Today, I did something that I haven’t done for about 15 years (at least). I went to the beach without wearing some form of shorts/cover-up based clothing. Instead, I opted for a retro styled one piece:
This was a massive achievement for me, as I’ve always struggled with body confidence at the beach. Not only do I burn so easily (no joke, hubby and I spent 30 minutes putting on sunscreen), but I’m extremely self conscious about being seen in a swimsuit for many reasons. Firstly, thanks to almost 20 years of needing insulin injections (thanks Type 1 Diabetes) in my tummy area, my stomach is quite weirdly shaped due to what is known as an “insulin belly”: a build up of tissue/fat from so many years of injections. Unfortunately, trying injections and insulin pump sites on my thighs and bum didn’t really work for me, so I had to stick to using my stomach area. So, I’ve never been confident to wear anything remotely close to my skin to the beach, and was luckily able to use my excuse of getting sunburnt so easily as a reason to cover up.
Secondly, thanks to my NLD scar on my leg, I’ve felt very self-conscious about showing this scar around the beach too (even if the salt water is actually quite good for it).
However, the main reason would be due to being plus-sized. Due to my larger frame, I’ve naturally felt scared to hit the beach…thanks to years of teasing and harsh words from others at school swimming events, excursions and parties. Yes, I have been called a “beached whale” before.
Today though, hubby and I decided that we’d give the beach a try. We’re pretty certain that we’ve actually never been to the beach since we’ve been together, and after a hard day’s work at home, we wanted a summer reward. I trawled through my swimwear, feeling pretty awkward and worrying about how I’d look after the past week of eating yummy (but not gym-friendly) food. In the last second, I managed to find a retro black one-piece (brand new) which I picked up on an op-shop run. After deciding to try it on, hubby was very quick to tell me how beautiful I looked and, even before I suggested putting on some board shorts to cover up, that I could rock the one piece. Here I was, getting anxious about what others would think…others who I didn’t even know and would (likely) never see again. Why should I care about what they think, when the person whose opinion matters to me most thinks that I’m beautiful?
So, without further ado, we headed off to the beach. We’re very lucky to be surrounded by beaches within 5 minutes of our place, so we decided to hit a quieter beach (it’s a dog friendly beach, so having cute dogs everywhere was a plus too!). Once we got there, it was evident that because of how long and spacious the beach was, the people who were there were doing their own thing and not really caring about everyone else. We got our own little section of the beach to ourselves, and I jumped in the waves like the big little kid I am.
And you know what? No one cared that I was in a one piece swimsuit that showed my thighs and my body. No one!
I felt confident and happy, and still do. It was awesome, and I can’t wait to hit the beaches again this summer. Hopefully I can bring some friends along 🙂