I did something yesterday that I haven’t done in 10 years. I bought a bathing suit.
My last bathing suit was purchased out of necessity before I went to Summer Beach Project in 2004. I ordered a plain, black, matronly one-piece from the Land’s End Catalog. And I spent the summer sweating in it under my clothes. The hot Daytona sun would beat down on my t-shirt and mom shorts but my fear of disgusting onlookers kept me from ever letting that suit see the light of day.
Last weekend on July 4th , I went to North Avenue beach with a few friends. We spread out our towels and flipped through a few magazines while we talked and snacked. Everybody else removed their sun dresses and enjoyed the beautiful day in their bathing suits. I sat there like a dope in a dress that’s 2 sizes too big, sweating uncomfortably. I looked like I had no idea we were going to the beach. And for the first time in probably 23 years, I wanted to put on a bathing suit.
My usual pool or beachside attire looks a little something like this.
Not exactly beach-ready but I felt safe and unexposed, hiding my body. Now that I’ve lost weight, I certainly don’t feel like showing it off but I don’t feel the need to deprive myself of fun summer activities, either. In years past, I’d skip the bathing suit section of catalogs and department stores because of the overwhelming sense of shame I’d feel just glancing at the suits. “Those aren’t for you,” my head would tell me. “Don’t even try. Nobody wants to see that. You’re disgusting. Hide.” My head isn’t very nice to me. I still think those thoughts… a lot more than I’d like to but now there are a few new thoughts popping up. “Who says you can’t have fun, too? Maybe you’ll look better than you think? Nobody is staring at you. How long are you going to deprive yourself and sit on the sidelines because of your fears?” So I set off for Macy’s yesterday on my lunch break just to see what they had.
There were the usual suspects. The kind of bathing suits refined ladies wear
and the kind hot, young babes and past-their-prime-but-holding-onto-youth babes wear
and the kind your grandmother wears when she works out at the Y
and there were a few that seemed appropriate for me, too!
I psyched myself up before heading into the fitting room. If none of them fit, it’s okay. It doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you. Just before trying on the 5 suits I found, I text my sister, “Trying on bathing suits. This could end in tears.” Shockingly and thankfully, all but one of them fit!
I narrowed my selection down to two and took a few dressing room selfies. Susie and Christian offered their opinions and unanimously chose…
(I can’t believe I’m posting this.)
My new bathing suit!!
Now, who wants to invite me to their exclusive infinity pool overlooking a tropical paradise? Or you, know, just like a boat on Lake Michigan or something?
tl;dr tired of being the kid at the pool party in an oversized t-shirt eating chips and hanging out with the parents