Hey you. July Fourth weekend is coming up. All your friends are so excited. There’s going to be endless pool parties and trips to the beach. Everyone has their perfect summer bikini and shortest pair of shorts ready. You know because they’ve been posting them all over Instagram. #SummerVibes
You’ve always dreaded summer time. It’s an impending doom that you know is coming but you desperately want to avoid it all together. The thought of the heat makes you want to curl up in a ball and stay inside your air conditioned cave.
Of course your friends are excited and feeling care free. They have nothing to worry about. They can throw on their skimpy bikinis, run around the beach, and not worry about stuff jiggling. They feel most carefree when they don’t have to hassle with regular clothes and you know…bras. The thought of not wearing a bra or Spanx makes you twitch.
This is the time of year where they’ll really get all the boys attention. The boys live for this time of year when girls are pretty much half naked everywhere you go. You already know that none of them will be looking at you…like that. Oh they’ll be looking at you but only to tear apart your body and make jokes with their other immature friends. You’re the designated fat friend. A title you never applied for nor wanted.
You’ve grown to hate summer. At least that’s what you tell yourself.
The truth is that you actually do love summer. You’re a beach girl at heart. You spent your entire life at the beach. This is where you grew up. This is where you learned about life. This is where you learned how to drive. This is where you have so many beautiful memories. This is the place where your skin turns a beautiful bronze shade of brown and your hair gets gorgeous highlights that would cost hundreds in a salon. Hey, at least you have that going for you. This is the place that makes you feel the most at peace but also at war with your body.
I know how brutal teenagers are to one another. Here’s a pic when I was 16 and thought I was so fat. I thought that because that’s what I was constantly told. I thought that because nobody in magazines or TV looked like me. I thought that because I went to a school where pretty much everyone was a size 2, blonde, and white. I thought that because there was no social media and no body positive movement. There was no community or other women that could say to each other “me too.”
If only I was as “fat” now as I was when I thought I was fat. At 35 years old, I see a girl more than half my age in this pic that is absolutely perfect. She’s got curves for days in all the right places with muscular & strong legs and a killer tan. I wish I could have seen myself this way at 16.
I know you’re crying because you promised yourself last summer that you would never spend another hot summer feeling like a prisoner in your own body. You wouldn’t go through the pain and humiliation of getting half naked in front of strangers as they all stare at your body when you can barely stand to look at your own naked body in the mirror for more than 30 seconds without cringing.
You’ve avoided going shopping for a new bathing suit because you figured you’d lose so much weight that it was best to just wait. Now the time is here and you have nothing to wear. Your summer wardrobe is limited due to the fact that you hate summer and nothing ever fits right anyway. Oh and the fact that you keep telling yourself you’ll be skinny next summer so no point in spending all that money right now. You muster every ounce of strength to force yourself to go shopping. The beach and pool days are coming and you need something to wear.
So you head to the store to try on some swim suits and maybe a new pair of shorts.
The dreaded fitting room. You’re all alone again. Just you, the 3 way mirror, and a pile of new bathing suits in various sizes. You try the first one on. It barely fits over your hips. Once you get it on, you realize there’s no support. Your boobs look amazing in an underwire push up bra. A bathing suit with ZERO support? Not so much. More like a tribe member out of National Geographic.
Ok, it’s ok you think. I’ll just try another. So you do. Even more disappointment.
By the third bathing suit, you’re in tears. Staring at your naked body in the fitting room. Picking apart every single fat roll, cellulite, and stretch mark. Talking to yourself worse than a verbally abusive partner. Beating yourself up for every single time you were too “weak” to say no to a piece of cake. Every single time you turned to fast food instead of just feeling your damn feelings. Every single time you sat in the house on the couch instead of going out for a walk. “I’m disgusting. Another fucking summer in this fat body. WHY do I always do this to myself?”
You settle for the bathing suit that fits; not the one you fantasized about wearing. You think of all the ways you can back out of this beach trip. Then you talk yourself into just trying to have a good time and promising you’ll debut your new and perfect body next summer. Followed by more thoughts of how this is going to be utterly miserable. You’re an emotional wreck.
This was my life. I wasted so many summers feeling this exact same way. These thoughts still try to creep into my mind from time to time but I refuse to let them stop me from experiencing an irresistible life. I don’t want to be 60 and look at my 35 year old body and have regrets like I do when I see my 16 year old self. It’s never as bad as you’ve built it up in your head to be.
This fourth of July weekend, I want you to live. I want you to wear the bathing suit you always wanted to but were too afraid to wear in public. I want you to laugh. I want you to try something you never thought you’d do. Who cares if there’s cellulite on your thighs? Who cares if your boobs aren’t perfect and perky? I want you to run around the beach and have fun without worrying about a fat roll showing or what someone else might think.
Those people? They aren’t living your life. They aren’t the ones that will have regrets one day for all the things you didn’t do b/c you were too ashamed of your body.
I get it. You wanted to look a certain way this summer. You’ll get there one day if you stay focused. But right now? This is who you are in this moment. Embrace it. Find clothes that fit and flatter your body the way it is NOW. Find clothes that make you look and feel irresistible.
You only get one life and one body. You have to make the best of it. You deserve it. You are irresistible. Just the way you are.