that my boobs never felt like they were really covered properly, and I felt like everyone was looking at how bad I looked, how white, how bruised, how scarred...
I didn’t want my husband to see - in case he realised that I wasn’t as beautiful as he thought I was, that maybe his illusion of my attractiveness would burst - in any moment he would see - and he would hightail it out of there, disgusted, ashamed to be seen with me.
Sarong clasped tightly around me, towel placed strategically, the sunshine was not my friend this time last year.
But this summer things are so different. But I haven’t lost any weight this last year. And I didn’t get a spray tan either.
I used to feel so tortured. Every beautiful bikini clad babe, olive skin, 10 years younger, confident and rightfully strutting, would send me in to horrid horrid depths of inner pain.
"Why don’t I look like that? Why didn’t I work out harder at the gym? Why do I bruise so easily? I really must use more Vitamin E creams, massages, fake tans, diets, green smoothies - I should spend more time tanning so I look that good - I look so awful in comparison to her, in comparison to all these girls - oh my god I’m so fat, so disgusting, my husband is going to leave me, he must think I’m so gross, I am so gross"
Tears would flood my eyes. So ashamed to be me. So ashamed to be in this body. I wanted to die. Leave this world where I wanted to be able to go to the beach. Be anywhere but here. Or move to New York or Paris where there is no beach - what a f*cking good idea...
But I couldn’t escape. This was the life that I’d chosen. The beach was where I lived.
Slowly as summer days wore on I began to resign myself to what I looked like. The pain would subside slightly, as my tan deepened, until something triggered it - a girl in the surf, a topless tanner close by, a confident bikini jogger - then it would rear it’s head again, grab me around the throat and strangle the joy out of my beach trips.
My constant comparison of my body to my perception of the bodies of others’ was there always. My hatred of the way I looked because I didn’t look like the pictures in magazines. I didn’t have flawless skin, I didn’t look like a woman every man would desire, or even one man would desire.
I felt desperately hopeless that this is what I was stuck with - this was the body I had no choice but to inhabit. My awful abnormal body was all I had...
But after almost 20 years of living in this tortured inner world, this year it was different.
This year on the first day of beach weather, as my usual patterned behaviour of shame begun to take over me I had a massive realisation -
"This was the body I had no choice but to inhabit. So I better get used to it. And I might as well accept it."
Because to not accept it meant I had to keep putting myself through hell.
And F*CK I was sick of living in that hell.
If other people on that beach thought I was unattractive because I didn’t look like the ‘perfect woman', then that is their issue-
If other people judged the way I looked and found me disgusting, then that is their problem-
If other people thought that I should get a spray tan and not spoil their view, then they can go get stuffed-
because I am who I am and that is all I can be and will ever be!
I am ME and I fucking love being me. And I want to have fun with life and not care about what other people think of me or the way I look.
This year I really really really stopped worrying about what other people thought about my body and the way I looked in a swimsuit - my one Kryptonite - no longer had any power over me...
And really it all came down to accepting the following incredibly powerful and f*cking important facts about this universe:
Each of us are born in our own human vessel - and we have no control over this.
We each have DNA that was decided long before we even took our first breathe - and we cannot do anything to change this.
Each of us have a past - and maybe made choices that we regret right now, or things we wish we had done better, or wish we had eaten healthier, or exercised more, or done something to prevent the way we look or who we are right now - but we cannot go back in time and change things - we cannot alter our past.
The media bombards us with images of what they classify as beautiful, sexy and attractive. We let them convince us of our unworthiness, of our ugliness, so that we will buy in to their world, their products, their measures of what it means to be happy.
But we don’t have to live up to their standards. We don’t have to buy in to their twisted sales pitch.
What we do have control over is what we think about ourselves and what we chose to do with our bodies and the time we have left on this earth, in this moment - right now.
What we have control over is the choices we make right now to give ourselves the best chance of having many many more ‘right nows’ well into the future.
We have all been blessed with the opportunity to be here on this planet at this time - to do something with our lives - whatever that may be - I have made the choice this summer to really cherish that,
- to not waste a moment worrying what other people may think about me
- to love lying on the beach in the body I was blessed with
- to have fun in the environment I live in
- to show the world that I am not willing to undermine myself for standards I don’t support - and just go f*cking live life and have fun being the body, mind and soul that I am.
Will you join me?