I just ordered this bathing suit from Land’s End. It’s February and I’m looking at swimwear. I do this every year. And every year, I pass on the opportunity to clothe my body for a season of swimming. Thus, every year I do not swim.
I do not swim for a variety of reasons–well, at least two. The first is that swimming requires getting wet. I don’t have anything particular against getting wet–I do it every day in the shower, after all–so perhaps it’s the getting wet in front of other people that dismays me. The second reason that I don’t swim is that I don’t look like Christie Brinkley in a bathing suit. Even when I was of the size of Christie Brinkley, I didn’t look like her in a bathing suit.
The fact is that my figure flaws are exaggerated, exacerbated, and made paramount by the wearing of a swim suit. Despite never having given birth to a single child, my belly is–well, it’s definitely a belly. Now, in my later years, since my breasts have decided to bloom forth, my measurements put me very much in the full-figured group. I’ve got an hourglass figure–at least from the front. From the side? Not so much. From the side, I resemble a cowboy with kidney disease. That is, I have a pancake flat ass and a ballooning belly. I don’t even like to look at it, so why should I put it on display?
Because, goddamit, it’s my body. Okay, that feminist shout was strictly for the internet. In person, I’m whispering. Yes, it’s my body and I know I should love it. I should honor how well it works and how long it has supported me in my endeavors. Yada yada yada–and blah blah blah.
I do not blame the patriarchy or our consumer culture for the fact that I’m less than uncomfortable with the way I look in a bathing suit. I’ve found over the years that such blame doesn’t help the situation. My body is still my body, no matter whose fault it is that it doesn’t look the way I want it to. That’s the fact I have to deal with, and that is the fact that I must amend.
So–I’ve bought a bathing suit this year as an exercise in Immersion Therapy (yes, I get the pun; no, it wasn’t intentional). I will wear the suit until I don’t give a rat’s ass what I look like in it. I will wear the suit until the chlorine fades it gray. I will wear the suit forever–and I will swim.
Now I just have to find a pool.