Wow, could there be anything more humbling and demoralizing than shopping for a bathing suit?
At this moment... I really can't imagine that there is.
I'm heading to Hawaii in a couple weeks. I NEED a good bathing suit. My old suit has become threadbare and de-elasticized... and it had no proper support anyways. Before I started losing weight, I had fat rolls piled all the way up my torso that gave some built in "support" - but no more. I'm very busty - and now more than ever I really NEED a quality garment to provide some lift and control.
I've lost weight - 35 pounds! I've been feeling SO GOOD about myself, really pleased with how things are going along, really proud of the changes I can see in myself. But all that pride evaporates in the changing room, as I twist and contort myself, trying to tug and squeeze and smoosh into a bathing suit that is 2 sizes larger than my clothing size, and it STILL doesn't contain me.
I tried a really good lingere shop in town, that carries excellent bras in every size possible... they also sell bathing suits, great! I trusted them! The sales girl pulled off a few possibilities and started me a dressing room. But... cup sizes, what? Why do these only go to DD? I'm a freaking G. Maybe and F now, I don't know. But the bathing suits, oh, they don't size like that. So, 18D it is.
HA. Ok 20D.
24??? Seriously???? I'm wearing 18 regular in clothing now - what is up with these suits?? And even the 24 - it wasn't right. Yes there was lots of material to stretch all around me, too much, all baggy in the butt... but the torso is too short?? HOW?!! I'm not tall (5' 6"), I've been known to wear plus-petite... and yet I cannot stretch this thing enough to cover "the girls"... i get the straps over my shoulder and I feel like i'm being pulled tight like a drawn bow - I can't stand up straight without feeling the tension in the material pulling me down, rounding my shoulders... and for all that discomfort, did it at least LOOK nice? NO!! Just a shapeless sack. No lift, no separate, no support, no control, no tummy-taming, just a blobbish Humpty Dumpty look in floral.
I could have cried. After taking up 45 minutes of changing-room time, I slunk like a thief in the night out of the store when the clerk wasn't looking. I didn't want to hear her say "did you find any you liked? Can I get you another size?" I didn't want her to see my face when I tried to say bravely like I wasn't devastated, "no, nothing's striking me today, thanks all the same." So I looked left and looked right, when I knew she was involved with another patron, I bolted before she could say "thanks for stopping by!"
So. That was Humiliation #1 and it was thorough.
Off to Humiliation #2. Penningtons. They carry X to 5x. So at least here, instead of waiting while the clerk susses out the biggest of the big-girl-suits, I'll be able to try on the "smaller" sizes here. And maybe... just maybe - since this IS a "big girls shop" - they will have some styles that are appropriate for a plus size person. Maybe a tankini? Maybe adjustable straps? Well fiddle dee dee they DID. X, 1X, 2X... i grabbed a few of each and headed bravely into the changing room....
Gosh and golly, the little bottoms with the little upper-thigh-friendly "skirt" - looked kind of cute - and provided coverage all the way up to the navel (instead of hitting somewhere between lower-belly-roll #1 and high-hip-bulge #3). Good, so far so good. I felt my mood lift. Now for the tops.... ok... nope not this one, nope not that colour, oooooo ok now this one is nice! I pulled on a really cute little tankini top, it had 3 faux buttons and some contrast trim running up the centre, kind of this style
(Seafolly "LaVita" singlet - not what I tried on, just borrowing picture as an example)
which gave me some faint hope and expectation that it would lift-separate-support the way I needed... and I hoisted everything in to place. But wait. What are my eyes showing me?
*shuffle, squish, rearrange, shake, jump, shuffle*
Eyes wider now... what the....
*adjust strap lengths... re-check positioning of inner 'bra' liner... more shuffling squishing rearranging*
OH WELL ISN'T THIS GRAND. ISN'T THIS JUST $#&%^*@#&^*#@ GREAT.
Humilation #2. How do I even say this... the horror, the horror... oh, the humanity.... My boobs... are losing weight... AT DIFFERENT RATES. There's a REALLY OBVIOUS SIZE DIFFERENCE.
Now that is just not fair at all. That's just... wrong. So wrong. SO wrong, and so distressing... that I hit rock bottom, sunk a little below it, and finally... just started to laugh.
Time to drop all pretense of vanity. I am what I am, with all my imperfections. No sense dwelling... dwelling never changed a boob size...
But I discarded that top... I can seek some peace with my imperfections, but I don't have to HIGHLIGHT them with neon colours and ruffled piping and look-at-me-buttons...... ended up with this one, but with a "skirtini" bottom... and... I can live with it. It's bright and cute and I think I will be able to walk around on the beach wearing it, without feeling like i have to wrap in a towel or hide in the surf.
(Penningtons.com, Item #718538)
I was exhausted, mentally and physically (struggling with 45 swimsuits-worth of lycra in one day is a heck of a workout) as the clerk rung up my purchase. But, I was happy. I faced my demons, suffered the demoralizing frustration and embarassing revelation of new imperfections - and I came out the other side, alive and mostly unharmed.
And I won't have to do this again till 2014. By which point... oh who am I kidding. It will still be a descent into hell. Just in smaller sizes.