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??
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!