I blog and talk about body image fairly frequently. I’ve written about my self-esteem issues over my burn scars and my battle with the scales. We’ve had guests on our Podcast who have come on and spoken candidly about their body image struggles and how they’ve fought to overcome them. Those women absolutely inspire me.
But there’s something I’ve never really addressed. I’ve never spoken about how I go out into the world with my own body issues. Do I run around in a bathing suit with our kids at the beach not feeling self-conscious or afraid of judgment?
The honest truth up until recently was — NO.
I haven’t been truly free about letting the general public look at my body at the beach. In fact, I usually try to find a way to cover up — at least with a sarong or something. I probably haven’t walked around on a beach in just my bathing suit since I was in my early 20’s.
But not this summer. This summer I was 100% DONE giving into my insecurities — even the small ones.
This summer, all of the amazing stories of women who defied their fears and let it all hang out in their bathing suits finally penetrated through. This summer I had to remember there was a little girl by my side who was getting old enough to figure out if her mother truly loves and accepts herself or not.
It happened while I was on vacation in Canada. We went to the beach and I wore my black one-piece that I had so painstakingly picked out wanting a flattering fit.
I liked my new bathing suit. But when I looked in the mirror, all I could hear was that pesky voice in my head saying your legs look lumpy or you can see the scars on your thigh. The usual rhetoric from the peanut gallery in my brain.
But I was already decided.
I wasn’t going to do this anymore. It was time to put all of my writing and talk to the test. It was time to be brave and simply let myself be human.
I took my clothes off at the beach to reveal my suit. There were people looking — as people do. I told myself it didn’t matter.
I dropped my clothes in a pile, put my sunglasses on, picked up a sand bucket, and grabbed my 5-year-old daughter’s hand.
As we walked down the beach, I looked around. People were not staring at me gasping with horror. They were too busy living their lives with their kids, having a blast, hunting for shells and crabs. My body or what I thought about my body were total non-issues. This was life.
And so I joined all the other moms out there on the beach wearing their bathing suits — of all different shapes and sizes — and I realized it had been this easy all along. I just had to let myself go. There was no panel of judges waiting in the wings to condemn me for having a poochy belly, lumpy legs, or uncovered scars.
The only harsh judge was in my mind.
And so I walked down the beach with my daughter that day. I felt free, unburdened, and relieved. My daughter was utterly oblivious to all the chatter that had been going on inside my head. All the doubts, worries, and insecurities were not of her world. She didn’t care about those things. And on this day, with her, in my bathing suit, striding down the beach — I didn’t either.
More from Michelle: 4 Rational Reasons Why You Should Stop Dating Right Now
You can visit Michelle at her Lifestyle blog, The Pondering Nook & also catch her co-hosting at The Broad’s Way Podcast. Feel free to follow The Pondering Nook on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram & Twitter.