Buy the damn bikini

OK, I debated posting this, but after reading something an amazing friend just experienced, here goes. Its long, so bear with me ‘k?

This afternoon, I bought a bikini. Not a tankini. Not a cut out one piece, but an actual bikini. You guys. A bikini.

Anyone who knows me well knows that decades (literally) of body loathing and low self esteem and confidence have taken their toll, and I haven’t worn one since I was probably around 20 and deemed myself “acceptably thin enough” to pull it off. I haven’t bought a new suit since Q was a baby, so a full 6 years ago. And that was a one piece and a full length tankini, which I was never quite comfortable in, because heaven forbid it ride up and show skin. I am no longer “acceptably thin enough” to wear a bikini, and comments I’ve read about women’s bodies and who should and shouldn’t wear things tell me that I should just pretty much wear a bedsheet, because no one wants to see that.

Last year I wore a costume for my performance in Vertical Theatre that challenged everything I held true about myself and my body. It was a crop top with a skirt that sat on my hips. The first (and second and maybe even third) time I wore it in front of people I cried. I pretty much had a breakdown over this outfit. I questioned everything I thought about myself and wondered if I could go out in front of people, open myself up to judgement and not give a flying fig about it. I wondered if I was mentally strong enough to do it and I begged to have my costume changed. My mentor, pole mama and show director refused, saying that the costume was exactly as it was supposed to be, and so was I. She challenged me to question my beliefs and shed the baggage that I had been carrying for so many years. She showed me compassion but tough love and made me do the work to get there. She hugged me when I cried, but she told me that I needed to deal with my own garbage, because that is exactly what it was, garbage.

In the end, I put on that outfit for the shows, danced in front of a few hundred people in it, and rocked the crap out of it. I told myself that I was going to deal with my stuff and buy a bikini after that, but life happened and I didn’t get around to it. The funny part is that we took a holiday to California and then spent a week at the beach and I still didn’t buy a new suit because I couldn’t bear to “put myself through” trying on bathing suits.

I’ve seen so many things about who should and shouldn’t wear bikinis. My favourite was a chart to help you determine whether or not you had a bikini body and instructions for getting one. It went something like this: “Do you have a body? Do you want a bikini? Buy a bikini and put it on your body. Done. You now have a bikini body.”

Then some bad stuff happened and my dad died and the fact that you can’t, or shouldn’t, wait to lose 5 more pounds, spend more time in the gym, blah blah blah before you buy that bikini was thrown in my face. Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. If you want one, buy one. What other people think doesn’t matter, and the best way to look amazing in it is to feel amazing in it. So today I thought, eff it. Life is too short. Buy the damn bikini. So I did.
You don’t like it? Don’t look. My body, in whatever shape and size it is, does not exist for your enjoyment or comfort. I will not live my life anymore being afraid to be or do what makes me feel good because some arbitrary person has said that I am not good enough in their eyes to do it, and that included wearing a bikini at the pool or the beach or anywhere else I choose to do so. I encourage you to do the same. Imagine a world where we didn’t live our lives according to what the haters said? If we were comfortable to be free and confident in our own skin? I am not my tummy, or my stretch marks or any of my other flaws, rather, they are a part of me. If I can’t be comfortable in my own skin, enough to accept these things that are less than perfect, how can I expect anyone else to accept me?

You won’t spend your last days wishing you hadn’t done it, rather you will remember the laughter at the beach, the splashing in the pool, and the memories you made while wearing it. So buy the damn bikini already.

Comments

  1. says

    I love this post so much! It felt like I could see you walking away from a huge explosion in the background with your held held high, strutting out of the baggage victorious and not stopping to look behind you. I know how tough it was to put yourself out there – the internal battle to do it or not. I’m so glad you did.

