It has officially been a year since this self-love journey began. You may recall my post from last year where I came clean about how long I had been neglecting myself. I was determined to change. Never in a million years did I picture myself being the one criticizing myself the most! Last year I refused to get into a bathing suit in front of people due to my own body image. With many motivating words and encouraging nudges, I am proud to say I suited up with my new Union Swimwear one-piece bathing suit and conquered my body image issues.
As a young girl, I was told I was too small for everything. My size was not going to be the deciding factor on what I was capable of. I knew then I could do whatever I put my mind too! As a teenager, I was criticized because my waist was too small and breasts were too large! Assumptions were made based on how I looked. I wanted to move mountains and there was nothing anyone could say that would stop me…
Then I had children! Mothers can tear each other apart just as fast as we can lift each other up! One assumed disapproving look from that mom in the grocery store can shatter a heart. One simple sentence can induce anxiety and bring waterfalls of tears and by the same hand, one gentle hug can restore all faith in mankind. I can transform from a strong confident woman to a crumbling mess on the kitchen floor, to a mama bear with all claws out all in one day!
Last year as I hid indoors terrified of what others might say or what looks I might receive, I hated myself a little more! Is this the lesson I want my girls to take away from all of this? Is that drawer of bathing suits that are too small really going to keep me from going to the beach?
It was my mission to take responsibility for my choices. I was the one who decided it was easier to put everyone first before my own basic needs. I was the one staring at the bathing suits that didn’t fit and dreaded putting them on. The universe brought me exactly what I needed when I needed it most. I knew this when I met her because of how quickly our friendship grew.
My dear friend Kat from Our Happy Place Blog similarly had a life-changing summer herself. We bonded over our similarities, even though our struggles were very different. Kat spends her summer in a two-piece bathing suit despite her tiger stripes from birthing two children. She is aware of their presence and could care less.
Gracefully, she owns her tiger stripes as they are her physical reminder of childbirth. Those tiger stripes are so beautiful as they so proudly symbolize that this world is a much better place because she has brought two babies into it!
So why is my weight any different from her tiger stripes? They are not and she never once made me feel like they were! My weight is the product of two children just as her stretch marks are! Our bodies are amazing, they have changed to grow little humans who are going to make this world incredible! We have no reason to feel bad about that!
Society has a much different version of what “pretty” looks like. The world today shows us beauty by photoshopping cellulite out and smoothing out the rough patches. You don’t make a painting pretty by removing the paint! Pregnancy isn’t beautiful because your body stays the same, pregnancy is beautiful BECAUSE your body changes. Beauty is not about taking away. You add paint to a blank canvas to make it pretty, you had weight to a body to allow for it to make a human, we gain in everything that we do, so when did beauty become about removing?
Over the last year, I achieved everything I set out to do. I taught my girls that when they say, “you can’t run with us!” you start your own running group. I taught my girls that when you need something, you ask for it! Then I asked the universe for a few days to myself and it answered with the pleasure of hosting a two-day retreat for myself and 3 other bloggers to Bowen Island! My girls learned that weight is a number. Two races later, I can play with my girls again. I can jump on the trampoline, I can go down the slide and I am not exhausted. I created memories this summer, I took my life back!
Grab a friend, find a bathing suit that fits! I had this awful drawer of bathing suits that kept making me feel awful every single time I looked at them. I joked with my husband that they gave me ‘hungry bum’ and not in a good way! Finding these amazing one-piece reversible suits from Union Swimwear was key to moving forward. With 3 super cute reversible bathing suits, the hardest part was figuring out which colour to get and not spent worrying about who was where and what would they think.
Head to your local beach, do it at sunset if you need to! Small steps, you don’t need to go to some huge water park in front of a bunch of people to gain some confidence. You can also dress up these one-piece bathing suits with a gorgeous skirt and some slinky heels or a pair of dark denim jeans and a blazer. Start there and grow confidently.
The world is far too beautiful to sit inside. Change your perspective! The world isn’t beautiful because we take away and we hide things. Self-Love is a joyful thing and no one should ever make you feel bad for taking time for you, you’re worth it!
Disclaimer: I received this swimsuit free for inclusion in this blog post. All opinions expressed are 100% my own. I only bring you the good stuff!
About Union Swimwear: Amy and Sasha two Vancouver women wanting a one piece that was sexy but not too revealing came up with this gorgeous two-sided bathing suits but furthermore, they are also a social enterprise- where a portion of their profits go to a charity – Hope International. Sasha and Amy are buying/building a well in Cambodia. Next year, once the well is built – they are taking a film crew to visit the community that they have helped.
Facebook: @Union Swimwear