As a television news anchor, I often exude confidence. We have to in order to handle the backlash we often receive. Over the years, I’ve heard it all. I’m used to being ridiculed for how I look or the sound of my voice. Some viewers even chastise me when I make an honest mistake. It’s comes with the territory. I even wrote an article about being comfortable in my own skin. And while I am genuinely happy with my physical appearance, there is one thing you won’t ever see me wearing — a bathing suit!
For decades, I hid under bathing suit coverups and shorts and avoided being seen in public in only a swimsuit. All of that changed last week, thanks to a group of girlfriends. This past weekend, my “skinny” friends taught me an important lesson in self-confidence and body positivity.
I admit it — I lack self-confidence when it comes to baring it all. On television, I can wear a flattering dress to hide what I call my “childbearing hips.” I know how to accentuate my smaller waist so viewers don’t notice my thicker thighs. I love how I look with clothes on, but my confidence takes a nose dive when it comes to taking a dip in the pool. Two years ago, we enrolled our daughter in baby swim lessons. I wasn’t about to put on a swimsuit in front of a group of people, so I made my husband be the parent in the pool as I sat on the sideline taking pictures.
With my lack of bathing suit confidence, it’s no surprise that I spent time plotting how I could hide my thighs while also concealing my self-doubt. As I packed for our weekend getaway, I thought of the ladies. We’re a group of friends who met more than three years ago, when we were all pregnant with triplets. Each of them is gorgeous and thin. I was the largest of the group, and my curvy features were about to be on full display.
After arriving in Florida, it wasn’t more than an hour before we were changing into swimsuits, ready to hit the pool and beach. I cringed as I put on a modest one-piece and covered myself with a dress. We walked onto the beach, and I couldn’t hide anymore. As I took off my dress, I shouted, “Don’t look at my thighs!” To my surprise, not one of my friends even flinched or gasped at the sight of me. Instead, one laughed as she jokingly said, “Oh, stop it, Stacey!” It was the wake-up call I needed. I realized at that moment, I was being ridiculous.
We all have insecurities and things we would love to change about ourselves. Maybe it’s your nose or a pair of scrawny arms, or maybe it’s something not visible like a fear of public speaking. In my case, my insecurity is my thighs. It doesn’t matter how often I work out or how much I diet, I will always have my hereditary dents and dimples. As we spent the weekend gossiping and catching up, I heard plenty of little insecurities shared among my beautiful (and skinnier than me) friends.
This weekend was more than just a get-together. It was a confidence booster that I was in dire need of. My friends made me realize that no one is perfect; we all have our faults. I need to embrace my body and be comfortable in my own skin. I don’t want to go through life holding back and missing out on the important moments, all because of a little insecurity.
By the end of the weekend, my self-acceptance soared to new heights. Not only was I sporting a two-piece swimsuit, I was frolicking on the beach with my friends, not a care in the world. I was no longer worried about what beach-goers might think of me. I wasn’t hunched over strategically trying to hide my legs. Instead, I stood tall and proud — a pillar of strength in my 5-foot-3-inch body.
Life is too short to care what others might think of me. And thanks to these girls, who have become some of my best friends, I’m now living life to the fullest — all while confidently rocking my bikini.