Bikini season is the f*cking worst. Walk by any store window display or scroll through your Instagram feed this time of year, and there's no avoiding the onslaught of Summer, aka the season of body-image anxiety.
Living in a city that hovers around 60 degrees for most of the year, I prefer the comfort of layered outerwear and wrap scarves, thank you very much. I feel naked exposing my arms, much less every inch of my pasty-white, far-from-toned flesh. So the thought of squeezing into a swimsuit that bares all of my jiggly bits is my personal nightmare.
Hiding under the aforementioned layers of fabric, I'm usually not super self-conscious about my size — what I like to think of as "medium" in a world that's so often defined by two categories: Victoria's Secret model or plus-size — but even when I was a teeny-tiny teenager, I remember hating my stomach and always wrapping a towel around my waist all through the Summer pool parties. Of course, today, I'd like to politely knock some sense into my former self (girl, you should be walking around naked in that body!), but those squishy stomach insecurities have never gone away.
Fast forward to my present, even squishier 30-something self, standing in front of a mirror in a one-piece swimsuit that despite being super cute and "flattering" (as in, it fits and doesn't cause any flesh to ooze out of ill-advised cutouts) I just can't feel good in. "I f*cking hate this" is really all I can think, as I try and fail to find the right angle in the mirror that will melt away all my self-doubts.
In the back of my head I'm also thinking, "I call myself a feminist and think of myself as being confident and not giving a sh*t about what people think of me, yet why can't I just put a stupid swimsuit on without feeling totally defeated?" Reading social media posts about body positivity makes it sound so easy. But it's a lot easier said than done. Once you're actually swathed in Lycra under the harsh lights of a dressing room, that's when you have to put those mantras into action.
So, how can you feel good in a swimsuit? I can't say this is a one-size-fits-all solution, but here's what I did that day standing in the front of the mirror that made all the difference in the world, surprising even myself. I was at home alone, with music on in the background, and suddenly my favorite song came on, so . . .
I simply started dancing.
A little shimmy at first, and then I just went hog wild, dancing like I didn't care what parts were jiggling, dancing like I was the sexy, confident swimsuit-wearing woman I wanted to be. And guess what? I was. Just like that. Will it work when I'm in public? Only time will tell. All I know is that when I was dancing, I legitimately felt better about how I looked in the mirror. Call me crazy, but it worked!
So next time you're on the verge of tears trying on swimsuits, throw caution to the wind and dance it out — it might just make you feel better!