I read a post recently about weight loss that really bothered me. The author was a women who used to be overweight, but isn't anymore. She was worried because she was headed to a pool party with her co-workers. Even though she's not fat anymore, she was still stressed about being seen in a bathing suit. About swimming in mixed company. About enjoying herself because she's never enjoyed herself in a pool before, being that she was always overweight.
She got to the party, swallowed hard and took off her clothes. She got into the pool and had fun. The best part of the day was that a man picked her up and tossed her. She realized that her life was better now... that she was finally just a girl having fun in a pool.
I have also read a number of posts recently about eating disorders, and how hard swimsuit season is for recovering anorexics. I read words by women I admire about how they feel worthless, wearing a bathing suit. They experience crippling anxiety at the thought of sitting poolside and even sometimes break into tears because they feel so terrible about revealing their swimsuit bodies.
Is this really how we all feel? We get lost in day dreams about warm weather all winter long, but when it's finally here, we're devastated by the thought of bearing our arms and thighs and hinting at the roundness of our bellies?
I hate this idea. I hate the thought that an overweight girl believes she's never had fun in a pool because she was too fat for a man to pick up and swing her over his head. I hate that she was finally actualized as a real girl as soon as somebody was able to lift her. I hate that intelligent, successful, creative, talented, AMAZING women (and you ARE, too) feel ashamed to the point of tears over wearing a bathing suit.
I'm not the kind of person to say, "We're all beautiful! Love your body because every body is beautiful!"
The way I see it... Who cares whether or not your body is considered beautiful? Really? When we get our kids ready and get get dressed for the pool, are we doing it in the hopes of impressing a random pool goer? Maybe a man will feel inspired to saunter over to us and pick us up and toss us around, if we can manage to be skinny enough. Wouldn't that be a total fairy tale?
Let me ask you something. What if you were at the pool with your kids, and somebody looked at you and thought to themselves, "She's kind of chunky, isn't she?"
Would anything negative actually happen to you? Would it really matter if somebody thought, "She could stand to lose about fifteen pounds?"
I just don't get it. Maybe it's because we know that technically "attractive" people are treated better in little degrees, like maybe the boy at the snack stand would smile a little wider when handing you a popsicle for your child. Is that what's bothering us? Are we afraid that the teenager renting out inner tubes won't be as friendly as he might be to somebody with a better body?
So, since we know that the incredibly mindless society we live in might treat a perfect looking young person better than a mom of two with a sagging stomach... instead of standing up and saying, "That's ridiculous and I refuse to participate in such a disgusting institution."
Instead of thinking to ourselves, "I could care less what people who buy into that shallow and meaningless standard think about me," we try to squeeze and diet our way into the normal, societally mandated standard of beautiful.
Even while we're keeping in mind that public society is an idiot, and refusing to participate in other arenas of social expectation. Even when we work outside of the home, have an education, command respect and recognition for how genius we are. We still feel like we're nothing if we don't look like we're told we should in a bathing suit.
I'm not trying to be part of some kind of movement. I'm not endeavoring to get you all riled up and angry at The Man. I'm just saying, if you're at the pool with me, I might notice your flab, but I won't give a shit. I certainly won't treat you any differently than I would if you were a few pounds skinnier. I'll be playing with my kids and sunning my big, fat butt without worrying for a single second what the high school kids gathering in the grass are thinking. I'd love it if you would join me.
You might be "beautiful" just as you are, and you might not be. I don't care because I don't make a habit of judging people by the way they look. You don't either. I know this about you. You would never suggest to your children that they assign value to people based on how they look. Why do you judge yourself this way?