I’ve just come back from 11 days in Turkey – a blissful break where I spent a lot of time lying on a beach, reading a book and having fun with the family. Having had a stressful 6 months, I was ready to kick back, relax and let the sun do her thing.
Then I had that horrible feeling that many women of a certain age get… what on earth am I going to wear on the beach? My body image has never been perfect, whose is? But it’s not helped by the plethora of adverts like the one below that have been hitting the magazines and billboards in the UK this summer. I could work hard for the next 40 years and still not be ‘beach ready’ by the standards of that ad.
That got me to thinking, though. Am I really so swayed by media expectations that I’m going to let them decide what I wear when I walk into the sea? Do I really believe that some bodies are better than others, and if my body isn’t then it’s my responsibility to keep it covered up? As the mother of a teenage girl, whose body image is amazing in spite of a disability, I feel it’s my duty to show her that our bodies are wonderful things, and we shouldn’t be ashamed of them.
Reader, I wore a bikini.
Yep, you heard it right. At 41 years old, it’s been at least 5 years since I donned the two-piece. But I’m proud of my body, it has kept me well, carried two beautiful babies, and allows me to live life to the fullest. If I hide it away, what am I saying to it?
Even better, I’ve decided to share that body with you. As you’ll see from the photo (credit to the husband) I’m almost certainly not ‘beach ready’ by Protein World standards. I have stretch marks and a softness in the middle that wasn’t there in my twenties, and yet I’m not going to let anybody, let alone some misguided ad company, decide what I can wear when I go on holiday.
The boost I got from finally being proud of the body I have, allowed me to be brave enough to try other new things too. I went down slides at the Aqua Park that a year ago I may have baulked at. I rode a giant inflatable pulled through the water by a speedboat, and I found myself wandering to the snack bar in only my bikini, not feeling worried about how I compared to other people standing there.
In short, I had a great time.
So that’s my post about how I conquered one of my fears this summer. Let me know what you’ve been doing, and whether you’ve been having as good a time as I have!