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



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  • AQualityMess

    If all the “goods” are covered up and you feel comfortable, I say do you! Who cares if somebody else doesn’t want to see rolls or stretch marks? Everyone has their own idea of what beauty is. I can’t please everyone, so I’d rather just please myself.

  • Keebo

    Shame is simply fear of rejection with unnecessary drama and mental torment. At the end of the day, you have to ask yourself: Were these outside judges around when I was conceived, will they be there for the full duration of life(through the joys plus pain) and there next to my death bed? Whenever I think about this, I realize I’m the first person to please, adore, discipline and allow to be free. After I go..that’s it for the life that I know now. If you feel joy in being yourself and wearing a two piece with rolls exposed to sunlight and other eyes – I say enjoy yourself cause the same judges will not be there the next day or 10 years for that matter. Sometimes not giving a shit about what others think about you is one of best gifts and intoxicating feeling in the world.

  • Pingback: Coco & Creme Article: Big Girls, Confidence and Shame…What do you think? « Girl vs. Girth()

  • http://blackgirlfitness.com L Guerrier

    I live in Miami and can count on 1 hand how many times I’ve been to the beach. I’ve had every excuse from my hair to my fear of the water but the honest reason is the shame I have when compared to the hard bodies.. and sure they’re some plus size hot messes out their but who truly wants to be compete with the b squad? with that I no longer wear short sleeves or shorts. Ive given up the sexy bald head I love, not because I want to embrace the natural, my damn face is getting too fat for a baldy; and every year it gets worse.

    That same moment you had where your admiration turned to shame happens every time i see a fellow big girl letting it all hang out. I’m at a crossroads with my weight where I know i need a change but haven’t mustered the courage to start. (I even created my own black women fitness blog to encourage myself…6 months and I haven’t posted 1 article)

    I follow lots of fat acceptance blogs so I get this false sense of pride until I log off and get into the real world. Now some of these people are simply proud of their look; they know how to dress for their size, have gotten comfortable in their skin and its great. and some simply claim to have no shame but i think its truly they haven’t hit rock down yet. had that embarrassing moment being passed over by the hottie, or trying on every garment in a store and leaving with nothing or the incessant teasing from “family and friends”… I struggle with the concept of being “fat and happy”. As a fat girl who is confident and sexy as hell in my plussize (popular, active dating life) I am not happy and I think if these fat acceptance women had a true talk with themselves about image, public acceptance, emotional triggers, and the damage down to self by being overweight more would agree. **steps off soap box

  • Naomi

    If they don’t mind letting it all hang out. More power to them.
    Why should they cover up to please anyone else?

  • Tomi-chan

    People need to get over their fear of Ruebenesque women, like stat. It should be no more acceptable for a skinny women to be in a two piece than a fat chick. It may hurt your eyes a bit but please do grow up and understand that it’s not you’re business. Look the other way if you must.

    “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.”

    Neither do they.

  • The Taker

    If the women regardless of size wanna flaunt with what they got, go head, do your thing boo. Why should or would they feel shame when they are happy with who they are??? Im glad more people are not giving no types of damn about how some damn strangers feels about them. Because basically Who the f*&k are they???…Nobody.

  • casey

    Seconded.

  • Mimi

    What about the question of “do the thinner women feel shame when they walk around with dental floss as a bikini bottom”? Who says that its acceptable for a thinner woman to walk around almost naked and the heavier woman to have to cover up?

  • justjewel

    this article sounds rough? Fat ladies who let it all hang out…? i think I would feel a bit embarassed to see it all.. but I get embarassed easy.I also don’t like seeing anyone elses parts even if they are skinny. I would love to see the return of sexy modesty

  • binks

    I believe EVERY body is a beach body. Who says you have to look so and so way to be on the beach? To me that is dumb I never understood why we let other people’s perspective and standards wreck havoc on our self esteem and life. If others don’t like the way you look than they don’t have to look, point blank period. As long as you look decent, not exposing anything and flattering than by all means do you. I don’t get where the shame comes in at in this equation as Mimi mention above shame when it comes to clothing and looks can come in ANY size not just when your happen to be larger

  • whilome

    You know what I go to the beach for?
    To swim.
    You know what I swim with?
    My body. The “perfect” machine to propel me across a water, strong arms to slice through waves, a solid core to lend buoyancy in the tide, muscular legs that heft me back to the sand. And as I arise out of the shore like a mocha colored Venus, I could give a good gotdamn if my ass got some pocks on it. I just make sure my suit’s not up my booty and sashay to my towel, where a good book, a good friend, a good sense of who I am await me.

  • lynaya

    Women of all sizes should rock what they got with pride-and taste.

  • http://. marsha

    LOL Love this comment

  • http://. Anonymous

    Honestly, I think a lot of big women (fat women) mask their shame with a false sense of confidence. A lot of these women should feel some shame in the way that they look…bottom line!

