So here’s me earlier this spring trying to be all — I got this. I can rock a bikini this year, these wrinkles are my proof of the two boys I carried and delivered, I OWN these muffins, check me … like the blogs I’d been reading that were trying to encourage all of us mothers embrace our bodies. And on the one hand, I totally get it. I am perfectly
happy fine with my body. I don’t really mind that I can’t lose these last 10 pound and that I might not – okay, never will – get my college body back again. It never stops me from a second glass of wine or picking at the crumbs of my son’s dinner when I’m clearing the dishes. I’m not embarrassed of my body. I am forty for god’s sake. I’m not looking for hoots and whistles when I wear a bikini. But I do want to feel good when I’m at the beach. Or at the very least, comfortable.
But I decided I might just try to rock a bikini again this year after reading yet another blog telling me to just go-the-heck-and-do-it. So I spend over an hour googling ‘bikinis for real women over thirty-five who’ve had kids and love dessert’ and find all the usual pictures and articles from magazines aimed at women my age – Oprah, Real Simple, Redbook, etc. One of them has a link to Zappos Couture, and I secretly find myself loving the idea of anything couture because well, it just sounds so mature and stylish, two things I don’t get to feel very often with two preschoolers in the house.
So I follow the link to this site to find an adorable high-waisted bikini that I think I can manage.
Two days later, I’m standing in front of the long mirror in my bathroom, putting each piece on slowly, psyching myself up to love the suit. For a reason I can no longer recall, I had once declared that I would never wear a two-piece again after I turned thirty, so I’m in new territory here.
I pull up the bottoms and look down. Without peeking up to the mirror, I can see that it’s covered up the stretch marks on my stomach, and my belly button is lost somewhere in the ruching. My butt is entirely concealed and the top appears to fit nicely. After babies, my ladies shriveled back to their usual we-can-call-ourselves-B-cups-with-enough-padding with minimal saggage (if I may coin that word). I consider myself lucky here.
And then I look up. And sigh.
It’s not going to work.
Not because I don’t love myself, or have serious body issues, or because I’m hearing my Aunt in the background telling me I have thighs like a horse as she did when I was eleven. (she meant beautiful, muscular, solid legs – but how was I to know?). But because how I envisioned I would look does not match the figure in the mirror. The bottoms on the Zappos model looked cute, and pert, and sassy. Instead I’m feeling incredibly uncomfortable and saggy. There is nothing wrong with saggy, and I still love my legs, but thought I might feel a little more like a vintage pinup.
So, thank you moms for the advice to rock the bikini. If you can do it, or even if you can’t, but you still feel like a diva in your strings–go for it! Why the heck not? I won’t judge. I saw a lot of you on the beach last summer and I was throwing out mental high fives to all of you.
But that day, in front of my mirror, I decided to give myself permission to rock the one-piece. Despite my best intention to get a little more skin in the game, I realized that I feel beautiful when I am comfortable. Who knows, maybe next summer I’ll try again. But I think I’ll search for comfy couture instead.