I need a new bathing suit. Fun times, right? Does any woman truly enjoy shopping for a swimsuit? My money would be on the “no” answer. Even when I was 16 and a size 9, in what would sadly be the best shape of my life, I hated my body. I was too tall, too fat, etc. Fast forward a few years, post-babies, I didn’t worry much about swimsuit shopping since there was no way I would be caught dead in one. When my daughter hit her teen years, I had finally dropped most of my “baby weight”. (Better late than never.) But no amount of cocoa butter made those pesky stretch marks disappear which just added to the whole swimsuit anxiety.
Now just north of 50, with a metabolism that decided to retire and an appetite that didn’t, I’m on the verge of hyper-ventilating just thinking about searching for the right suit. So before I venture into the swimsuit shops this weekend I’ll Google “which bathing suits are most flattering for your problem areas” and try to find the best recommendations. Because those are always spot on, aren’t they?
But in all seriousness, as I think about this, I start to get indignant. Why do we always let culture determine what is beautiful and what isn’t? This is nothing new, it has been happening since the beginning, but with our current screen generation and selfie-centered world, it has now become a never ending bombardment of images of “perfection” that most of us just can’t attain. Who decided that a size 2 is the ultimate actualization of worth and beauty? Or that once you hit 40 your value diminishes. (We have such a fear of aging in our country. But that’s a blog for another day.) I’m just weary of all of it.
How do we push-back against this? I’m not exactly sure of the answer. There is just so much being thrown at us. One thing I do know is I’ll continue to speak life into my daughter and granddaughters, to remind them that their value and worth has zero to do with the outside, and much to do with the inside, the heart. That compassion is beautiful. Kindness matters. And that a wonderful place to begin is with yourself.