Louder for the people in the back: Bikinis AREN’T a form of bravery. I’m going to say it over and over again, because it seems to be a difficult concept for some to grasp and I figure rather than stew over it quietly, I can try and break it down. And I can show you me, in all my un-airbrushed glory and you can see that it’s not affecting anyone’s health or safety whenever I put one on, haha!
I can’t exactly explain it (or maybe I can, because here we are!), but I’ve been so frustrated with this ideology. I feel like it’s not a crime to wear a bathing suit, regardless of your size. Furthermore, you’re not some rare breed of super-tolerant individual for praising larger people who do decide to rock the body they’ve got. People from a size 00 to a size 30+ deserve to go to the beach in whatever makes them feel good about themselves. Historically, people of all sizes were walking around naked and didn’t know any better!
It’s not our responsibility, let alone our privilege, to walk around judging others. We spend so much time judging ourselves, as it is! If you’re not a fan of someones swimsuit, keep it to yourself. And likewise, if you feel inclined to lace your compliment to them with a remark about their weight or their confidence, you should probably just admire them from afar.
I personally worked very hard to get to a place within myself and my body to where I can focus more on my experiences in a bathing suit…like cliff diving, or sailing on a catamaran, or swimming in beautiful blue cenotes…moreso than focusing on what people may think or say because I am wearing it in the first place. Because, again, bikinis aren’t a form of bravery. Bikinis are an outfit for the beach, the pool, or the latest music festival craze-but bikinis aren’t a form of bravery.
It always feels a little insulting to me when people say that I’m “brave” for wearing a bathing suit. It seems like a relatively normal Californian (and um, human?) thing to do! It seems if you have to gush about how you admire me for wearing one, it’s an implication that you don’t agree with my choice to do so in the first place. Which seems odd, because I don’t need or ask for permission when I do.
I used to stand in the mirror picking apart that pesky back roll, how big my arms are, my scar on my chest from surgery as a kid….and then I’d head out in my bathing suit and those “flaws” were all I could think about. If I mentioned them out loud, I was sure to be met with a contest of sorts with someone else! “Well at least you don’t have these huge bruises!” or “But do YOUR boobs flop like this in your bathing suit?” I actually had a moment in Tulum in May during a photo shoot where they had the models sitting on the stairs leading into the water and taking a photo from behind us, and I declined the shot because all I could think about was how much I dislike that part of my body and didn’t feel like seeing a photo of it sounded like something commemorative to me. Luckily, two of the photographers, Megan and Jess pulled me aside during some downtime to get some photos and I ended up with shots like the ones below and realized my back rolls aren’t the end of the world (especially not considering my swollen/bug bite ridden legs), even if they aren’t airbrushed. Do I love them? No. Do I go out of my way to conceal them? Yes. Are they hurting anyone or defining rwho I am as a person”? Certainly not. That was something I needed to see.
We all obsess over some part of our bodies. And maybe you feel more comfortable wearing more bathing suit. There is NOTHING wrong with that! But take a moment to understand that your insecurities, preferences, and body image beliefs are just that: YOURS. They aren’t to be casted onto others to meet those same expectations you’ve set for yourself, and it’s not a compliment to point that out to them, even if it is generally well-intended.
All this to say, I am going to keep buying the bikinis. I am going to keep wearing the bikinis. And I’m going to keep posting the photos in the bikinis. They are my way of letting you know that it’s not brave, or derived from some secret store of confidence I’ve got stored away. It’s something I have had to normalize in my mind, and for my body, in an effort to love myself a little more. I had to stop acting as if it was some kind of crime to possibly offend others with my body and what I wear on it. I take great care to choose the things that I feel make me look/feel good, and I couldn’t keep giving that happiness away!
[/caption]Maybe this summer, you can be a little kinder to yourself and those around you and spend less time judging and more time making memories! Remember: bikinis aren’t a form of bravery…they’re just bathing suits!