  • Raven

    I don’t understand how “letting it all hang out” correlates with embracing your body or being confident. There’s nothing wrong with big people being confident in their skin, but when it comes to bikinis or any clothing for that matter, it all comes down to a matter of good judgement.

    Why would you want to “let it all hang out” if it obviously does not look flattering? You should want to look your best, and quite frankly when I see a a person with fat jiggling everywhere and rolls all over the place it can be kind of gross *sigh* (I don’t mean to offend, but I hope you get the point)…

    We get it you’re comfortable in your skin, but show some discretion. You can still be confident in your skin without showing all of your skin! A size 16 shouldn’t be wearing clothes that do not flatter her and the same thing with a size 0 or whatever. I’m no size 2, but I know how to dress in a way that is flattering to my body. That is all.

  • http://. Anonymous

    There is no way a size 16 woman who is 5’4 is going to wear a bathing suit or anything else for that matter without letting it all hang out

  • http://www.ionamagazine.com @ionamagazine

    The looks and disapproval of the big girls is strictly “their” problem. I’m a very tall plus-sized girl so I get noticed. The question that you’re asking is essentially if you were that size, could YOU be as confident as they are? They may or may not be, but I will say that I am confident with my bikini, flaws and all. If I’m having fun and enjoying myself, anyone else with a problem really needs to begin to focus on themselves and having their own fun. It’s no reward in worrying about other people and what they think. I won’t say the gawks don’t hurt, but really, will I see these people anymore? Not likely, so I shouldn’t allow their googly eyeballs and obsession with ME and my cellulite take my confidence down a notch.

  • shell

    I agree. One might think “oh she’s so confident and comfortable” but more than likely its just the opposite. There’s a difference in being sexy and being ignorant.

  • Donna

    Depends on her build, I’m only 5’5 and at a 16 I look a lot smaller than I am and my weight spreads evenly for lack of better words. Solid basically. After I had my daughter and got up to an 18 and even 20+ at times, started gaining in my stomach etc. that’s when it all started to hang out but otherwise although I’ve always been a big girl I haven’t always been out of shape.

  • Donna

    As far as a false confidence, the bible talks on how no man has ever hated his own flesh. We tend to love ourselves no matter what we look like, we tend to esteem ourselves less when others begin to point out faults and then we look at ourselves based on how they see us and yes there are some women/men that aren’t impacted by the opinions of others they still think themselves to be better than most.

    I do feel that there are points where we should feel shame, not based on what others say about us, but when it goes beyond this is who I am, this is my God given frame and I love it to I’m 300 pounds + and I look good when our bodies were not made to carry that much weight, 200 + even. But it should be a shame that leads to doing something about it not that which would cause one to beat themselves up.

    And in knowing they (we) want to get to “perfect” based on their frame, there are skinny women who can have it all hanging out too in areas and personally is not my ideal of what perfection is. Me getting to a healthy size based on my height and frame is perfect for me.

  • chanel

    seriously! and if you notice, the MAIN women talking about loving being a big girl have all lost weight! raven symone,monique, and jennifur hudson most recently. they talk about still feeling sexy and being proud of being a big girl. but as soon as they lose weight then they’re in interviews and writing books talking about ” how i struggled with my weight and self confidence” so whats REALLY going on? should we even listen to these chicks who claim to love being big? apparently not if they lose all the extra weight and then suddenly admit to feeling like crap. hmmmmmm

  • http://randomosityanddivadom.blogspot.com RandomsbyJahT

    I feel the same about seeing anybody overly exposed, and can we please not exclude that there are slim women who have lumps, hills and valleys too. Tired of us being seen in a negative light, when I know some plus-size women who have more tone and definition than slim women.

  • http://randomosityanddivadom.blogspot.com RandomsbyJahT

    LOVE THIS COMMENT!

  • Melody

    It’s never too long on a weight-related article on C&C and Clutch before the people declaring that there is no possible way you can be fat and happy at the same time come out in DROVES. Honestly, I feel you all are just upset because these beautiful, confident women who got over their self-esteem issues and are just living life didn’t consult you and your narrow-minded views of beauty first. Anon, Shell, Chanel – get over yourselves and eat a damn cupcake.

    As someone who is chubby and has been passed over by not one, not two, but three hotties in recent memory – I have learned (and am still learning) not to let it affect the way I see myself. At the end of the day, that was their loss lol! I still think I’m a badass – eff what anyone else thinks. At the end of the day I go to bed and wake up in this body, not them. They’re just hatin cause they have nothing else better to do with their time. However, I still have my confidence (and one up on a friend that in her entire 23 years of living has never asked a guy out for fear of rejection and was in awe when I shared my rejection story with a shrug and a ‘What can you do?’). Notice the author said ‘she felt embarrassed FOR these women.’ THEY weren’t embarrassed. She was projecting her own insecurities on those confident fat bodies – like a lot of the haters do!

