Over the weekend, I decided to let my belly breathe at the beach. This is a new one for me. I honestly can’t remember a time when I felt comfortable wearing a bikini. If there was a time it would have been in my pre-school days, when self-doubt didn’t ruin the joy of wearing my rainbow one-piece and jelly sandals. It feels involuntary at this point to suck in my belly while wearing a bikini. But why would I want to give people this illusion?
I could name all the external things that I am aware of that have shaped this behavior. Magazines, TV shows, movies, ads, workout videos, and photoshopped images on Instagram. I know that unrealistic images and portrayals of the human body create unrealistic expectations. I have criticized myself for not looking like the images I have been socialized to understand are “desirable” and “attractive.” The bikini tops in extra-small that I can never fill up, even with the built-in padding reminds me that being small on top is “abnormal.” But what could I have done if this was all that was offered to me in stores?
I would cross my arms to hide my chest. I would suck in my belly for photos. And I would cover up as soon as I had to get up. All of this meant that I was accepting these unrealistic expectations, contorting my body to meet them, and feeling disappointed that I was still falling short. And I always will because these expectations I have placed on myself do not take into consideration my genetics or my lifestyle (eating habits, stress level, sleep patterns, physical activity, and etc…). In other words, I didn’t consider myself in all of this.
I didn’t consider that I love to be comfortable almost as much as I love food. Or that unhealthy and unrealistic expectations of the female body make me mad. So where do I begin? I begin by accepting myself.
I let it show that I am actually happy with being a 32AA by wearing bikini tops that are designed to fit. I let myself breathe when I wear a two-piece by letting my belly be in the state it wants to be in. And if I want a flatter belly, I can work out more regularly. But I never forget to remind myself that I can’t be that image that I have been socialized to like because it’s not real. I do hope that the more I tell myself that I accept and love the body I see in the mirror, the more I am able to tune out all the noise that tells me I am not enough.
I have to admit this was a challenging post to write. How do I approach this topic of body acceptance and self-love with respect and inclusiveness? How do I make this thoughtful, considerate, and helpful? I am not sure that I accomplished all of this. But I do know that I was honest and I hope that in this, there is something helpful and positive that can be taken away from this post.
Bikini top and bottom are both from the brand, SKYE & Staghorn and are currently on sale on Shopbop with few sizes left. They also have it on Revolve for full price on the bikini top and sale price on the bikini bottom, also with a few sizes left.
Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read this post.
See you in my next one,
Disclaimer: Not an ad. Just sharing my experience and my journey towards self-love and acceptance.