Do you cover-up??

I’m on vacation this week, which means actually getting out into the sunshine, away from the computer, fresh air, and, of course, skin-showing clothing options.  I love-love-love the beach, sailing, swimming, and all that summertime fun, but I’m constantly obsessing about my wardrobe. Shorts, instead of slacks. Tank tops instead of circus tents (just kidding). And the dreaded bathing suit moments.

I shopped for, but wasn’t able to find a new swimsuit for this season. Every suit looked ridiculous. I really, really, I mean REALLY hate those stupid skirts they put on every single plus-sized one-piece. The only suit I did find, that was half-way cute, was a polka dot tankini at the Avenue, but I bought that one for my daughter. So I’m wearing the same one-piece navy blue suit I’ve worn for the past four years. It is a little bit tighter this year, but it does fit and has some serious advantages. One, despite being four years old, it looks pretty new. It is a quality suit that has held up over the years without pulling or stretching. Two, it is  designed to hold everything in place. Think of it as the swimsuit version of Spanx. It is high cut (not boobage falling out), racer-back, and is made of some space-age material that keeps everything squeezed still. Come to think of it, why was I looking for a new suit??

Actual picture of my suit of four summers. Not exactly “in the flesh,” but you get the idea!

Despite any advantages of the wonder-suit, I’m not thrilled about how I look, so I still had that moment where I get to the beach and have to take off the protective outer covering of clothes to reveal the nearly naked me. First, off come the sandals. That’s easy, because I love to be barefoot. Next, the shorts drop. Ok, this is a little tougher, but you can’t go into the water with your shorts on. It just draws unwanted attention. Finally, the moment of truth. Do I leave my tee-shirt on, or bare all?

Many larger people, I have noticed, opt for the tee-shirt cover up. You can leave your shirt on and pretend it is a sun-protection issue. (Since I did burn a little on my shoulders yesterday, I’m ready to buy into that pretext at the moment.) But we all know that isn’t the case. I want to leave the shirt on. It feels safer, somehow. Like I can hide behind the poly-cotton blend somehow. In years past I did leave the shirt on, but I don’t anymore. I drop it on the beach towel with a cavalier, devil-may-care attitude that says “I don’t care who is looking.” Or, at least that is how it sounds in my head.

I feel better without the shirt somehow. As if I’m taking control of my body-image. In years past I would never wear tank tops (my fat upper arms needed to be shunned), low-cut tops (keep those breasts hidden), or shorts cut above the knee. But who am I fooling? Do long shorts and a huge top invoke some optical illusion that I’m thinner? Actually, I think it is the opposite. The bigger-sized clothes tend to make you look bigger. Showing my actually size, in my humble opinion, removes any doubt that I’m bigger than I actually am. And I feel that my personal self-confidence increases by taking this stand as well.

So I pose the question…. do you cover up? And if you do, are you willing to throw off the blanket of secrecy and expose it at the beach? Please say “yes,” ’cause I don’t want to be the only fatty out there!

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11 thoughts on “Do you cover-up??

  1. Don’t cover up! Bare it all! You’re beautiful! Don’t compare yourself to others. That’s the only advice I have at the moment. I avoided bathing suits at all costs, most of my life. Once I hit puberty and couldn’t figure out 1) what to do with the little curlies that show if you don’t shave “down there” and have on any suit that doesn’t have a little skirt … 2) I have kyphosis, a curvature of the spine that gave me this “beautiful” stretch mark. It looks really weird, like a big, rough patch of skin. So I don’t wear any swim suits that show that. My back curvature made me a little paranoid and as a kid, I had bad back acne, so I tried to avoid swimming! Think of all the fun I missed! Now, the back acne is gone and I try not to let the curvature bother me. I wear 2 pieces that cover my stomach and the place on my back, and “curlies” so I don’t have to shave too close and upset my sensitive skin. They do have a skirt. Ha But it’s not bad! I sometimes feel like they make me look older than I am, but hey, I want to have fun in the pool or beach and feel good about myself! That’s all that matters!

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  2. You’re freaking hilarious…I think you should know that! And no, I don’t use t-shirts to cover up either. I’ve been tempted a time or two, but they always remind me of this game I used to play as a kid. You know, the one where you puff out your t-shirt in the water and it makes you look pregnant? Yeah, I’m not okay with the whole idea of it out of sheer vanity I guess. I don’t want my subconscious to think I’m fatter than I am =)

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  3. Thanks for what you posted on my blog. I appreciate that!!! I love your blog! I go through the exact same thing with the bathing suit reveal… the worst is when you KNOW people are staring at you. Or they’re like waiting for you because you’re the last one with clothes on and you’re holding them up from getting in the water… I hate that moment when I know they are staring and waiting. At that moment after the sandals and shorts go off, I take a deep breath and I always tell myself, “JUST DO IT! WHO CARES!!!!” And I take off the shirt and act like I don’t care. I realize if I don’t make a big deal about it, no one else does. Plus I hate the weight of the tee shirt especially when I’m in the water. And I hate funky tan lines.

    Cute suit btw!

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  4. I think no matter what your size, uncovering can be an issue! I totally feel that way still. But, when I was heavier I would still reveal myself!! SO DO IT!

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  5. Thank you for the wonderful comments. Just a quick update: The act of writing these feelings has been very cathartic. I’ve felt much more confident and comfortable at the beach the last two days, and I attribute it to getting all those feelings out there!!

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  6. Pingback: Mirrors on the ceiling. Pink champagne on ice. « Fat 'n Forty

  7. I never cover up, I left that back in puberty. I remember covering up and being so very scared to take off the tee shirt, but when I looked around and looked at myself honestly I realized that swimming with a tee shirt not only looked far worse and made me look much fatter then swimming in just my suit, it screamed to the rest of the beach that I wasn’t OK with myself. I felt like leaving it on was a billboard that read “I hate my body and therefor hate myself, I am insecure and weak.” So I never wore a tee shirt after that.

    A few years ago, OK, a decade ago…. I was often taking kids to Sesame Place, while I am not a parent myself I am a very involved Aunt. Nothing helped my body image issues in a swim suit more, this is a place where almost no one looks like a model (Unlike the beaches that seem to be populated with the cast of the OC) here, we all have huge flaws and no one cares, everyone walks around in swimsuits and water shoes. It felt great.

    My suit is like your, like spanx in swimwear, it is a Lands End so it looks brand new even though it is at least 4 years old as well. I love it, lately I have been really unhappy with my waistline and been very tempted to just wear it under my clothes because it forces my body into an hour glass.

    Finding a good suit is hard, I think that’s why when we find one, we hold onto it for years

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  8. You are so brave! 🙂 I always keep the shirt on, but not only that I wear guys swim shorts (the kind that go to your knees and are oversized so as to completely hide what you look like). Now, to be honest, part of the clothes wearing is because I am an uber pale red head who burns at the mere mention of sun, lol, but an equally huge part of wearing the clothes is so people can’t see what I look like. Maybe one day I will be as brave as you, I hope so!
    Thanks for your comment on my post, I have been reading your posts and they are really inspiring. It’s great to read someone who is going through some of what I am going through. 🙂

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  9. I am sorry to say I covered up on vacation. I have refused to buy a new swimming suit while I am carrying extra weight, so my old one is years old and two piece. I kept on my shirt but regretted it as soon as I got in the pool and it ballooned out. I think more people stared because of that than if I had just taken it off.
    I applaud your bravery! And will remember it the next time I consider covering up.

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  10. Pingback: Bathing Suits Make You Fat | Fat 'n Forty

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