. So, I had to go buy a suit.
Autumn isn’t exactly peak swim season, and most retailers had already purged their summer clothing (I know this because I work in retail and we did it at my store before I had even left for college). So, I didn’t have much of selection (or choice) in what suit I was buying. I end up with a funky black topic with some color contrasts and some funky printed bottoms. It’s a cute suit…but it’s a bikini.
I’ve always been a heavier girl. Is it genetic? Not really. Do I have a slow metabolism? Most likely. Do I despise running? Absolutely. (At 5 feet tall, my 5’9″ teammate could probably match my sprint with three strides of her jog. Hooray genetics!) I play field hockey for my university, so I’m no longer in as terrible shape as I used to be, but I wouldn’t call my body, a bikini body. Before you all start in on the whole, “Any body is a bikini body!” or “Love your body, stay positive!” Yes, I hear you. That doesn’t mean my insecurities are going to disappear overnight. Most, but not all, individuals struggle with some form of body image issues, heck, Miley Cyrus claims that her days with Disney caused body dysmorphia, and I personally don’t find that hard to believe.
So, as we finally paid our $6.00 fee to head onto the beach in Seaside Heights, NJ, my nerves immediately kicked in. I was with my best friend, her roommate, and a few others that I wasn’t particularly close with. “What would they think? What would they say? Oh shit, what if they want to take pictures? I don’t want to document this!” Then, I took my shorts off and slowly I peeled off my shirt, cringing in anticipation of the whispers around me or shouts of “I’m blind, why are you so pale?” Or, “Look out, beached whale!” Yes, I thought people would be that cruel. But in reality, the cruelest and most judgmental person you’ll meet in this world is your own reflection.
You are the only one who controls your self-worth and confidence. Sure, people can comment negatively and positively about your appearance, your gender, your personality, they will say anything and everything about you. The only opinions that matter are your own. When you’re lying in a casket, with your loved ones standing around and remembering you and your life, would you rather them praise your beauty and how so many people strived to look you or have them relive your achievements and hear who want and wish to do the amazing things you did and the decorated human being you were? The choice is yours, choose wisely.