Sunday, August 18, 2013

Style Sunday: My Debut in a Bikini

Until this past week, I actually haven't worn a bikini in 11 years, since the blue string bikini I briefly wore when I was 18 during "Senior Week" in Ocean City, Maryland back in June of 2002. (I will not count the tankini, a two-piece that covers nearly as much as a one-piece does. This is a trend I participated in for several seasons.) Wearing a bikini again is a big deal to me, a major moment in my life. It means that I am pretty comfortable with my body for the first time since the onset of puberty about 15 years ago!

I'm not even down in weight at the moment. This is not a celebration of weight loss. I always fluctuate somewhere within the 15 pound difference between what I was at the time of my high school graduation and my highest weight at college graduation. (Thankfully, these numbers are the bottom and top of a single size in clothing.) I'm actually at the top end of this range right now. As a child, I was very skinny, but since I hit age 15, I would consider myself at an average weight. I am no longer skinny, but not big in any way. Overall, I am happy with my body. But, I definitely have a spare tire around my lower waist. My legs are actually muscular, not large with fat. Additionally, I do not crave wearing this particular item of clothing. What has changed is my comfort level with my body. Wearing a bikini is evidence that I am more at peace with my body, even its flaws. That I'm over dwelling on the negative so much.

I bought the bikini during my recent trip to Ocean City, Maryland on July 1st and 2nd. Packing for the trip, I distinctly remember thinking there's no way I'm wearing a bikini. Days later on the boardwalk, I'm committed to its purchase. I thought, "If not now, when? This is the last summer of my 20s! I should own one." The suit I selected was a sexy one at that! The top resembles a bra with a couple of pleats and even sports some padding and the bottom is a bikini cut with some extra fabric that folds down at the top. Both pieces are black. Even though I do not have a model's body, I still feel sexy in it. I felt like I looked good enough that I could get away with wearing it in public.

I wore it when my mom and I went to the beach on Monday, August 12th. (Monday was my first day off in five weeks! My prior day off was the 4th of July. This particular day off was the day after my last day at my part-time job at the luggage store, plus my boss and I had to fight for it from my full-time job since there was last-minute training scheduled. Thank you, D!) My mom has been dying to go to the beach with me as she adores it and could spend all day every day there. Conversely, I like a single perfect day at either a beach or pool each summer. We decided on the nearby beach on the Chesapeake Bay at Sandy Point State Park. It was a perfect outing. Sunny and in the upper 80s. There were a couple dark clouds in the sky, but when they hid the sun for a few minutes every once in a long while, it was a relief. We stayed for three and a half hours. I worked on my tan, gaining enough color to see a faint outline of my bikini. So great! I felt pretty comfortable in the swimsuit. As soon as we laid down the beach blanket, I easily took off the simple black cotton dress with spaghetti straps that I was using as a cover-up. I didn't look around at others to see what they were wearing, so I couldn't feel envious of them and bad about my myself. Comparison is the thief of joy. I just concentrated on myself, on relaxing and my tan. I did have an eye out for the abundant jellyfish though!

Even though I wished a guy would be excited about my debut in a bikini, my mom was actually a pretty good audience. She approved. See, we've always had a role reversal. With rare exceptions, I have always been very modest in public. I don't even own shorts and often wear a camisole under a shirt for more coverage on top. She's the one who urged me to be sexy and show some skin when appropriate. That my nice figure should be shown off. I know I am modest individual, but I also cover up because I know how to dress to flatter my figure. Maybe it's too many years of watching What Not To Wear, bur I truly understand how to use clothes and accessories to create a nice silhouette and flattering look. I know that I am a perfectionist in many areas. Why not use more clothes to manipulate how my body appears and achieve a longer/leaner/smoother/whatever look than what I am? Additionally, because parts of my body are not perfect, I previously decided that I shouldn't show them; I should always cover up. I am tired of being ashamed of those areas. It's not that bad. It's freeing to be okay with them! It's even fun to rock a bikini. To enjoy life without a major hang-up. I want to live in a happy, fabulous and wide-open way. I want to live life to its fullest.

I'm not donating my other two one-pieces, but it's nice to have this bikini in my collection. It's nice to have that sexier choice. Since I always have travel on my mind, it's also nice to know that I can pack a bikini for a care-free vacation. Furthermore, wearing it was a liberating experience. I overcame this personal obstacle in a real act. Accepting my body just the way it is likely leads me further down the path to feeling truly beautiful every day, even the glorious summer.

Need some style ooh la la? Enter to win the book Ooh La La! French Women's Secrets to Feeling Beautiful Every Day by Jamie Cat Callan here.

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