This past spring break, a couple of friends and I decided to spend a week where the weather is warm and the streets are buzzing, a place called South Beach Miami.
As someone who has always battled with her weight, my preparation for my vacation became extensive. I was in the gym everyday for hours trying to create a body to compete with the beauty queens, video models, and the other perfect beings I envisioned would be laid out on the sand. After weeks of workouts and dieting, I felt great. I was genuinely proud of my transformation. Yet, I still wasn’t sure if I was beach ready.
When I touched down in Miami, I was enthralled. I was ready for the wild and reckless adventures that would define my Spring Break.
First destination, the beach!
My excitement quickly turned into uncertainty. Was the world ready for my “beach body”? With immense hesitation, I reached for the only one-piece bathing suit I packed, and quickly covered myself with my sheer floral print sarong. It was then that I felt ready and confident to reveal myself to other spring-breakers.
As I walked along the beach, my visions became reality. The women were perfect. There were skinny girls, models, and beautiful women in their bikinis. Thank God I brought my cover-up! As I continued to walk further along the beach, the images changed. There were big girls in bathing suits.
I must admit, at first I was shocked. Many of these women walked around as if they owned the world in their two-piece bathing suits, unafraid to let it all hang out. Bumps, lumps, and curves were exposed. Wow, they have no shame. Initially, I was mortified for the women. How could they come out of the house like that? Suddenly, as I continued to watch them, my embarrassment turned into admiration. Wow, these women sure are confident. They smiled and laughed, played in the water, walked across the sand, flirted with the guys. They were everywhere. Here I stood in my long robe, and there they lived, happy, free and confident.
My thoughts began to wonder as I continued to watch the women on the beach. That’s when I noticed some of the stares and glares they were receiving from people passing by. The pride I found in their confidence slowly turned back into embarrassment. While some of the women tastefully showed off their curves, some were not so refined. People noticed their cellulite, stretch marks and body rolls, all of which I kept hidden under my one-piece and sarong. Then I began to think, are these women confident or do they have no shame?
As I walked the beach, I began to feel better about my one-piece bathing suit and cover-up. Everything was in place, no lumps, bumps, or humps to be weary of. I felt classy, sexy, and looked amazing. I had nothing to be ashamed of. While I wasn’t skinny like the South Beach models, I felt as if I was highlighting my best assets and taking the focus off of the areas that I believed needed improvement, Some of the other big girls highlighted it all. They walked the beach in their two-piece bikinis, exposing the world to their many imperfections. Their actions made me question.
Are these women really confident or is it something else? Is their confidence really a lack of shame in their current size? Better yet, is it ok to be ashamed of certain attributes, or should we be proud of it all? Let me know what you think!
– Chelsey Wilkins