When we were packing to move here, I was surprised to learn that I owned three swimsuits. When I finally completely unpacked four months later, I was surprised all over again.
Like many women, I've long had a very bad relationship with bathing suits which I keep trying to fix. Hence three suits. The one on the left I bought just prior to a vacation in Cancun. Fun and Sun and time in the water. Perfect for a bathing suit, damnit. The purchase was prompted by something I had read about a company that would create a suit to each persons exact measurements. I choose the style and the colour, duly recorded and sent off the requested inches taken both here and there and received this swimwear back. I think I may have worn it once with tremendous dissatisfaction. In fact, this suit may be the reason I do not like ordering anything I might wear without first trying it on.
The suit in the middle, was the one I bought just prior to the vacation to Hawaii. Tim announced that swimsuits were required. I think it came from a JC Penny store in Connecticut. (That's two moves ago) It was the first time they were selling tops and bottoms separately so a person could mix and match colours, prints and, more importantly, sizes. Turns out being able to try it on is not much of a help. The mirrors and the lighting in the dressing rooms are going to take the blame on this one. They are so collectively horrid that I had that suit on for a total of 30 seconds, just long enough to say, "okay comfortable" and took it right back off. I am naturally rather pale and that ghastly lighting makes me look as if I'd died several days ago and nobody told me. The mirrors, well, let me put it this way, I heard myself mutter in a dressing room once, "If they are going to use funhouse mirrors, they should at least use more flattering ones". I stand by that statement.
The suit on the right was given to me by a friend. She actually purchased it for herself and then decided that she didn't care for it. She kindly offered it to me. I added it to the collection. I really like the colour and the fit is probably the best of the three but there is still just too much of me hanging out there.
When we were in Hawaii, I bought a sarong. I love that thing. I have worn it over the third suit many times. I also somewhere along the line found a bathing suit cover-up that covers me top to toes. Love that too. And if all else fails, I will wear shorts over the bathing suit and throw a button down shirt, unbuttoned, over the top. I think I am defeating the purpose of a bathing suit.
The funny part is, I can swim. I enjoy swimming. The part I don't enjoy is wearing a bathing suit in public. See, there it is. The public. Maybe I'm shy? No that can't be right.
A long time ago, when I was much thinner than I am now but still unhappy with the way I looked, a friend suggested that we gather up the kids and go to the beach. I hesitated before answering. She asked what the problem was. I told her the truth, that, at that time, I didn't own a bathing suit and I'd have to just wear shorts. She offered me one of her suits. I declined, politely. She pushed a little and finally I told her that I just didn't like the way I looked in a bathing suit. She laughed really loud and once she finally got herself under control she asked me, "What makes you think anyone is looking at you?"
Everytime I wear a bathing suit in public now, I think of that question. What makes me think anyone is looking at me. Probably the fact that I'm always looking at other people. Not in a critical way, just in general. I am an unrepentant people watcher and always have been. I cannot be the only one.
Hard to believe but the first time I actually wore a bathing suit once we moved here to Florida, was very recently, in fact, while our first guests were here. I'm at the beach nearly every day, for heaven's sakes! First time in a bathing suit was four weeks ago. We have now lived here for nine months. Of course, I wore shorts and a button down, unbuttoned, over it but it still counts.
I am hopeful, that as I continue to grow older, someday I will no longer give a rats patootie. I will stop buying into the fashion magazine and silver screen garbage that teaches women to be dissatisfied with their looks, and I will, at long last, have moved on from every body criticism I've ever received and wear the damned swimsuit in public and not give it a second thought.
I may need to start campaigning for a pool.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.