    I’m not there yet. I did, however, go a few times without my arms covered up while I was in the Dominican in February. Wearing only my bathing suit (tankini top) and letting my arms be seen by other people was a huge, huge deal for me. I made the decision that nobody knew me and I was not going to suffer in the heat because of my insecurity. For the first time since likely my early childhood, my upper arms felt the sun and rewarded me with cute freckles. I’m trying to get up the nerve to do the same in October when we go to Jamaica for a wedding – of personal trainers – meaning perfect bodies everywhere. Hopefully when I go I’ll be travelling light and leaving some of my own baggage behind.

    xo

  2. says

    Oh my word I want to throw my arms around you and give you a big smooch on the cheek right now! Bravo sista! You are brave and strong and strutting you bad self around. You’re right life is too effing short! That top is awesome cute by the way! Love love love!.

  3. says

    My best friend has this exact mentality. In fact I think her words are “I don’t have to look at it you do, and if you don’t want to see it, don’t look. Her being this strong and bold rocked me to my core and since then I rock my bikini no matter what!! I wion’t call you brave, I call you a warrior!! Rock that bikini and don’t forget your sunscreen!

  4. says

    YOU ARE AMAZING! And really who gives a “flying fig” is the attitude you SHOULD have. Because if we aren’t doing things because WE want to do them for ourselves, they way are we doing them! I had the same feelings after having two children & being “large chested” I was afraid a bikini wasn’t appropriate for a mother running around after two toddlers. I bought the tankini because I thought that is what others needed to see me in. I hated it. I put my bikini back on this year. I feel great in it & that all that matters. And part of me feels like if another mom sees me and think well she doesn’t look 100% in that suit — I hope her next thought is “well if she can do it then so can I.” Right on sista’ 🙂

  5. says

    Wow. You have just inspired other women to self-love. And you look awesome doing it. I would be so freaking frightened by this….but YOU? You are rocking it, lady. Thank you for being brave, putting your beautiful self out there and not apologizing for it. Gorgeous!!

  6. says

    Congrats!!! I wish I could work up the courage to “buy the bikini” but I doubt that will ever happen for me. Apart from being overweight and having the oh-so-lovely tiger stripes brought on by motherhood, I am a redhead with VERY light complexion and I’m going to guess my stomach has never seen the light of day – even in childhood. Working up the nerve to wear a bikini for me would mean almost certain burning of unprecedented proportions. Rock that two-piece for me!!!!

  7. Gretchen"TheBrain"Kellaway says

    I literally clapped and cheered after reading that! Life is too same short to worry about what other people think! You are amazing, you are fabulous and it shows! I am going to buy a bikini too! Thank you for this!!

  8. says

    good for you! Enjoy your bikini! You look great, but how I think you look doesn’t matter a bit. Enjoy how you feel!
    I was on a yoga retreat in Maui last year, and all the women wore bikinis to the beach, except me. I’m okay with that because I’m old enough to be grandma to most of them and I wear what I feel comfortable in
    But I was pleasantly surprised that everyone seemed comfortable in bikinis. Not all the women were petite — about half of them were larger women and they all seemed comfortable. I thought it was great!
    I hope we are done with worrying about what others think, or dressing to please and impress men. I hope so!

  9. says

    i teared reading this! i recently went bikini shopping for my trip to mexico next week and just felt so disappointed and upset with myself after trying on so many. i’ve gained so much weight since my last trip, all my old bikinis no longer fit me and i just didn’t feel beautiful trying them on.
    i truly admire you for being so brave and being able to show the world just how beautiful you are! you should be so proud of yourself!

  10. Cass says

    BRAVO, girl!! It’s such a struggle to feel confident when you feel so exposed…to turn off those voices in your head that are telling you that you’re not skinny enough, fit enough, whatever enough to wear this. Thank you for taking the time (and finding the courage) to post this, and inspire so many other mamas to buy the damn bikini! You rock! 🙂

  11. Deniss says

    You look great Brandee and I applaud your courage to move through self doubt issues. You are a strong and confident young woman. ❤️

  12. says

    This was wonderful. I think many women struggle with whether or not they can recognize their bodies as socially acceptable. What we often forget is that no one really cares! In fact everyone we fear will judge us is likely wrapped up in the stressors of their own lives. For the record, I think you look awesome 🙂

  13. says

    Don’t like it?? Don’t look — do what makes you feel good, you’re not here to kowtow to anyone but yourself!! Rock on GF!! ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

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