I was at the beach this week and a group of young women in their late teens was lounging like a pile of puppies on the chairs in front of me. Every once in a while, a few would jump up and go frolic in the waves, in that awkward, adorable way that teenagers have when they are both wanting to play and also wanting to look cool and, occasionally forgetting they are supposed to be cool, and they fall over their own limbs.
They were all in bathing suits, mostly tiny bikinis. One girl, in what my grandma would call a “darling, little two-piece”, kept holding a hat over her belly. Her body was hunched over, kind of like she was protecting a small animal in her arms. But she was really only protecting herself, I think she was ashamed of her belly, although I can’t figure out why since she looked about as close to a bathing suit model as anyone on that beach.
It was painful to watch her hold herself back while her friends jumped around in the waves. She had gobs of make-up on and kept adding more lipstick with one hand while holding this hat over her belly. It was heart-breaking to watch someone so uncomfortable in her own body. I wanted to give her a hug, and to slip a flowy, long dress over her body so she could stop worrying about what her belly was doing and just let herself be there, enjoying the beach with her friends.
I want that for you, too. Maybe you love to be in a bikini, with lots of skin showing, and I want you to ignore that all the other moms are keeping their cover-ups on and take yours off to let the sun hit your skin. Maybe all your friends are in the tiniest of bikinis and you feel best draped in a caftan.
Wear what lets you be in your body. Wear what lets you fully inhabit your own skin. Wear what makes you feel beautiful.
Find your true body. Treat your true body with love. Don’t stuff it in to too tight jeans or cover it in over-sized shirts – unless tight jeans and big shirts are what make you feel beautiful.
When you are wearing clothing that makes you feel beautiful (even when you are just sitting there at your computer, browsing Facebook), you are loving on that true body of yours.
Still looking for your true body? I’m conspiring with Persephone Brown to create a program of delicious food to help you find your true body and to nourish it with food that makes you feel as delicious as it tastes. It’s coming soon…