I know it seems like an unlikely “artist date” and most certainly a crazy way to launch the playdates tab but it is a huge (and kind of literal) way for me to get more naked. More on braving bare tummies soon, but first let me go back a bit.
I am so grateful for my myriad of girlfriends. I don’t know how I did it, but I’ve assembled the most diverse group of girlfriends and I learn something from them everyday on how to live bold and also how to just survive motherhood. Recently, I was at the beach with one of my favorite living bold mentors and she pulled off her cover-up to reveal a bikini. Now I know this is not a big deal for many moms but for most of us with remnants of pregnancy and age draped on our bodies, it is crazy BRAVE. This particular friend of mine also wears an insulin pump. I know it’s suddenly hip now because of Miss Idaho but my friend was rocking it before a beauty contestant made it cool. She generally has this dismissive attitude about what other people think. This is why I like her. I need people around me who are brave and dismissive because it is not always one of my strengths. I tend to care way too much about “the others” and what they think. My self-critic feels safe there.
Like many of us, I grew up in a body-conscious family. I’ve struggled with my own perception of my body my whole life. My childhood nuclear family is made up of tiny people. I’m curvy and athletic – which of course is a nice way of saying I’m not tiny. I’m the square peg in the round hole. After college I lived with my Hawaiian aunty during an internship and I suddenly realized where I came from. These were my people. Apparently I got all the Portuguese. It was very reassuring to know that I came from somewhere and that it wasn’t because I did something wrong – or was something wrong. My first priority as a mom of a girl has been to be a model of body love for my daughter. I almost always feel like I need to lose weight and I often get bummed out by what I see in the mirror but I never talk about my body in a negative way – EVER. Or at least I try my hardest. Even when I diet, I don’t talk about the food I consume. I do talk about making healthy choices and model being active but I refuse to pass along my body issues. The madness has got to stop with me.
But when my girlfriend rocked her two-piece I realized I was letting my daughter down. I was letting myself down. While I have done a good job hiding my distain for my body, I have never actively celebrated my body in front of her. So I decided that I was going to go out and purchase a two-piece bathing suit. It took me one painful and long day to find a suit I was comfortable in. Of course with kids, it needed to allow for active wear and weird bending positions. I wouldn’t say that I love my two-piece but I can tolerate it. I’ll be honest, it took me some time to build up the courage to wear it. On a recent trip, I debuted it in public. It felt really weird at first and I am pretty sure I wasn’t breathing for the first hour. I realized my stomach had not seen the sun in eight years. But guess what? I survived the experience and I’m totally better because of it. I know it doesn’t sound like a brave feminist move to buy and wear a two-piece but for me it was. So ladies, be brave and rock your two-piece…whatever that might mean to you. Get a little naked with your bad self. If not for you, for our daughters and this new generation of girls.