Today, for the first time in two years, I went to the pool.
Now I know what you’re thinking— cool Em, no one cares.
Well, I hope you’re not thinking that.
I care. It’s been two years. Not because I haven’t wanted to. Not because I didn’t have unlimited access to a pool any time I wanted to go. But because I was too afraid.
Let me explain.
I decided today was the day I was going to practice what I preach– to ditch the notion that our self-worth is tied to the far on our bodies.
For years, I have been too scared to put on a bathing suit in fear of being judged or someone thinking in their head when they look at me “She’s too fat to be wearing a bathing suit.”
As I got up the courage to go, I put on the one-piece bathing suit that I absolutely love. It makes me feel comfy and lessens my worry that one of my extremities is going to fall out of the garment. And believe me, there is a lot that could fall out.
I looked in the mirror, then at Jacob, and then I said “Do I look good enough to go to the pool? Like will I offend anyone with my fat?”
As the words came out of my mouth, I was so pissed at myself. Em, what? What the fuck does that mean? What about your LITERAL body would offend someone? I immediately backtracked, looked at him, and owned up to the deprication that had just taken place.
“I’m sorry… I didn’t mean that”
He said, “Say sorry to your body. It didn’t deserve that kind of hatred.”
He was right. As always.
When I got to the pool, I had to really focus my energy on not giving a fuck. It’s a lot harder than one would think, especially when everyone around you is tan and skinny.
Here’s how I did it:
- I brought a book that talks all about accepting yourself and breaking up with perfection, so as I was sitting there scared shitless that someone was going to judge me, I was filling my mind with thoughts of meeting my body where it’s at and learning to trust its process.
- I realized that probably every single person there was insecure about some part of themselves too. Whether they were tan and skinny or tall and thin, everyone has their own shit to deal with. Everyone has insecurities. That helped a lot.
- Finally, I just got into a mindset of “This feels good, this is what my body needed, Vitamin D is life, also the pool and sun feel AMAZING today.” Leaning into the concept of “What would you do if you weren’t worried about what you looked like” really helped me through the bad thoughts. In that moment, all I could think was, “If I wasn’t worried about what I looked like, I would jump in this pool right now and swim around.” And that’s exactly what I did.
The journey to body acceptance doesn’t have to be perfect. There are days I wake up, look at myself or feel my fat on my body, and just hate everything. It happens probably once a week.
But at the end of the day, life is too damn short to be worried about how your body looks in a swimsuit. It really is. And the sooner all of us in these bigger bodies start operating under the notion that we can do whatever the fuck we want, the easier it will be for all of us to accept ourselves as we are.