You Can And Should Enjoy Swim Season In A Mid-Sized Body

by Holly Garcia
Originally Published: 
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It has been hella hot lately. But for the first time, in like decades, I’ve decided IDGAF. Life is too short, and summer is too hot, to suffer silently in long sleeves covering my body head to toe.

This year was monumental because it was the first year I slayed in a two-piece, despite never meeting my ultimate goal weight (whatever the fuck that is). This was also the year I left behind what other people would think of my mid-size body. Or at least, what I thought they thought about my body on display in all its glory.

Does it sound over-dramatic that this was monumental? If so, then you’ve had the privilege of living your life in a body that may not be perfect but at least is accepted by society. Over the years, my body has been in one of two sizes: A straight size (at the height of my eating disorder) and a very curvy mid-size body. And I’ll be very honest, I’ve never been comfortable at either of those sizes. Spoiler — it had nothing to do with my actual size or weight.

2020 was supposed to be my year, and it was — sort of

You see, 2020 was the year I turned 30. Dammit — 30 was going to be the year I got my shit together. I’d started working on my mental health, and my mom had finally recovered to the point where my family could collectively stop holding our breath. Most importantly, this was going to be the year I finally lost weight. The long-awaited year I got in shape and would take pictures with my family without being embarrassed. And then all hell broke loose.

I’m not one of those people to find a silver lining in everything, but if I had to, I’d say that lockdown ended up being the catalyst. The catalyst for making progress on my body acceptance journey in a way I’d only ever dreamed about. I’d always assumed the only way to get there would be through weeks, and months, of daily weigh-ins. If I could finally just attain that number, I would magically be happy and wake up finally accepting my body. Y’all, that is not at all how that all went down.

Accepting my body, at any size, hadn’t been the goal for the past two decades. The goal, the accursed goal, had been to make myself smaller — to take up less space. To live in a body that made everyone around me comfortable in hopes that then I could finally be comfortable. How fucked up is that? While it might be insidious to think that way, it also isn’t uncommon.

The inspiration behind sharing this journey and experience with you comes from an empowering conversation Scary Mommy had with Dr. Jillian Lampert, Ph.D., MPH, RD, LD, FAED with The Emily Program. When asked what she hopes to contribute to the conversation around body acceptance and recovery from the negative inner dialogue, she said, “Imagine a world where we can have a peaceful relationship with food, with our body, and with ourselves.”

What a freaking brilliant concept! The conversation continued, and Dr. Jillian elaborated on steps to take toward this peaceful lifestyle. “We can cultivate body positivity (and body acceptance) by looking for the hopefuls in our day-to-day situations.” I took this advice and ran with it like a madwoman.

Showing off my mid-size body didn’t stop the world from turning.

When debuting my first ever two-piece bathing suit, I focused less on what my body looked like in it, and more on the day in front of me. It was sunny! It was hot, but I didn’t feel like I was going to melt. My girls, their laughter and joyous screams every time they heard the warning siren that the waves in the wave pool were about to begin. That’s what I focused on that day. And honestly, that’s what I remember.

Not once did I think about what someone else was thinking when they looked at my body. Not once did I think about how much of my stomach, stretch marks, or any part of me was showing. Well, except for the one instance I almost lost my top against a particularly rough wave (D cups and strapless tops just never mix).

Having that attitude and being in this mindset is thanks, in part, to the conversation with Dr. Jillian. “Here’s the thing. For every person you think is looking at you and judging you, the reality of the situation is they’re looking at you, looking at them. While thinking the same thing you are.” I never thought about it that way. I mean we know that we aren’t the only body-insecure people living on this planet, but you don’t stop and think about the fact that, really, no one is looking because we’re all too worried about the same thing, ourselves.

The bottom line is this: You might not be comfortable seeing my mid-size body out and about in a bathing suit made for a straight-size body, and that’s okay. What you choose to wear isn’t about anyone’s comfort but your own. Don’t wait for the next new year or your next birthday to jump on your own body acceptance journey. Because I’m telling you, while it’s a wild ride with its ups and downs, it’s absolutely one worth taking.

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