Guest blog by Nicole LaRusso of mommy & everything .
It began the summer I was 7 when we went with my grandparents to Disney World. It was my first trip and I could not wait to meet Cinderella. We stayed at the Contemporary Hotel and rode the monorail to and from the parks and Mom even took me to have dinner at Cinderella’s castle.
One day we were lounging at the beach of the Polynesian Resort when someone (I can’t remember who) made a comment about me in my green bikini. I remember looking down at my belly and wondering why mine had so many rolls when other people’s seemed so flat. My grandma told me not to worry about it and made me pose with her in a photo. But by then it was too late the seed was planted. And thus started my life’s hate of the bathing suit – or rather of me in a bathing suit.
Oh how I dreaded summer and shopping for a bathing suit. I always got a 1-piece but it never seemed to be flattering. Luckily we didn’t have a pool and didn’t get to the beach all that often so I was spared the pain and humiliation of wearing my bathing suit.
In high school my friends and I spent all our waking hours at my friend Rosa’s house which had a pool. It was high school, and the late 1980s, so lucky for me no one ever saw me in my bathing suit without a XL t-shirt over top. The t-shirt was not just a cover up, no it was so much more, for it could be worn both in and out of the pool.
Looking back I realize how utterly ridiculous this was. How can you swim, or even cool off, wearing a huge t-shirt over a bathing suit?? Thank god there are no pictures of this fashion disaster but the t-shirt did hang around for 4 years.
In my 20s, I graduated to a 2-piece which was a HUGE step for me. After much time and practice, I found that if I wore a bottom that came VERY high and positioned myself “just so” in my beach chair that I looked almost acceptable. (and more importantly, without the t-shirt, tan)
Things changed in 2006. I was pregnant with twins and due in July so there was NO WAY I would be wearing a bathing suit. The summers after the twins’ birth I found myself making excuses to avoid the pool or beach. Before long I was pregnant again and due in June – yes no bathing suit for me!
However, last summer the boys were a little older and began to like the beach and pool – damn! It soon became clear that I would need to buy a bathing suit. Oh crap!!
I had not bought one since 2005 and I had ZERO desire to try one on. So I did the next best thing – I ordered one from Land’s End (please hold your comments, they looked cute in the catalog). I selected a skirted swim bottom with a tunic top that was guaranteed to look “flattering” and “stylish”.
Um….no. I looked like I was wearing a bathing dress from the 1900s!! I dreaded anytime the kids asked to go to the pool or beach. I was completely and utterly self conscious and spent the entire time staring (more like gawking) at the other moms in their stylish bathing suits. Ugh.
A week or so ago I decided to take my 4yo to the pool. I looked all over and couldn’t seem to find my bathing skirt. It was too late to bail on Jake so I reached for the regular bikini bottoms hidden at the bottom of the drawer. I closed my eyes, held my breath and stood in front of the hall mirror. Heidi Klum I was not (or Kim K for that matter) but it would have to do.
When we got to the pool I delayed taking off my shorts thinking OMG what do I do? Do I wear the shorts in the pool? Do I cover myself with a towel? Do Iâ€¦. there was no more time to think because Jake had taken off toward the pool steps. I took a deep breath and got in the pool and you know what? I survived with no one laughing or looking at me. (amazing right?)
Once I let my guard down and focused my energy on enjoying my time with Jake it didn’t matter what I was wearing. I felt free and comfortable in my own skin for the first time! It was my very own “ah ha” moment!!
I can’t guarantee that I won’t fall off the wagon and reach for the bathing skirt on occasion or even curse my body for looking like it does. However, I can promise that I will try stop beating myself up over how I look (easier said than done) and start to not care what other people think. After all, I turned 40 in May and this is the start of a new and exciting chapter (at least that is what I am told by my 40-something friends) in my life. So look out here I come and I won’t be hiding under a t-shirt
Nicole is a married, full-time working mom to 4 boys and a long-haired dachshund (her only girl) who also blogs at mommy&everything . You can also follow her on Twitter @mommyeverything and Pinterest http://pinterest.com/mommyeverything.