I fretted over this thought for a long time before I headed to Jamaica a few months ago. I was stuck, worrying about my thighs that weren’t as toned as I would have liked them to be and my stomach not as flat as I really wanted it to be. I stared at myself in the mirror, frustrated that yet again, after another year of “planning” to lose the damn 30 pounds by the spring, I had failed.
But, I just couldn’t not buy this bikini. It was so cute. A head turning bright yellow top and bring pink bottoms, I felt I would be ridiculous to pass up this super sexy bikini. Plus, I could always still go on a crash diet to fit into it by summer, right?
Wrong. So, so very wrong.
Jamaica came and went, and my newly purchased bikini stayed back in NYC. I took my usual high waisted black pinup bottom and hot pink top to match instead. It was safe and helped me hide my tummy. But it was no fun. I’d been wearing this bathing suit for a year now, and I wanted something fun. But, I didn’t think I deserved to have it because I hadn’t lost any of the weight I had vowed to lose.
A week ago, though, something odd happened. Daydreaming about a pool party (or just a pool to go to in New York), I realized that I missed out on an opportunity to do something I wanted to do in Jamaica. That was to wear my new bathing suit. It had nothing to do with anyone or anything else. I just really, really wanted to rock that bikini and take a lot of pictures so, when I’m old and wrinkled, I’ll have some proof that I was cute. But I didn’t. I wasted my money and let it sit in my drawer. And for the first time in a long time, I felt regret.
It was deep. I didn’t cry or have a meltdown. But, I was a little upset with myself. More so because I saw women in Jamaica with thighs similar to mine, tummies bigger than mine, and breasts that looked like mine in sexy bikinis. These women were confident and free and I was hiding behind a boring swimsuit I really didn’t want to wear. Frustrated about this while reminiscing on what “could have been” if I had just worn my new bikini, a thought crossed my mind that never left: the only person who really cares about how you look in a bathing suit (or in general) is you. No one was tripping off of me and my secret insecurities at the beach. No one noticed the extra jiggle my thighs had as I walked from one end of the pool to the other. No one, but me.
Summer is one of the times of year when many women stress themselves over their bodies. They don’t wear certain types of shorts; they find alternative ways to cover their arms and stomachs. I know this first hand because I’ve done this for two years. And it sucks and it stresses you out for no reason at all. First of all, it’s hot as hell! Second of all, it’s sad as hell. Who wants to live like that? It’s summertime for goodness sake (cue the Will Smith).
After my “aha” moment, I came to realize that if I want to lose 30 pounds, I can lose 30 damn pounds. What I want for my body is my prerogative. But, I’m no longer allowed to silently ridicule myself and put myself down anymore. It’s exhausting being insecure and also pointless because most of the time, we think that other people are judging our flaws. Usually, other people don’t even notice our flaws until we point them out. Isn’t that something?
This weekend, I’m heading home to Maryland to spend time with friends and family. My grandmother has a pool in her neighborhood that is so fly. I’ve just finished packing my clothes, and my sexy bikini.
This weekend, I’ll be wearing the damn bikini.
(Photo: Granger Wootz/Blend Images/Corbis)