Recently I read a post on Life’s Dewlaps (@dewlaps on twitter). And it inspired me. Made me think about what kind of role model I am for my daughters, especially when it comes to my self esteem, body image, etc. The negative self talk. How much of it they hear (hardly any), how much they sense, and how much they simply absorb or see when they observe me looking at my reflection.
This part of Jen’s post really spoke to me:
No, I’ve gained weight because over the last 12 months, I’ve eaten too much and exercised too little.
I was forced to face this reality yesterday when I went shopping with my 14 year-old daughter. I wanted a new little casual dress for a few events I have coming up. There were tons of dresses to choose from at our local mall. And I tried on a dozen or so. But every one that I tried on made me look round. Like a pumpkin.
And I don’t like pumpkins.
To make matters worse, I had to be super aware of what I said to my daughter about how I thought I looked. I didn’t want to say “I’m fat” or “I look fat” because I know that my attitude towards my body affects her own image.
Here’s a photo of me in 2007 in a bikini I bought in 2004 for a trip to Cabo for a friend’s wedding. Holding Izzy, one of my twins.
And since that time? Things have gone uphill and downhill. I’ve had three hernia surgeries (read: scars galore), a c-section with twins, and a singleton via vaginal delivery after I thought I was “done.” Then tubes tied. A-hem.
Fast forward to July 2013. I’ve avoided the pool at all costs. I don’t love the way I look. I look haggard/tired. I’m not taking good care of myself.
But I put on my
big girl panties my old bikini. It still fits. Yes, my stomach is a little flabbier, yes it has more scars, and yes, when I bend or lean over it looks like some giant shriveled up empty balloon or something. I have a lot of spider veins. I’m extremely pale.
But because of my girls…who are getting older, wiser, and smarter than I every damn day…I put on the old bikini and acted like I felt fine. Granted I didn’t lay out on the side of the pool in it, I promptly got in the water. And the pool was very quiet since swim team just wrapped up.
The point is? I did it. I wore a bikini. Who cares if I’m too old? Who cares if I have spider veins? Everyone else is too busy worrying about themselves to notice my flaws. And I want my girls to think that I feel confident enough to wear whatever I want (though you should know I’ve spent much of the last several years wearing tankinis w/ swim skirt bottoms). Not that I want them prancing around in skimpy bikinis when they’re tweens/teens. I suppose that’s another post.
So here’s me last Saturday holding Piper, who didn’t put on her happy face UNTIL we got into the pool.
Same bikini six years + 1 (different) baby + 3 hernia surgeries later. I should’ve taken close ups of my veins. Maybe next post.
Anybikini, aren’t you proud of me? I did it. And I
mostly don’t care. I can’t say it didn’t take courage, because it did. I stuffed my self-consciousness down. Because I need to work on this for my DAUGHTERS’ sake. They whine and want me to get in the pool and when I do they want to know why I wear a skirt, etc…
Well, screw that shit.
I’m not necessarily ditching my tankinis & swim skirts, but I am going to make an effort to send better, more positive messages to my daughters. Piper doesn’t count (yet). But the twins are 7 1/2 and watching and listening and eavesdropping every chance they get.
I need you to help me work on this.
I need to reaffirm to myself and them that I’m worthy, I need to set better examples, and make sure to compliment them NOT ONLY ON THEIR PHYSICAL APPEARANCES. Nevermind that that’s what this vain post was all about. Friggin’ bikinis. Sheesh.