So fast forward a few years to the year 2018. Picture it, San Diego CA my back yard Pooloo. I am a grown woman, in charge of my own decisions, my own life and my own eating. At the highest weight ever in my life, all 285 pounds of me, I decided I could get, no, not just a two-piece bathing suit. Anybody can get a two-piece bathing suit, or a Tankini. No. Not me. Not this time. I gave myself permission for the first time in my life ever, to buy myself a real, true, honest to goodness…dare I name it? I think I dare! BIKINI!!! And that’s exactly what I did! The minute (or shortly thereafter) our Pooloo was finished, TLW and I headed to the nearest Kmart (what, I’m going to spend a lot of money at Nordy’s for my first bikini at my highest weight??) I picked out a cute bikini in size 3x in several different colors and proudly pranced into the dressing room to try them on.
As I undressed and anticipated how I would look, I have to say I felt a little trepidatious and a little naughty. What if my dear deceased Mama was in the dressing room with me shaking her head and clicking her tongue in disapproval? Well, I countered my thoughts, what if she was? By now she just might be all for it, all enlightened now and such! I kissed her briefly in my heart and continued to put on the first suit. Now mind you I have cried in many dressing rooms in my time, and mostly because I couldn’t fit into the cute clothes I wanted to. But this was the first time I cried for joy! The fact that at this age, in this body I was able to not only find (the times have changed so much since I was growing up concerning large sized clothing…) but put on and feel comfortable in a bathing suit I had wanted all my life. I promptly purchased the cutest one with a Hawaiian print and waltzed out of the store on cloud nine!
The first time I wore that new suit in my new Pooloo I couldn’t have been more excited and proud. All 285 pounds of me! I wore it faithfully every day to exercise and found that I felt a great freedom in that skimpy little outfit! I liked the way the water felt on my skin and the waves I made tickled me. I loved those feelings and wondered why in the world I had never gotten one before? But looking back at my life I knew why, and I was glad I had changed my mind about it.
Fast forward to about three weeks ago when TLW had her best friend from Elementary school, who lives in London, out to visit the USA. Her friend’s mother lives about 40 min from us, so of course we visit when she crosses the pond. She has three beautiful girls ages 18, 16 and 13. Now this is a true story, so don’t get all Scarlett O’Hara on me…the oldest girl, the 18-year-old has a waist that is literally 20 inches around. I kid you not. I know, I think Barbie just fainted. When we had them over one evening for a BBQ, of course we all went into the Pooloo and the Hot Tub. I have an “Old Lady” suit I wear around in public. Although these people are like family to us, I consider anyone who doesn’t share my house or my bed Public.
Anyhow, we were sitting in the Hot Tub and the subject of weight came up and of course I tooted my own horn a bit about the weight I have lost and happened to mention that I had a bikini. The 20-inch waister looked at me with the straightest of faces directly into my eyes and honestly asked me without any guile, “Well why didn’t you wear it tonight?” It was if a bolt of lightning had struck my head. Why? Well why indeed? And the only reason I could come up with was because…because why? I came up with some stupid answer and tried to move the conversation along. I don’t think she really understood the impact of her question. I had never asked the question to myself. I know after much thought and deliberation with the other jurors (my in-head council) that the reason is because I never felt cute enough, slim enough or good enough to be that bold.
Where was my body image? Was it still stuck in that 12-year-old body in the “Old Lady” bathing suit with the weird peplum and the gawdy flowers? Even since then when I lost weight, when I was very small by my standards, I never allowed myself to get a cute bathing suit. Let alone a two-piece or god forbid a bikini. Not that my whole self esteem is wrapped up in the way I look. I have been blessed with many talents and am very grateful for them. It brings me joy to use them and therefor increase my self-esteem. No, the body image thing is a whole different animal that I have yet to tame. So, I intend to work on it. I know I have already started that process by losing weight, eating right and exercising daily. That is always good for my self-esteem. I am now into my third bikini, this one bottom size 2X and the top XL. I am proud to say I feel beautiful in it whenever I wear it. And if you come to my house for a pool party, I might just wear it, unless I am in a size smaller!
The wake-up call from a beautiful 20 inch waisted 18-year-old was just what I needed to jar me into this century and into the here and now, not living my life in the past in that “Old Lady” bathing suit. As they say, Out of the Mouths of Babes.
Till next time, Peace out.