I am all about setting goals that are reasonably easy to reach. I am also all about doing things that freak me out a little, and are generally just outside of my comfort zone.
Somehow it came up when I was speaking to my personal trainer that I’ve never owned a bikini in my life. Then I made the error in judgement of mentioning that perhaps that should be a goal for me since the idea of it terrifies me. He helps me set goals, which I am so grateful for.
Brian is great for pushing me to do things. I don’t know what it is about him, but if he says “do it” I say “ok.” So he said to me, “sounds good, when?”
I was immediately contemplating my escape from this situation, wondering if it was too late to block Brian’s phone number and move to another province. It was too late, before I knew what was happening, I’d agreed to try on at least two bikinis every month until December, at which point I was to commit to purchasing one.
This got my head spinning, wondering what was holding me back.
Obviously there were a few simple reasons why I didn’t own a bikini. First of all, I didn’t feel comfortable with my weight at the time, being over 200 lbs up until January of 2018, I just didn’t feel good to be wearing one. I know this was an issue of my own, as I was in BC at the hot springs recently, and there were plenty of plus size ladies rockin’ bathing suits of all types. Can I even use this as an excuse anymore? I’ve lost 40 pounds since January.
Another, more suitable reason was that my kids were small and hanging off of me in the pool all of the time. I felt that I needed what I called a “family friendly” swim suit that covered me up so the kids didn’t accidentally expose my lady parts to the world. The kids aren’t so small anymore though, so this isn’t a good excuse either.
What was holding me back? Was it my confidence?
In a life that seems like it was eons ago, I used to be a lifeguard and swim instructor. I basically lived in a swim suit, and continue to have no problem getting in the pool with my kids on the regular. I have photos of myself swimming with the boys in all different sized one piece suits, so the barrier preventing me from getting into a bikini seems like a mystery. Would stomach exposure somehow affect my quality of life? I needed to push beyond to find out.
I think for me, the less I’m exercising, the less confident I feel in my own skin. Physical activity makes my headspace one that can wrap around ideas like exposing my torso to the world. So now the experiment is on. I’m at Hangar 76 four days a week currently. Will I feel more confident as my physical strength improves?
I went at the very end of June for my first attempt at trying on bikinis, like I’d committed to. I had big intentions of going into a swimwear store and talking to someone who worked there to get help, since I’ve never done this before. I planned to drag a friend or family member along for moral support. I figured I am pretty social, and generally ok to go into stores to get what I need, so it should be a piece of cake.
I was so very wrong.
I was nervous and afraid. I don’t even know what of.
I ended up in a large box store, alone, so I could remain anonymous. I struggled to find my sizes. There were only a few styles of tops in my size that even worked for me. In the end, trying on the suits wasn’t so bad, but I still felt pretty awkward and completely out of my element. This wasn’t going to be as easy as I’d initially thought. I snapped awkward change room mirror selfies so I could prove that I did what I’d committed to and left as quickly as I’d arrived.
I generally think of myself as someone who is totally comfortable with being uncomfortable. That I can push out of my comfort zone with ease and glide into the unknown like a ship in calm seas. This threw me off. I was going to have to push a lot harder and really embrace this challenge full on.
I realize now that it isn’t about my weight, my fitness level, my size, but rather my confidence and willingness to really put myself out there. I realize that I feel vulnerable when my skin is exposed and I need to find a way to take that from uncomfortable to comfortable. My mental game is going to have to be strong these next several months.
It took me three weeks to even feel like I was ready to post these photos and share this blog. Now, I need to move on to the questions that I can’t help but wonder about as I near the time when I should be hitting the bikini store for another round of trying on swim suits.
Will my strength gains lead to confidence gains?
Will I be able to get out of the box stores and into a smaller store where I can get properly fitted into a swim suit that makes me feel as good as I need to feel to wear it?
Will my physical health increase my mental health?
Will I be able to overcome my fears of judgement and be in public in a bikini?
Will I ever look back or will I forever be changed into a bikini wearing mom?
What will my kids think?
What will my husband think?
What will my friends think?
More importantly, what do I think, and why do I even care about these things?
I have a lot of questions to answer, but in the meantime, I’d love to hear from all of you, what are your experiences? Do you wear a bikini? Do you feel afraid? Do you feel vulnerable? How do you wrap your head around all of this?