Today I was invited to a bachelorette party, and this immediately triggered a lot of insecurities in me. I was uncomfortable in a bathing suit before children, and, although I’ve done a lot of work on improving my self-image, I’m still not totally comfortable in a bathing suit now. I also haven’t spent an entire weekend away from all of my children ever. The longest I’ve been away from the twins was when I delivered baby V. Can I be a good mom and spend a weekend on a different coast?
All of these inadequacies as a mother and simply as a woman bubbled up inside of me. I talked myself through it, emphasizing how silly it is to miss out on an event because of being uncomfortable with my body. And I reminded myself that it is very important for me to get out and be a woman, a girl even. I need to have an opportunity where I am semi-free of the responsibilities of being mom, and I can just be part of a bunch of giggling girls.
I was feeling pretty good at this point, and then I got the most dreaded text of any plus size/semi plus size friend in a group of non plus size friends: let’s buy matching bathing suits! Omg. I was planning on buying one of Ashley Graham’s new swimsuits and feeling like a supermodel, but now I was going to have to squeeze into an Instagram worthy bathing suit that accentuated my body in all of the wrong places. That was going to be IF I could even find one that came in my size. There tends to be plus sizes or traditional sizes, which makes it difficult to find one item that fits a variety of sizes. And as someone who is just on the cusp of plus size, it is difficult enough for me to find clothes that fit my postpartum body, without having to match them with other people.
So I reached out, “I hope there’ll be a one piece option cuz this mom bod hasn’t seen a two piece in years 😂.” And I asked if we could order suits through amazon because there was a larger variety of sizes, and we could try on different suits and send them back. Everyone was super supportive, and many agreed they would also prefer a one piece.
This made me realize how cohesive we can become as women. I’ve been texting on a group chat with many women I don’t know, for less than 24 hours, and I feel like we’re already friends. I feel more confident knowing I won’t be alone when it comes to struggling in a bathing suit. Sometimes we think we’re the only ones who are uncomfortable, but the truth is, we are not alone. Negative self-talk is an isolating experience, but I choose community, camaraderie.
I’ve had the desire before to avoid events because I did not feel comfortable in my own skin, but I have realized over the years how much more I have to offer than my body. I am compassion and humor and gratitude and intelligence and organization and leadership. None of these attributes have anything to do with my size or weight, and yet a self-deprecating day can shatter my confidence enough to begin to doubt my value.
And it seems so silly. Why does my outward appearance mean so much? I am so much more than my body. Yesterday was the type of day that triggered insecurities and made me feel inadequate, but at the end of the day, I was able to turn it around with a single thought, “If Ashley Graham can be proud of the cellulite on her butt, so can I!”