I wore a bikini. I wore a bikini on a beach in plain sight of everyone in broad daylight. I realize this doesn’t sound like much of an accomplishment. But this was my first time.
I once had a very respectable bikini bod but never had the guts to rock one. I always wanted to wear one. But I was too self-conscious of my scars, my thighs and too trusting of my Inner Critic. I mean she must know what’s best for me. She’s known me my whole life!
So three kids, two saggy boobs and one sad-faced belly button later, I was determined to kick her out of my life and don a stringy little reggae number I found at the store. In the weeks before, I had one of those moments where I realized that ego wasn’t about arrogance. It was about living in the outskirts of an authentic life and denying yourself your own love. I saw that the Inner Critic I so trusted was actually the voice of my ego whose mission was keeping my mind preoccupied with the small stuff and away from the real show. So I began to shut her down.
Fast forward to the day. . . I shed the last of the 40 pounds of baby weight but still had more stretch marks than could be counted and a body, though mostly in shape, that wasn’t quite the shape you see in magazines. But that was okay! Had I held on to my low self-concept, I would have sat in my cute enough tankini wishing I had the ovaries to get my Marley on. Instead I took off my cover up, revealing my red, black and gold to the world. And guess what? The Earth stayed in orbit.
I actually forgot about what I was wearing and just enjoyed the beach. That time wasn’t about who looked like what. It was about being there, fully there. I watched my little girl boogie board in her bikini. I inhaled the salt air and silently prayed she’d always have that two-piece ‘tude.
So yeah, on the surface it doesn’t sound like much, putting on a bikini. But that day, I won a personal 39 year battle and moved towards an authentic self-concept. It’s a concept that can’t be cultivated by planting my roots in pop culture’s shifting sands. It must be grown in the rich soil built by living my own truth and accepting whatever that may be. This shift in my thinking is an on-going process. That itzy bitzy teeny weeny Rasta striped string bikini was the first major mile marker reached as I walk away from my critical self and towards self-love. Freedom can be found in a bathing suit. Who knew?