    I, for one, hope the author arrives to a place like that. There has to come a point in life when you say, ‘I only have one life. I’m either gonna live it or not.’ The whole ‘fuck what others say’ thing is hard to adjust to. But when it happens, good Lord – a weight you didn’t know was there will be lifted off your shoulders and things like inanimate pieces of fabric stitched together will no longer have any power over you. Should big girls be ashamed to rock a bikini or anything else? Heck no. It’s your body. No one can tell you what to do with it.

  • http://. Anonymous

    I just don’t think people should be content with being fat. Fat is not ideal….you should want to lose weight and improve yourself

  • Me27

    Thank you Donna… As another person commented earlier, not all big women are out of shape. and not all skinny women are in shape. There are some very toned size 16 women who look better in a two piece than any flabby size 2 woman ever would….

  • greyeyedgirl

    You must be in charge of yourself and not worry about what others have to say about you. If some smart ass decides to make a statement as if they have the right to, you simply tell them to kiss your fucking ass!

    People need to mind their own business and fix whatever is WRONG with THEM!

  • Used to do

    Love it! “Sometimes not giving a shit about what others think about you is one of best gifts and intoxicating feeling in the world.”

  • new moon

    Your very wrong rude judgemental and most of all ignorant.
    I am a size 16 5’1 and NOTHING hangs out of any of clothes. I’m solid and I dress with CLASS. And I’ll wear a two piece bathing suit if I damn well please. And dare somebody to say saythin about it. Get off your high horse Anonymous…but make sure not to fall off and break a bone.
    And why is ok for a bony chick to be 2 min from naked in public but people. Got somethin to say about a heathy women with a belly showing under her top. I mean does that make sense? It don’t to be. I’m. Always wondering why skinny women don’t wear clothes. You don’t get a pass bc you look like you just rached puberty. Modesty and classyness is key people

  • http://sheraera.tumblr.com sRa

    some people have no shame yes, but it doesn’t have to do with their size or shape…it’s more to do with how tacky they are :)

    i see female customers with long-ass straggly mustaches…would it really hurt ya to shave that off?

    Overtan/bronzed to a dirty orange…c’mon that is not pretty.

    Crack hanging out all the time…puhlease…

    etc..etc…

    but making b!tchy statements about them “having no shame” is pretty shameless too.

  • http://flavors.me/jmccray Jazmin

    As a full figured woman, I have no problem going to the beach or swimming pool at my current size. I do feel that every swim suit isn’t for us. I believe that full figured, all women for that matter should wear clothes that flatter their body shapes not point out the things we dislike the most! I have learned to embrace my size, do I workout? yes am I losing weight? Is it a struggle? yes! Lol But all in all we all have the ability to be confident women in what we wear and how we look, we just need to love ourselves completely accept our flaws and just be happy!

  • Mozella

    I don’t want to see ANY ONE’S BOOTY OR BOOBS FALLING OUT THEIR SWIM WEAR BIG OR SMALL, OTHER THAN THAT WHATS GOOD FOR THE GOOSE IS GOOD FOR THE GANDER!!

  • Victor

    Interesting article. I suppose the writer’s ego hindered her enjoyment at the beach reflecting on what other people thought of her (as if you can hear them) than the love she has for herself. Unlike the other women, whose nonchalant, jovial fun day at the beach proves that love comes from within. There will always be critics at large and they will find something wrong regardless of how you look. I see many overweight people through out my day and I don’t look in disgust as shameful people would do. They are the ones that are wrong by making you feel uncomfortable. So, if an insecure person is uncomfortable with themselves, one has to question, why? Is it for the fools that make you feel that way or yourself. And, guess what! You are your own worst critic!

    Thanks,
    Victor

  • jen

    Just look in the mirror please before assuming you look ok in public.

  • http://thisisblackwomen.tumblr.com TiaraQ

    I am going to wear my first bikini this summer and I am the largest of my friends. The only thing I am dreading is when I have to bend down and my belly hangs . Usually my only piece would cover that but I will wear it this summer. and try not to bend down lol.
    I think that these women are aiming for confidence but the small looks of shame in their eyes are brought on by the scrutinizing eyes of others

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  • Annette Gallagher

    Lots of people – Fox and ABC both refused to air a lingerie ad for Lane Bryant’s Cacique brand because the model was plus size with REAL boobs, but they have NO problem running the soft-core porn that masquerades as Victoria’s Secret ads. So if you’re skinny and have fake boobs, it’s okay to be nearly naked. The Lane Bryant ad, which may still be out there online somewhere, had a beautiful fuller-figured woman wearing FAR MORE than what women wear in Victoria’s Secret’s ads, but the ad was deemed “too racy for prime time television.”

  • ngb41179

    Life is too short to be concerned about what other people think. I am a plus-sized woman and I go to the beach, wear a bathing suit, frolic with my husband, and have a good time. I wear suits that both fit and flatter me. If people don’t like what they see, they can move to another part of the beach or go home. I really don’t have time to make other people feel comfortable. If anything, they are projecting their insecurities on me and I can’t be bothered.

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