Last Monday was the start of summer here in Canada...well kind of. It was Victoria Day on Monday or as many call it May 2-4 the first long weekend of the summer. Which is when I start to believe that we are done with snow and ready for some summer sun. In fact my family spent Saturday swimming at my brothers house. Watching the kids jump happily in and out of the water brought my brain to the part I dislike the most about summer. The onslaught of ads and discussions about "getting that beach body" or "get swimsuit ready". I firmly believe that you get a beach body by putting it on a beach and to be swimsuit ready you need to own a swimsuit and put it on. But I am aware that is not the case for most. In fact I had a vivid flashback to a picture of myself to a time that I didn't think I was "swimsuit ready"
For years my mom had a photo in her kitchen window of my brother and I on a family trip to Florida. I was about 10 or 11- not much older than my daughter is presently- and I was in my favourite blue and pink bikini. My brother was shirtless in his swimsuit and aviators (everything makes a comeback!) and flexing his arms-likely imitating some wrestler. He looked calm and relaxed and clearly comfortable hamming it up for the camera. I however have this weird look on my face as I am clearly sucking in my stomach for the picture. My arms were at an odd angle as I tried to pull my belly button closer to my spine (thanks Cosmo for that tip). WTF!! When did I learn to suck it in for the camera. I honestly do not remember. I do remember lying to a friend in high school when she asked me why I was sucking in my stomach for that picture. My response " I wasn't I was just thin" and the stupid part is that I was thin. My body was perfectly fine as it was and I was supposed to be enjoying this amazing trip that I got to miss a whole week of school from but instead I worried about what I looked like on the beach. This is something I do not want for my daughter or son for that matter. I watch her now, carefree running around in her bathing suit, and I think "how do I protect her from this" (now she is a gymnast-which will be a whole other post someday I am sure) But I know what I can do at home. Talk about bodies in a positive way (which we do), not diet (there are no good or bad foods here, just food) and show her that I love my body and I am not ashamed of it (this is likely the hardest one as we all have days this is hard). So I wear my bikini's- they fit me the best as I am long in the torso and they are way more comfortable than one piece suits(thought why did I feel the need to justify why I wear bikinis?)- without a T-shirt. Stretch marks from 2 pregnancies, an 8 inch scar down my stomach from a bowel resection surgery 10 years ago, and skin covered in auto immune psoriasis (scars and active ones) be damned. I need to show my kids (both not just the girl) that my body is fine just the way it is. And if anyone has a problem with that then that is their problem and societies problem. Not mine. And especially not the problems kids need to be facing.
So yesterday to further push myself even further into presenting my body as is, I joined (figuratively as I don't think there is an actual thing to join) the #SportsBraSquad by running in my sports bra. (Sports Bra Squad was created by Kelly Roberts and documented on her blog RunSelfieRepeat.com) I am attaching a photo for proof. Please see that there was no sucking in of stomach. So to the 10 year old me...nothing you have accomplished in life was because you sucked in your stomach on the beach that day, you accomplished it because you are determined, smart and caring. And none of that has to do with how you look in a swimsuit
And one final note on my sports bra run. An elderly lady was walking towards me as I ran on the sidewalk of a busy street. She signaled for me to stop and I worried something was wrong with her. She said "You are amazing for dressing appropriately in this heat!! Good job" and off she went. Sometimes it just takes a little comment to make you brave enough to take a selfie of your stomach and put it on twitter....and always remember the reverse is true.
Until next time be unapologetically you while I be unapologetically me....in my sports bra!