Recently fashion blogger and MTV “Twitter jockey” Gabi Gregg stirred up quite a bit of attention for writing about wearing a bikini. While fat.
“I love my body. I think we should reject these fashion rules about what we are and what we are not allowed to wear … We have to be happy with the bodies that we have right now.” Gregg added that she is not trying to lose weight but is promoting a healthy lifestyle. “You can be any size and be happy with your weight, and that doesn’t mean you’re not practicing healthy habits,” she said.
Photographed on vacation in her two-piece, she encouraged other women to post pictures of themselves – regardless of their shape – in bikinis and it was refreshing. Some concern trolled about weight and health, but ignored the fact that a lot of women, even thin women, don’t wear bikinis because they don’t feel they possess what the tabloids call a “bikini body.”
Ah, the “bikini body.” That ethereal thing where everyone, suddenly, is supposed to look like a swimsuit model or a Hollywood starlet or a freshly sunned Kardashian – instead of their bony, lumpy, awkward selves. It’s where we apply an impossible standard on a situation where we shouldn’t even give a crap.
But most importantly, the pursuit for the “ideal” keeps us from actually enjoying our life in the moment.
How many times have you or someone you’ve known forgone pleasure because we felt we didn’t deserve it for some superficial reason? Where most simple parts of living are now “rewards” only for those who have the right “look” to obtain them? Where you can’t get married unless you drop the weight for the wedding, or you can’t go to the beach this summer if you don’t get into a certain shape, or that you can’t buy new clothes or start dating again unless you go down or up a dress size?
And how often does this – what we think will be motivation – turn into de-motivation at doing anything. Often saying “I’m not going to do so-and-so until I look this certain way” really means, “I’m never doing that at all because I don’t deserve it.”
What you end up doing is avoiding something fun because you’re worried about someone else’s judgment of your body when it’s really your own judgment and notions that’s truly holding you back. It sounds crazy when you say it out-loud. But that’s how a lot of us think. And we were encouraged to think this way by a society that puts women’s bodies up for critique – whether it’s Beyonce, Angelina Jolie, or your next door neighbor.
After all, if the so-called “most beautiful women” in the world can’t avoid ridicule about weight loss, muscle tone, facial structure, and hair – how can you?
Being a woman means your body is always up for discussion. Fat, thin, fit – there’s no way to escape it. You have the choice to ignore it and live your life as you see fit, or you can waste valuable time fretting about how you look instead of just enjoying whatever is the actual task at hand.
You can worry about fitting into the wedding dress, or you can look forward to the excitement of the day and the life you’re building together with your partner. You can relish in professional opportunities, go on vacations, and focus on the fun, or you can agonize over whether you “deserve” that fun because when you have it, your hiking, beach, or sight-seeing trip won’t look like a Vogue-ready fashion spread.
You can take photographs of your memories or avoid all photos out of fear of seeing only the “fat” and not all the fun you had.
I don’t know how many times I’ve worried if I wasn’t having the “right” kind of love or dating life because of my weight fluctuations. That maybe I didn’t “deserve” love because I was “fat.” Never mind that I had friends and co-workers heavier than me who had found love, gotten married, and started families. It didn’t matter if there was evidence all around me of people enjoying their lives. I was fixated on my weight and my worth instead of just focusing on being happy. It took me a moment to realize – as I pined over older, thinner pictures of myself – that I wasn’t any more confident when I was smaller than I was now. No changes to the outside truly changed what was going on inside.
My insecurities didn’t really come from my size but from my anxiety about being accepted. Even if weight was removed from the equation, I would just replace my fears about fatness with my fears about not being “lovable” or being too needy or being too brainy or worrying about if I was pretty enough.
I needed to fix what was wrong with my heart before I could tackle being out-of-shape. Because fat, fit, or thin, I wanted to be able to enjoy my life. What’s the point of sweating and working your way to fitness only to still be oppressed by thoughts of inadequacy, worrying what others think.
Have your fun and be healthy too. Or not. A good life isn’t a reward for being a size 6. You can have a good or bad life at any size. Why choose a self-imposed misery if there’s something you can do about it? Why sit on the sidelines of your life waiting to be “changed?”
Why not just change your thinking and get in the game?