With summer just around the corner, many of us are prepping for fun in the sun. While children, mine included, are gleeful at the prospect of donning a swimsuit and heading to the water, there are parents who quake at the idea. I am one of those parents.
I grew up with parents who couldn’t swim. Because they never took me to any body of water, I never learned to swim either. I inherited a fear drowning instead. This is a terrible way to live. I stayed firmly planted in the sand while my friends splashed and played in the surf, canoed, skied and otherwise frolicked in the water. As an adult, I sent the kiddos to swim lessons thinking this would break the cycle of water fear. It didn’t because I never let them use their skills. I restricted them to waist high water. If something happened, I couldnt save them. Over time they took on my same fears.
Finally fed up with the shallows, I asked a friend at work to teach me to swim. We spent several evenings at the indoor pool in her parents building. It was humiliating at first learning to blow bubbles under water and practicing strokes and floats in the shallow end. On the way home from the first lesson, I cried. She encouraged me to stick with it, and in a few weeks I was swimming the length of the pool.
I feel brave in the water now. Last summer, we made an effort to allow our girls the same freedom. During a camping trip, we rented a boat and intertube. I was able to leave the sidelines for the first time in my life. It was exhilarating.
My terror is only partially swimming. I despise everything about wearing a bathing suit including the self esteem damaging process of shopping for one. I have two plain black tankinis that I have been recycling for many years. They are plain utilitarian numbers that hide the worst of my stretch marks. My husband hates them both and has encouraged me to try shopping for an update the last three years in a row.
I finally relented to subject my fragile ego to the chore. I am always torn about taking him with me when shopping for any clothes. His opinion about what is attractive relies largely on how much of my boobs are visible. He cannot understand why this is not helpful.
I tried instead to face the dressing room alone. I found two possibilities. Turns out, like my taste in men, I have a type. They were almost identical two the ones I already own. Now while there is something to be said for tried and true, I was shopping for something fun and new. I returned them both to the rack and went home to evalute the process.
Many body positive blogs later, I was asking myself why I was worried about the stretchmarks and stomach fat.
Need a little body positive in your life?
Love the skin you’re in: 9 uplifting body-positive blogs http://mashable.com/2015/02/28/body-positive-blogs/#VcskpcQKi05c via @mashable
Maybe I was ready to show some skin. Don’t get excited, Hubs-not that much skin. This weekend a 50% off swimsuits ad came through my email from Old Navy. Casually I mentioned that I might be in the market for a bikini. I flashed him the ad and suggested he help me pick one out. With visions of supermodels in string bikinis dancing through his head, we headed out.
Trying to be brave, I avoided trying one anything that looked like a grandma suit. I picked out only two pieces and even let Hubs choose a couple. Ignoring dressing room limits, I took the haul in and spent probably 20 minutes trying to figure what suits could magically meet all the criteria: boobs controlling cups, secure ties or straps, bottoms that stayed in places when jumping or running around, and made me feel both comfortable and confident.
Even with this impossible list, I managed to find a cute green bikini top and black booty shorts that seemed both daring and reliable. Its certainly not the flag printed string suit Hubby hoped for, but a step in the body positive direction. I intend to wear it at the first opportunity and cross another milestone off my list.