A few weeks ago a friend brought my attention to the Swimsuits for a Bagel blog campaign happening over on Tumblr. At first I was amazed and angered at the audacity of the anonymous commenter to call this (clearly not fat) woman fat. After I got over the initial anger induced aneurysm, it got me to thinking. So what if she was? What is up with the first world's obsession to fit into a certain mold? To be a certain size? To look a certain way? I am all about advocating for healthy, fit bodies, but not at the price of trying to defy genetics. Coming of age in the oft eating disorder ridden dance world, I've watched too many friends try to do that and fail. The price is just too high.
I have had a long and complicated relationship with my body image. When I was in the best shape of my life, at the peak of my dancing years, I was convinced that I was an elephant. This skewed perception barred me from auditioning for major schools and universities, despite having excellent training, and if I may toot my horn for two seconds, possessing a fair amount talent.
Things became even more complicated when at 22 I became pregnant. For the first time in my life, I stopped obsessing over my weight, and surrendered to the process, because I realized that that is what I had to do in order to grow a healthy and strong child. I comforted myself with the thought that after the birth, I would lose the 60lbs of baby weight during all of the ass-kicking motherhood adventuring that I was about to do.
But then I suffered a devastating loss - and none of that ever happened.
Cue years of self loathing. Years of being unable to step into a dance studio for MYSELF, not for my students. Not feeling beautiful in my wedding dress, because I was not thin. Criticizing every photo, angle of my body in the mirror, just as before, only now with a road map of stretch marks, bumps and curves in places that I did not have before.
I am almost thirty years old, and I can honestly say that this year is the first time I have been able to look in the mirror and say, "I'm okay with that."
Before you judge the book, remember, there is a story behind that cover.
So in celebration of being okay with myself - (open this link in a separate window for some appropos background music) - here, on the internet, (something that I never, ever, ever dreamed I would post on this blog) is me, in a two-piece bathing suit.
Am I a vision of perfection? Hell no. Am I comfortable in my skin? Yes. Finally.