Okay, so I found myself at a department store this morning looking for a spring jacket when I rounded the corner and was confronted with the swimsuits. My first thought: “I need a swimsuit since I threw away the one I had been wearing for seven years that barely fit me anymore.” My second thought: “I hate swimsuit shopping.” There they were…this season’s most fashionable cuts and colors. And my mind was instantly awhirr with the myriad options: one piece, two piece; bikini bottoms, bikini tops, flared skirts; over-the-neck straps, two straps, no straps; padded, not padded; wires, no wires; long torso, regular torso; slimming, regular; cover-up, no cover-up; sarong, sundress. I sighed so loudly that I drew the looks of several nearby shoppers. One woman gave me something of a knowing half-smile and went back to her shopping.
I decided to just relax my eyes (like you do when you’re looking at one of those Magic Eye 3D images) and see what colors jumped out at me. I was immediately drawn to the turquoises, sea greens, and plum purples. Everything else was out. Okay…one decision made. The next was relatively easy: bikini tops were out. You see, I am what the fashion industry calls “full-figured”. I decided that today I would call myself, “Beautifully curvy”. Yeah, that sounds good. As a curvy woman, I would be looking at one piece suits that had enough strap strength to give me some lift. Men, you don’t know what you’re missing not having to deal with some of this stuff.
Okay, so I grabbed several one pieces in my favorite colors and headed for the dressing room. I felt my heart racing and my face flushing as I tried on the different suits, somewhat afraid to look in the mirror. At one point I repeated my mantra to myself, “I am beautiful, healthy, and strong.” It helped a little. My eyes settled on all of the usual suspects: tummy, love handles, thighs. To my surprise, I heard a voice inside me saying, “You’ve come a long way, Megan. This is your body and it is beautiful. You exercise regularly and it shows. Your arms look more toned. Your back is stronger.” Who was that? Is it possible that I really have enough gentleness, enough self-love inside me that I truly can stay positive…even when trying on swimsuits?! It seemed impossible and yet I heard it loud and clear.
Truth be told, I was not jumping up and down about how fabulous I looked. However, I think it was a huge step forward that I was able to arm myself with healthy body thoughts (realistic thoughts) and recognize the positive changes I see. I wonder if others of you out there can arm yourself with positive thoughts in the same way. Let’s all try to swim in (realistic) positivity.
Peace, joy, and health.