I put on a bathing suit on friday. No big deal. Well, that is what I kept telling myself. “W and I are going swimming so I am putting on a bathing suit. This is not a thing to over-think.” Except…the last time I had on a bathing suit (last year) I also really pushed to get to the “no big deal place” and I achieved it. And last year I weighed roughly sixty more pounds than I do this year.
Last year I took my kid to the pool still firmly in the clouds of depression. Last year I walked out to the steps of the pool and climbed in and I was size, “fuck it, I’m fat.” I did not focus on my size or body because I was invisible and a blob.
I felt miserable on top of miserable. Shame on top of sadness. Guilt on top of fatness. Body issues. I have had them for as long as I can remember. Last year I would have told you I wasn’t dealing with body issues as much as I was dealing with my grief. I was just coming out of a time where I wasn’t thinking at all about my body. As in – I wasn’t taking care of it in any way.
This year the bathing suit I wore last year did not fit me. I wore a bathing suit I got from a thrift store many years ago. I put it on friday afternoon before picking W up from school. I looked at myself in the mirror.
I found myself thinking, “I am not ashamed of this.”
If I could have saran wrapped that feeling, that moment in my brain, and kept it to savor I certainly would have. That is NOT something I am used to thinking when I look at myself. I think I was able to feel and think this way because I have some sort of pride and ownership of all of the work that I have done to change my body. (this is usually where I would then go off on a tangent about how there is so much more work to be done – but fuck that. Not having that conversation today.)
I put on a strapless cotton dress over my bathing suit and left to pick up W from school. On the drive I felt happy, giddy with my body confidence. I had on a bathing suit! Pretty sure I got a couple of looks and double takes at seeing me in summer clothes at school pick up but nobody pointed at me and said I had no right to wear what I was wearing. I honestly think that was a fear I had.
When W and I got to the pool I was aware of all of the different body types and families and I exhaled and pulled off my coverup. W grinned up at me and then we were off. In the water. Because that is what you do in a bathing suit.