Status update: I am not bikini-ready.
Today I made my annual swimsuit pilgrimage to the local TJ Maxx, to throw myself upon the dressing room altar in appeasement of the god of delusion. Fortunately, this trek gets easier every spring, as I haven’t been bikini-ready in over a decade. I may never again achieve bikini-ready status. Or bikini-willing, or bikini-able.
To be honest, bikinis have never been my friend. I like to move when I’m in the water and I have a long history of wandering triangles, broken strings or leaving part of my suit behind, hung up on whatever I caught it on right before I slid off the pier. Truth be told, were it not for other people and those pesky rules, I’d rather swim naked. But the YMCA frowns on that, particularly on the waterslide. Why CAN’T I have the park to myself after closing?
So, I bought a mom suit again. The good news is my cleavage action is a lot more impressive than it was at 17. Tragically, the same suit that brings the girls together so nicely does some truly cruel and unusual things to other parts of the body. I also bought a swim suit cover-up, for the first time ever, remembering how hard it was last year to maintain my dignity at the water park without one. Also: flip-flops. Mine have arch supports. And bling. They are awesome.
And no more tanning. I used to be addicted to tanning. Last summer I had my first little bit of face-cancer removed, and I hope it will be the last. So I will be pale, and vein-y, and vain, apparently, in my ruched sausage suit, albeit with nice hooters and geriatric flip-flops.
Is it petty that every year, as I cram my ass into that big clear plastic donut so that I can float around the lazy river, I am cheered by the fact that EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU SKINNY TWENTY-SOMETHING DIVAS IS IN LINE TO INHERIT THIS THRONE?? Yes. I know you think you are immune. No. Of course YOURS won’t sag. Yes, wearing three bras to bed will absolutely prevent that. Tell your husband I said so. And also, do you know what causes those little lines around your mouth?
But I digress. When I started this, I was gearing up to create another indictment of the media’s portrayal of the perfect female form, complete with bitter sarcasm and photos of the new mamas with the six-packs and the bow-flex grandma and that one famous 70+ fashion designer who graces the beach every year in a bikini looking very much like the walking dead, if the walking dead had access to a tanning salon, when I was interrupted by the thought that seems to keep popping into my head more and more often as I get older:
Who cares? I’m letting other people tell me what kind of swimsuit I’m going to wear? Worse, I’m letting what I THINK OTHER PEOPLE ARE THINKING to affect what kind of swimsuit I wear. What is THAT? I’m going to have less fun because someone else doesn’t like the way I look? I’m going to miss out on my last years in the wave pool with my kids because it might not be dignified? Hell, I KNOW it’s not dignified.
Truth is, I really don’t want to wear a bikini…what I really want is to be more comfortable in my own skin. The literal as well as the figurative kind.
That, and Naked Swim Night at the waterpark….