Saturday, May 21, 2011

Still Waiting For Bathing Costumes To Come Back In Style

Today I decided to tempt fate and went bathing suit shopping with my 2-year old (in 2 days!!) and my friend's 3 year-old little boy, who I was watching for the day. My expectations were low, but I had to go to Target anyway to pick up some household necessities, so I thought I'd test the waters and see if the little people would be cooperative while I perused the racks. Mattie was content in her stroller and Jacob was happy to offer many suggestions of what he thought was "cute" and what he thought his mom and brothers would like.

After discovering an entire clearance rack full of bathing suits, I gathered a pile to try on and braved the fitting room. I only tried on three because I liked the first two so much and they were both on sale for $9.98. Instead of choosing, I weakly bought both of them, rationalizing that $20 was less than I had been planning on spending on just one new suit this year (I haven't had a new one in about 4 years, and really could not stand the thought of one more summer of the same old thing). I won't model them for you (as if), but here they are...

Was $39.99...I'll take 75% savings!
I like these because they really suck everything in, and since they're one-piece, I don't have to worry about the top accidentally sliding up and revealing the doughy mound otherwise known as my belly. On the other hand, they're not skirted to hide my upper thighs and butt, and two-piece is nice when it comes time to use the bathroom. But all in all I think I'm about as happy as I'm going to get about a bathing suit anytime soon. Was there really a time I weighed 110 pounds and hated going bathing suit shopping because I looked "fat" in everything? Wow, I'd like to go back in time and slap myself in the face, thankyouverymuch. I'd also like to post a picture of myself at 16 wearing an incredibly skimpy bathing suit (by today-me's standards), but I don't have a scanner and plus that would be just a little obscene and sort of mean-spirited (toward myself). Things could be worse. This I'll tell you, I will go in public wearing my new bathing suits. But no one had damn well better take a picture of me wearing them.

The thing is, I have always avoided making self-deprecating comments about my body in front of my kids because I don't want them to think it's okay. Bethany is nine - and s-k-i-n-n-y - and already says things about needing to lose weight. Kids pick this stuff up, this body hatred stuff, quite enough from everywhere else in society, they don't need to hear it from their mother as well. I'm sure I've slipped here and there and said negative things about myself in front of them without even realizing it, because having a negative attitude about my body has been ingrained in me for so long. It's just how I see myself. And it's just how I saw myself when I weighed 110 pounds and had no tummy to speak of (but thought I did?!). Anything less than 100% perfection is somehow not good enough. What jerk first decided that was okay, and that every girl in this country should grow up always believing she was not quite ___________ enough? 

As a mom, there are little things I can do to encourage my own children down a different path, such as wearing a bathing suit when we go to the pool or beach, and not complaining the whole time about what a massive cow I am. Unfortunately that's not enough. Because I don't remember my own mother ever obsessing about her weight or saying, at any time, that she was too fat to wear something; yet I still became one of those people who worries way too much about that sort of thing and who has never ever been content looking at myself in the mirror in a bathing suit. But it's a start. So even though I may not be thrilled speechless at the sight of myself in a swimsuit, even though I may be privately cringing on the inside every time I am wearing one in public and other people can see me too, I am going to carry on as if I am obliviously unaffected. And I'm going to continue to tell my kids every chance I get how beautiful they are...because they are...and I hope so much that they believe it and continue to believe it forever.

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