Even though I never thought it was an issue.
Dad: “No, Melodee. You can’t wear a bikini to that pool party.”
Me: “Come on. Everyone at the party is wearing one…”
**tip toes over to the other more understanding parent**
Me: “Mom, can you try and convince Dad to let me wear a bikini?”
Mom: “No, Melodee. Wearing a bikini is like wearing a bra and underwear. Would you wear that out in public?”
Hmm… good point and it made sense to my logical brain at the time.
No, I wouldn’t wear a bra and underwear out in public, so why would I wear a bikini? Well played, Mom. Well played.
For years after becoming an adult, I’d always choose to wear a full piece swimsuit (not because I thought I was too fat to wear a bikini), but because I thought it was more classy, more holy, more good.
As I was approaching my 30th birthday, I had planned this trip to Cozumel, Mexico and there was just this gut desire to wear a bikini.
This desire that I couldn’t shake.
“Okay, I’m wearing a bikini for my 30th birthday!” I boldly announce to my sister and a good friend.
But that wasn’t the entire battle, it was finding one that fit (this girl has big breasts— and she needed to find a bikini top that kept them in place. Who wants to be the girl with her chest busting out of the top? Not me).
I did find one.
And I wore it proudly in the ocean while snuba diving, snorkeling, and paddle boarding.
It was the most liberating experience, and I remember the following thoughts hit me like bricks…
“This is not a big deal.”
“No one cares.”
“It’s so cool to be free to be me.”
“Wow. Your body is amazing. You are amazing.”
Sometimes, body shame is wrapped in a rule that was given to us by well-intentioned parents.
And sometimes, it’s a belief picked up from an institution that you chose to adopt for yourself.