I've always wanted to wear a bikini, because all my friends did, but even when I was young, I felt ashamed of my body. My weight went up and down several times through the years, but I never felt like I was worthy enough to wear a bikini, for crying out loud.
When I was losing weight, I knew that even after the weight loss, I wouldn't have a "bikini body", because I'm pretty loaded with stretch marks--both from the excess weight and from having two large babies. My surgeon told me that even after my skin removal surgery, my stretch marks would still be visible, because of how high up they went. I was okay with that--I hadn't expected the surgery to give me the perfect body.
Every summer, when we go to the beach or a pool, or even a hotel pool, and I'd see women in bikinis, I would briefly entertain the idea of possibly wearing one, despite the stretch marks, scar, and loose skin. When I was at my thinnest, just under 130 pounds, I still didn't feel "worthy" enough of wearing a bikini.
Recently, however, I've started to feel more confident in my body--which is very strange, because I've gained quite a bit of weight this year (15 pounds on a good day, 20 pounds on a bad day). But I've been trying to step out of my comfort zone a bit, and when we planned our trip to Punta Cana, I thought it would be the perfect time to wear a bikini in public--because nobody would know me, and I'd never see any of them again.
There were very slim pickings at the store, because I went in late August, but I found a couple of tops and a pair of bottoms that were shorts (bearing my stomach was hard enough, so I wanted to cover what little of my thighs that I could!). I was going to return one of the tops, because I only needed one to wear for a single day before wearing a one-piece bathing suit, but Jeanie, my sister, convinced me that I'd need more than one bathing suit. She said I should bring it, and if I didn't wear it, I could return it when I got home.
We stayed 7 nights in Punta Cana, and before we even got there, I was chickening out about wearing the bikini. I figured I'd put it off, and hopefully feel okay in wearing it for just one day toward the end of our trip. When we got there, Jeanie told me I should wear it the first day, and just get it out of the way--that way, I wouldn't be worrying about it the whole trip. That made a lot of sense.
To spoil the ending, I never even took the tags off of my one-piece suit--I wore a bikini the entire week! It was funny to see just how my attitude changed throughout the week, so I'll share that with you here:
Day One: I was SUPER nervous to put it on. My hands were literally shaking, and I decided to go next door to my sister's room to ask her very honest opinion about whether I should wear it. I felt super self-conscious just standing in front of her, and we weren't even in public yet! She assured me I should wear it, so I put on a cover-up over it, and we went down to the pool. I thought maybe I'd just avoid the pool the whole day, and stay in the cover-up, but it was hot and I wanted to cool off.
Taking off the cover-up for the first time was SO hard. I was sure everyone was looking at me. Finally, I just yanked the cover-up off, and beelined down the steps of the pool before anyone could see me. I was so surprised at how the water felt on my bare belly--it was strange! Once in the water, I felt okay, because the water came up to my chest.
When I got out of the pool, I grabbed a towel and wrapped it around me, and then as soon as I was semi-dry, I pulled on the cover-up again. There was no way that I was going to sit on the lounge chair without covering myself, and that's how it went for day one.
Day Two: When deciding what to wear, I almost put on my one-piece, but then I realized that I actually wanted to wear the bikini again, because it's less fabric to dry off (important when you're in and out of the pool all day). Again, I wore a cover-up over it.
At the pool this time, when I got out, I dried off with the towel, and then laid on the lounge chair just covering my stomach with my hands. I was getting a little braver!
Day Three: Didn't even think of wearing the one-piece. Wore the same suit as the day before, because it was very comfortable. At the pool, I didn't even hesitate when taking off my cover-up, and I took my time walking down the steps into the pool. When I got out, I didn't hurry to cover myself up again.
Eli wanted me to walk with him to get fries on the beach. Instead of drying off and putting on the cover-up, I walked to the beach and back in just the bikini. I was sure everyone was looking, but nobody paid any attention--it was awesome!
Jerry and I spent probably an hour in hysterics, taking pictures of each other under water. It was so fun!
|I love this pic, because you can see the kids in the background watching us ;)|
Day Four: Wore a bikini again. We were going to go snorkeling, and Jeanie said we would just wear our bathing suits on the boat. I couldn't imagine that--walking to the beach, then to the boat, riding in a boat, getting in and out of the boat... in a bikini?! I was going to bring a towel, but at the last minute, I ditched it. We walked to the beach to sign up (the warning flag was up, however, so we couldn't go snorkeling--but I walked to the beach and stood there at the scuba shop for about 15 minutes in just my bikini.
Day Five: Jeanie went home, but I still wore the bikini. By this point, I had no problem taking off the cover-up, lying on the lounge chair with my belly exposed, etc. I even sat in one of the floats we brought, which isn't a very flattering position, but I did it anyway.
This day, when I walked to the bathroom, I didn't put my cover-up on. That meant walking all the way around the huge pool, to the bathroom, and inside where there were mirrors and women looking into the mirrors. I tried not to look at my belly (at least not judgmentally) in the mirror, but I did see it and notice the stretch marks and imperfections. But, I did not feel bad about myself. There were tons of women at the resort in bikinis, and they were all sorts of different shapes and sizes. Some with stretch marks, scars, loose skin, wrinkles, etc. If they could do it, I could, too... and at least fake being confident!
Day Six: The final day before our travel day home. There was one thing I wanted to do all week, but I was nervous to do it. It seemed so silly! I wanted to get a picture of Jerry and me on the beach, and I wanted to wear just my bikini--no cover-up. It just seemed like the perfect way to finish the week of the bikini.
So we went to the beach, and Noah snapped a few photos of Jerry and me. They aren't fantastic pictures, and I'm not going to photoshop out the stretch marks or anything. I like the photo because it reminds me of how I went from my hands trembling at the thought of wearing a bikini to wearing one all week long, and actually feeling confident in it by the end. When I look at the picture, I don't immediately look for my stretch marks, loose skin, and extra pounds. Looking at the picture makes me feel confident, and happy that I stepped out of my comfort zone. It wasn't nearly as scary as I'd imagined it would be!
If you've always wanted to wear a bikini, but you don't feel "worthy", I highly encourage you to do it--regardless of your size, shape, or imperfections. This was a HUGE confidence booster for me! And I guarantee it won't be the last time that I wear it ;)