On Bikinis and Looking At Water
A couple of weeks ago, as I was catching up on Sarah Bessey’s blog, I read two posts both set around water. Maybe you read them, too? One was about going near it and just giving yourself time to be, the other was about spending some time with women who wore bikinis without apologizing for their bodies.
This is why I found myself stepping into the bikini I had purchased this summer, and then leggings and a long sweater. I packed a beach towel and a book, and a yellow pad. A friend and I drove to nearby Liberty Lake, which was practically deserted on that late September day, hot as it was.
They had pulled the docks out the water and we set up camp on top of them. The sky was brilliantly, daringly blue, and the sun seemed unaware that it was fall.
I stepped out of my clothes and waded into the water.
It’s been challenging for me to be sweet and gentle to my body lately. While I used to feel fairly confident, lately I’m not so sure. I look askance at my hips and my tummy, even though I don’t want to. Even though I know that I deserve better.
I was intentional about buying a bikini this summer (and eating some french fries before I did so, to get an accurate idea of what it would look like). I spent a wonderful evening suspended in a lake, feeling free and delighted.
But then, someone took a picture and I couldn’t stop looking at it. Is that really what I look like?
I’m learning that, as it is with other people, love for myself is a choice. I will not always have a smooth relationship with me, but I want to keep working at it. I want to accept myself as I am.
As my friend and I stand, calf-deep, in the water, a young couple wanders down to the waterfront. She is wearing a sweater, jeans and boots and looks at me as if I am lost, as if I may be leftover from another season.
She must be hot in those clothes, I think, as the sun warms the back of my neck and the tip of my nose.
After a while in the water, I lie down on my towel. I have brought a book and other things to do, but I don’t do any of it. Instead, I think about the way the sun feels, and how much I like the whispers of breeze that cool my back. I watch the water as it sparkles and laps at the shore: constant, but always changing.
I close my eyes, and I am satisfied.