I have a love/hate relationship with summer. I enjoy the vacations that come along with the warm weather, going to the beach, jumping into the pool and an excuse to grab frozen yogurt during the middle of the day. The number one thing I hate the most about summer – swimsuit shopping. The struggle with body image that comes along with shopping for a swimsuit. Ugh. I just hate it.
Swimsuit shopping is just a reminder of how imperfect my body is. How I don’t have a thigh gap, how I don’t have that perfect hour glass figure, or how I have cellulite on one of my legs, how my arms are flabby, how my tummy isn’t flat. It’s the worst. It really begins to overwhelm my mind and I begin to only see my flaws…and that sucks.
When shopping for a swimsuit this year, I realized that this is something that I’ve always struggled with. A few years ago my weight would range between 100-105 pounds. The tiniest I’ve ever been and I still thought I was “fat”. About 3 years ago, I was the fittest I had ever been. I worked out twice a day, ate chicken and veggies for lunch and dinner every single day, my arms were toned, my tummy was flat and when summer came around, I still felt that my body wasn’t ready for a bikini. Thank goodness for the increase in popularity of one-piece swimsuits!
Why do we as women feel the pressure to be perfect; to have perfect bodies? Why do we as a society believe that you have to be a size 0 to be considered beautiful? I feel that what we see in the media affects the way we perceive beauty. We’re constantly comparing ourselves to other women, a lot of times, unrealistic women – celebrities. We have this idea of perfection in our minds based off of what we see EVERYWHERE. We see perfect women in movies, magazines and billboards. What we fail to remember is that these celebrities’ jobs require them to maintain a certain look; that certain image is basically…perfection. They have the money to hire personal chefs to prepare their healthy meals, to workout with the best personal trainers for hours a day, the funds to try every new beauty treatment and not to mention hire some of the best makeup artists in the world. On the other hand, we have full-time jobs, kids and spouses to tend to, fur babies to walk, a house to clean, meals to cook, homework to finish, errands to run and still watch YouTube videos to try to learn how to fill in our eyebrows flawlessly (Ok, is that one just me?). It’s exhausting!
We also fail to realize that all of the women we see in magazines are more than likely professionally edited in some sort of way. Photoshop works miracles and if we could have every Instagram picture Photoshopped, girl, we would be looking like a million dollars too! I mean, do you think Beyoncé really looks as flawless as she appears in magazines? Gosh, I hope for our sake, she has some “imperfections”.
When I was at the beach last month I saw women of all different sizes wearing bikinis. They were having a blast, enjoying their time at one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, as I was feeling a bit insecure in my one-piece swimsuit. It didn’t prevent me from lying out or swimming in the ocean, but I definitely experienced a sense of insecurity a few times. I always think every single girl BUT me looks good in a swimsuit. This is absolutely not true. I (as well as other girls) need to remind ourselves that it’s normal to have stretch marks and scars. They tell your unique story. Just because you may not have a flat tummy or toned arms you are still worthy. You still deserve to wear that two-piece that you’ve had your eyes on. Girl, you rock what you love.
We need to stop being tough on ourselves. We need to encourage and compliment other women of all shapes, sizes, and ethnicities. We need to stop comparing ourselves to other women. We need to embrace our “flaws”.
We aren’t any more or less valuable at a size 16 than we are at a size 2. We are more than what we look like. Our bodies are still beautiful and strong and OURS. We should be able to celebrate it.
Remember, you are fearfully and wonderfully made, beautiful girl. Psalms 139:14