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Bikinis, body image and me

This summer I am going to buy a bikini.

Yep, in the next few weeks I am going to brave the shop lights and change room mirrors, and get myself an itsy bitsy teenie-weenie (not yellow) polka dot bikini.

Maybe not so teenie-weenie as the post card size one the 12 yr old recently purchased.

The 12 yr old’s first real itsy bitsy, teenie-weenie, polka dot bikini.

But a real bikini – not the half way measure known as a tankini.

It has been quite a few years since I last braved a bikini.

Around four years ago I did go down the tankini route – they were ‘in’, and I was heartily sick of the rigmarole associated with going to the loo when wearing a one piece.

The shop assistant who sold me the tankini talked me into a  bikini top as well – I already had the matching briefs, why not go the whole hog.

Safe to say I can count on one hand the times I wore the bikini top. And only ever in the privacy of the back garden.

Other than this folly, I am struggling really hard to picture the last bikini I owned. What I am fairly confident of, is that it would have been before children.

Before saggy boobs. Don’t believe me about the saggy boobs? Then ask the 12 yr old. I am banned from going bra-less in my own home, so abhorrent is my post breastfeeding rack to my offspring.

Before the nice little cliff top that overhangs my caesar scar.

Probably also before my cellulite became so bad it started to resemble the surface of the moon. And definitely before my spider veins started taking over my legs.

Not my cellulite. Although it could be. Image courtesy of enetguide.com/howtogetridofcellulite

So with all these glaringly obvious faults, why am I even considering the bikini?

Well it is partly because they are in fashionI try to follow fashion as much as the next chick. Sometimes I am better at it than others. Sometimes I need my husband telling me I am dressing like a granny, to reignite my love of fashion.

Yes I know I have mentioned the granny put down before. And yes of course I am over it – it just fitted in neatly with this post.

But the real reason I reckon I should rock a bikini this summer – is because I can. Because I am finally learning to accept my body, even with its faults.

It helps that when you go to beaches as much as I do, you get to see a lot of other bodies in their bikinis.

In fact you see a lot of bodies proudly displaying generous amounts of flesh. Which got me to thinking – if they can do it, why the hell can’t I?

Yes I am not perfect (see above). Nor am I a hollywood celebrity with my own personal trainer, nutritionist, herbalist or surgeon to help me look  amazing.

On the other hand – I’m not that bad either. I have been called a MILF a few times. Even with my arthritic body preventing me exercising the way I want to (boxing classes, I miss you so) I am doing ok and staying the right side of a size 12.

What really surprises me about my decision to don a ‘kini is – why have I waited this long?

Apart from one glorious period while living in Perth, I rarely felt confident enough to wear one.

Perth glory days. Yep, I’m amazed too.

Not even when my boobs were perky (ish) and my stomach was flat(ish).

Why is that during our 20’s, in my group we didn’t love our bodies enough to show them off? We didn’t wear bikinis, we didn’t do short skirts. And we definitely never ever wore midriff tops.

I guess it comes back to, as it usually does, body image. Wouldn’t it be a wonderful thing if we could all have body acceptance sooner rather than later?

I have hope for my daughter’s generation. Last month she bought her first copy of  Dolly. Gulp.

The first Dolly mag my girl has ever purchased

One article about body image urged mothers and daughters to enter into a contract, where they both agreed to never talk negatively about their own, or each other’s, bodies.

The girl wanted me to sign up to the pledge. I asked if she thought I could maintain my side of the deal – she agreed it was unlikely. We both realise I still have work to do in the body acceptance department.

She on the other hand has a healthy sense of body image. Save for the occasional ‘Have I put on weight over the holidays’?

I have all my fingers crossed that she maintains her positive body image – and that the polka dot bikini is not the last one she buys for 30 years.

Cheers till next time,

Ali.

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One response »

  1. Pingback: This time the truth about (my) body image | notforblokes

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