For as long as I can remember, I have hated bathing suits. I’ve never had a “bathing suit body”. I’ve never worn (nor do I desire to) a bikini. I was the girl who cringed every time I found out that we were going to a water park for class trips.
I would try on suit after suit, cursing my body and the fact that it never looked good in a bathing suit. Sometimes such shopping trips would result in tears or using a t-shirt as a cover up. Junior High can be hell on a girl who is curvy and I am pretty sure it’s around that age that I started realizing I hated my body.
I’ve never been small, but I have always been that girl who “has a pretty face”. (And for FYI, that means, “You have a really pretty face, but the rest of you needs some work girlfriend.”)
As the years have passed, I’ve become less self conscious in bathing suits and have settled on a modest “tankini” with a skirt bottom to hide my thighs and legs. (It’s also the only two piece that I will probably ever own.) They are comfortable and actually cute. I remember one of our interns said, “Oh that’s a cute “mom suit” you have Sarah.” Well then……I guess I have graduated to “mom suits”.
Since it’s about a bazillion degrees here in Botswana right now, we’ve opened up our swimming pool. Realizing that my “mom suits” were a bit worn out, I thought maybe I would try my hand at trying to find a new one in Botswana. Since I’ve lost a little bit of weight from Whole30, I was feeling a bit more confident and even more confident when I discovered a well known shop in Gaborone actually had some cute suits. The only issue is that they were all one pieces. I hadn’t worn a one piece suit in over 10 years. I mean, I had to hide my “mom legs”.
But….I tried it on anyway. No longer caring about the size on the hanger, I grabbed a few and headed to the dreaded dressing room, having flashbacks of junior high. Ugh. I slid one on. (Okay….I jumped around while pulling one up.) Then I looked……well, not too bad. I could point out every imperfection, but then I was like, “No Sarah, don’t down yourself.”
I’m 37. I’m a mom to three kids. My body had changed A LOT over the past 9 years. I have marks. I have cellulite and my legs are white…..really white! And even more….I don’t really care anymore about what people think of me when they see me strutting my stuff in my bathing suit. I would rather be swimming and running with my kids and having fun, than sitting on the sidelines and missing out. If people want to point and make fun…..well then they are shallow and need to get a life. I simply do no care anymore!
And that is huge in my world! It means I am really changing. But I also think you get to a point in your life where you really just don’t care what others think.
I bought the suit and I was actually pretty damn proud of myself.
I text my friend and share with her that I had a moment today where things just changed. I no longer cared and by golly I bought a new bathing suit! Then I send another message saying, “Well I might not wear it to LIon Park. I haven’t bought a bathing suit like that in over 10 years!”
Later that evening I got a message back from her. I was ready to read, “Good for you Sarah! You go girl!” and then she said, “Uh, was this message meant for me?” I was like, “Yup…..was it weird?” She said, “Well kinda. Are you sure this is meant for me? I am laughing.”
I sat there silent.
Then I am pretty sure I had a flash back to middle school when you tell your best friend that you have a huge crush on so and so and they laugh at you.
I had shared a vulnerable moment and it backfired. And in that moment, all the insecurities came flooding back. Being vulnerable is being brave and sometimes it blows up in your face.
Re-reading my message, I was shocked that my friend had said what she said because I know this girl…..she’s NOT one to laugh at vulnerability.
Then I asked if she had gotten BOTH my messages and well the power of technology…..she only got the last one! The one that probably gave my poor friend visions of me strutting around Lion’s Park in a bikini! Oh my heavens….I giggle now thinking of that though…..and cringing in the process.
So, I re-sent my first message and got the exact response that I knew my friend would give and we both got a good laugh about the fact that my last message probably was a bit awkward. (Sorry Kathyrn.)
But it just made me realize…..we can have these huge powerful moments where we really think we have moved past these insecurities, only to have one split second that puts us feeling like that pimply junior high girl who is dreading putting on that bathing suit in front of her friends, let alone boys!!
Oh, maybe I do have a lot more to learn, but what I do know is that I HAVE changed. I realize being vulnerable might mean you get laughed at, but it’s the highest form of bravery. I’ll take the risk of being laughed at in order let people know what I am learning about myself. Because deep down….we’re all insecure about something.
And this summer, you’ll find me chillin in my “mom suit” by the swimming pool, not really caring that my legs are blazing white (ya’ll they NEVER tan!) but having a blast with my family and friends.
And my sweet Piper girl (bless her….she’ll be the one to take care of me when I am old.) upon seeing me in my new suit exclaimed, “Wow mommy! That bathing suit looks NICE on you!”
Sarah Witt, mom of 3 who just happens to be raising her family on the mission field serving God with her husband in Botswana. She is a Revelation Wellness instructor in Botswana and seeing God change the lives of women. Learn more about her and Kevin at Wild Acacia.