There used to be a time frame - right around February/March - where i would start to get manic about becoming ‘Bikini Body Ready’. Heck, not even bikini body, any swimsuit-ready to be in front of people you didn’t know at the pool. We’re taught early on there is only one kind of acceptable body at the pool, and that stigma is instilled from a very early age. I remember around the age of 11 starting to feel ashamed by the rolls on my tummy - how when I sat down to grab a snack with my friends, how my belly poked out while theirs didn’t. How boys wanted to talk to them and I was left to hang out on the sidelines by myself. And up until a few years ago, media wasn’t your friend either. While brands are becoming more size inclusive and celebrating flaws instead of photoshopping them (hello, Target!) - growing up and being presented nothing but articles on diet plans and images of tone women in two pieces.
So you retreat. You decide that summer is best spent inside. You decide that you don’t deserve the same freedoms as others and hide your body because that is easier than putting yourself out there. And this was normal for years - Each time someone invited me to the pool, a trip to the lake or anything that others wouldn’t blink an eye at, I would politely decline. It came to a point where I stopped buying swimsuits and sequestered myself to covering up, indoors.
Then the #Fatkini movement arrived. Slowly images of women online wearing two pieces, showing off each curve, each mark, each roll -- every single part of their glorious bodies, was on my screen. And if they looked this beautiful, why couldn’t I? Their courage paved the way for designers to start paying attention. The plus-size swim market used to be black one pieces and flower-print tankinis. You didn’t see anything that was geared for young, fashion-oriented, bold women. That changed. Two pieces, string bikinis, bright prints, sequins, eyelets - swimsuits were now available at multiple brands, for every body and in every shape. For the first time we had options. Places like Torrid, Swimsuits for All, Asos, Cacique - pioneers in the Fatkini movement, were appealing to an underrepresented market.
But the movement doesn’t end with visibility. The movement doesn’t end with availability. The movement continues through you deciding that you are going to pick out your favorite swimsuit, put it on and look in the mirror with love. It is easy to see all that you don’t like, but really dig deep and ask why you don’t like those things? Where did you stop loving the sun on your skin, and how you see a sliver of your belly through the fabric on your swimsuit, or the feeling of jumping into the pool when it's 100 degrees outside? You are in complete control of how you feel about your body, and why waste one more summer being afraid of what others will say or let alone think? Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but yours is the most important when it comes to how you treat yourself. Let yourself live without barriers. No one is going to stare too hard, and your undenying confidence (even if you have to pretend for a little bit) will shine through. Everyone has their own insecurities when it comes to swimsuit season, so compliment the girl next to you on her swimsuit, let her know she’s glowing, that she looks like a mermaid - That kind of kindness is necessary and infectious.
Links to my swimsuit are linked below!