I used to be a bikini girl.
I was a ridiculously shy teenager and covered myself up as much as I possibly could. Even my swimsuit was one of those ‘hide everything and no-one will notice me’ affairs and, looking back, I had nothing to be ashamed of. I was slim and had a lovely flat stomach. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.
I stopped hiding myself away when I met dh. I used to buy tiny little bikinis from H&M and loved wearing them. I don’t think they ever saw much water but they looked nice.
I took up swimming (as opposed to posing and sunbathing) the year before I got pregnant and bought a suitably sporty one-piece to enable my progress through the water. As soon as I got a bump I stopped swimming.
Then the stretch marks appeared. Thin silvery lines across my stomach. My bellybutton went wrinkly. I went back to my pre-pregnancy size 12 within a month of giving birth but I no longer felt comfortable with my new, stretched body. With a heavy sigh I consigned my much-loved bikinis to the bin and mourned the loss of my lovely tummy.
(I know this is a ‘first world’ problem, but work with me here…)
The week before we went on holiday I went swimsuit shopping. I went after work. I was tired and stressed. I bought a hideous granny suit that was so awful I nearly cried. Some friends recommended that I try a tankini soI took the granny suit back and bought one, as well a much more flattering one-piece.
As soon as I stepped out of the changing rooms at Center Parcs I realised what an idiot I had been. There were literally ALL shapes and sizes in the pool, all happy to bear themselves in a way that I wasn’t. Women with far worse stretch marks than me were wearing the skimpiest of bikinis. As for the men….MY EYES! MY EYES!
My bikini-wearing days are definitely over, but I don’t feel quite as self-conscious about my figure now. In any case, I’m blind as a bat and don’t wear contacts so I have to wear my glasses in the swimming pool. I look like a total moron.