It finally happened. My swimming suit broke. The swimming suit. The one that I bought (as a maternity suit) SIX YEARS ago while I was pregnant with my first!
Now, I don't swim a lot, but I think it's a requirement with having little kiddos to have a swimming suit. Now, don't get me wrong, this swimsuit didn't have any magical powers. But it fit. It covered a good majority of my stretch marks, and didn't seem to draw any crazy attention to areas of my body that I really didn't care to have attention drawn to when I'm vulnerable and wet in the pool. So the idea of replacing it? Sounded treacherous. The idea of replacing it in October? Sounded basically impossible.
I ended up in a situation where we were in a much larger (and warmer) city with just enough time to squeeze in a quick, kid free shopping venture which is basically as ideal of a scenario as one could ask for.
I took a deep breath and began the long search through a row of outlet stores. My husband was more than cooperative and was truly supportive during a time he probably didn't even realize how much I needed it. We spent an hour in and out of a wide variety of stores. Some that I found had no swimsuits, some with swimsuits that reminded me of something my 17 year old self would have swiped right up but my have-had-children body flinched at, and some with suits that were way out of my "mandatory swimsuit need" budget.
After over 60 minutes of searching (and a 20 minute wait for a milkshake...) we left empty handed, except for the milkshake.
As we left, I turned to my husband and said "Well, at least I'm not crying so I'm calling this a win!" I laughed as I said it, but then couldn't get the words out of my mind. It made me sad to remember the many times shopping went so so much worse for me.
There was the time I first went up in jean size after high school and cried in the Buckle store in the middle of the dressing room because I couldn't fit in the size I had fit in for years and wasn't willing to try a bigger size.
There was the time at 37 weeks pregnant that I cried in the middle of Dillards because I needed shoes for a wedding just weeks after my new addition would be here but my feet were too swollen to fit into my normal size.
There was the time I ordered a dress just to discover it was WAY too small when it arrived just to keep it, because maybe one day it would fit. I then kept it buried in my closet hoping it would encourage me to want to make myself half my original size when really it just fueled my hatred for myself anytime I saw it.
My heart still hurts for that girl who couldn't hold in her fears and anger at her size any longer. I felt so alone. I cried in my closet as I couldn't figure out what jeans to squeeze into or which shirt would make me feel most comfortable in. I dreaded stepping on a scale or any discussions about weight. I was so unhappy with the girl in the mirror, I stopped looking in the mirror. I went through a stage where I was so angry at my body, I stopped taking care of my body. I know it sounds so counter-productive, but until you've been there you can't understand the want for change and the complete inability to know how to make it happen.
I am not saying my body magically became perfect, because *surprise* it didn't. And the way I felt about my body isn't something that changed overnight. In fact, there are still days where I have a bad day, and eat crumbl cookies in bed and regret it in the morning. But, it's something I'm working on. Instead of focusing on the size of my jeans, I focus on how I love the way they fit and make me feel. Instead of focusing on my stretchmarks, I am constantly reminded of how incredibly lucky I am to have grown my babies because bodies are amazing! As cliche as it sounds, the more I remember the positives of my body, the more I see them and can focus on it.
I hope that none of you cry anytime you think about shopping. Because, dang it no one should have to feel like that! But I hope if you do feel like that, you know that you aren't alone and you don't have to continue to feel like this. You can and should love your body just the way it is. You deserve it! So start today. Start with one thing you love (or even just like about your body) and build from there.
We want to be there alongside you on your path to see your own beauty! What kind of things do you do build yourself up? How do you love your body?
Thanks for reading,