You may have heard the quote, “How do you get a bikini body? You wear a bikini.”
It feels empowering, laced with feminist energy.
It paints the picture of bikini clad women of every age and size splashing along the beach in droves, owning their confidence and living their best lives.
And for some of us, we may be saying “Yes! You go, girl!” knowing full well we’d be sitting somewhere on the sidelines in the sand with our carefully chosen cover up not going anywhere. After all, sure – some women can just “wear the bikini” but it’s easier said than done. In fact, it feels impossible right now.
Sure, maybe once you lose the baby weight? Or perhaps 10 years ago in your forties? Certainly after your gym plan goes into action and your wobbly bits are a little less, well, wobbly?
You just have to wait, right? Then you’ll have your day in the sun.
What does waiting look like?
The year is 2001, it’s the summer before seventh grade and my mom agrees to take me back-to-school shopping. (Pivotal moment for a middle school girl.) My mom and I both love a good deal so we head to T.J. Maxx where I’m reminded for the third time not to get distracted on anything other than school clothes.
Spoiler alert, I immediately get distracted. Walking through the store looking through racks I spot this black and white, polka dot bikini and discover it’s on clearance and in my size. Staring at this swimsuit, I know that this swimsuit is “the” swimsuit.
This is the swimsuit that I will wear when I finally say yes to attending my first pool party or joining friends for a beach trip for the first time. I know that by next summer, I’m going to be looking good because I am not letting anything get in my way this year when it comes to losing weight.
Seventh grade comes and goes followed by the summer after eighth grade and the tags stay on the swimsuit. The summer before high school comes and goes and the summer after that and the tags continue to remain firmly attached to the swimsuit. (Can you see where this is going?)
Until one day, I am a married woman unpacking a box full of clothing to put away in our new home and what should be staring back at me? The black and white, polka dot, summer-before seventh-grade, T.J. Maxx bikini with all its hopes and dreams.
What is waiting costing you?
I stared at that swimsuit and was flooded by memories of all the things I had said no to, waiting to be deserving of that swimsuit. I thought about party invites I declined, beach trips I spent sweating on the sand never getting in the water and so many times I waited for perfection that never came.
I pulled out my scissors and while I wanted to cut that swimsuit into a million pieces, instead I tried it on and looked in the mirror for a moment. And that summer, I went to the community pool, by myself wearing that bikini because I was done waiting. In fact, a few short summers later in a very postpartum body I wore it again for our little family’s first beach trip, reminding myself I was done waiting to love my body.
It’s never really about a swimsuit.
This idea of waiting for perfection is costing us too much. We have to stop and ask, “How long is too long to wait?”
How long is too long to wait to enjoy summers at the beach with your kids? To lie on a towel feeling the sun on your thighs? Splash around with your grandkids in the pool? To stop being at war with the body that has done so much for you and start showing it love?
The truth is, the reason we don’t slip on that swimsuit hiding in the dresser isn’t rooted in a single ounce of truth. All those insecurities dancing around our heads are the falsities we’ve allowed to push out the real truth – that the body you’re in is worthy of fun and freedom. (Not a negative twenty pounds from now or 10 years ago, but right now exactly as it is.)
Wear the swimsuit.
This summer isn’t over yet. You have memories to make and a swimsuit somewhere calling your name. Don’t get to the golden years of your life wishing you had made a splash. Get out there exactly as you are and do it right dang now.