This post is long overdue. We took the pictures for it on a beach day with my niblings way back in May, but I’ve been putting off writing about it because we took so many pictures that day that I was dreading having to sort through them all just to find a select few for the post.
Let me state that again.
We took so many pictures of me in a bathing suit, in public, that choosing my favourites seemed like too big a job to commit to in my busy schedule.
I didn’t fully realise that fact until lately, but the truth of that is kind of insane.
Because I am not a girl who wears bathing suits. I don’t swim and I don’t sunbathe, so in the last 5 years alone I have only ever worn swimwear a few times: a swimsuit once for a Aqua Fit class I attended with my best friends in order to prove to them that I would hate it (I did,) and wearing bikinis to spend large portions of long weekends away with those same best friends in the hot tubs of our rented vacation homes. My best friends and I have known each other since we were all 2-years-old, we have seen each other at our heaviest and lightest weights through varying struggles with weight loss and gain over the years, and we 100% understand each other’s relationships with food, our bodies, and self-confidence. We are a safe zone. We would never, ever judge one another. We regularly tell each other how hot and babelicious we are. And even then, every time I get into a high waisted bikini to get in the hot tub with them I feel a bit wobbly and self-conscious because it is simply not something that’s part of my comfort zone.
So when I suggested to my sister Sarah that we take some swimsuit pictures when we went for our family beach day, it was kind of a big deal for me. Not only have I hardly worn swimwear (in my life, total, not just in the past few years,) but I’ve also gained a lot of weight in the past couple of years that I’m not, truthfully, pleased with myself for allowing myself to gain. So wearing the swimsuit was scary; it has a cut out. Doing it in public was scarier; people would be able to see me. And taking pictures to share online; that meant it would be documented, forever, and people all over the world would be able to see it.
It was a bit scary. I did feel self-conscious at points wondering how fat my arms might look at that angle and if this pose showed off how big my stomach is. There were strangers about who would glance over and watch what we were doing as they passed, and I did kind of wonder if they thought I was too big for this suit or for taking public pictures in it.
But mostly I just felt sassy and pleased to be doing something I could share with you all and say ‘I did this, because of you. Because of you, I pushed myself to do something that is both totally unimportant and also a big fucking deal.’
And that’s true. If I didn’t have this blog, didn’t have my Instagram account, I wouldn’t have had a reason to climb onto wave breakers in heels and a swimsuit on a cold windy May day while strangers watched. I wouldn’t have wanted to share my truth about my body with other women in the hopes that they won’t feel so alone or scared of the truth about their bodies. I wouldn’t have seen this picture below and been like ‘DAAAAAMN, Amy, you fine as hell, girl.’
Because I am. I’m hot. I’m curvy. I’m confident. I’m also chubby. Fat. Overweight. Whatever you wanna call it. I am most definitely carrying more poundage than is necessary for my age and height, and while that bothers me because I can feel my fitness at an all time low, because I feel tired often rather than energised, and because, quite frankly, no one feels comfortable or sexy when they have bad muffin top from their jeans, that doesn’t make me anything else automatically. It doesn’t make me unhealthy. It doesn’t make me unattractive. It definitely doesn’t make me less sexy.
My thighs wobble, my arms do too, to be honest. And my stomach, actually. I’m basically a jiggle monster. Of course I have cellulite, because I’ve never met a woman who doesn’t. I definitely have stretch marks. But guess what y’all. I also have a big butt, I like my small boobs, and I think my shoulders, of all things, might have special sexy powers because people lose their minds over an exposed collarbone sometimes, I swear.
Accepting your body and loving it can be a struggle because we are told by multiple industries worth billions of dollars to hate it so that they can profit from us. But that doesn’t help you. After you’ve bought the creams and the pills and the cover ups and the shape wear and diet plans and considered the surgery and wished for the body of the girl on the billboard, you will still be aiming for a higher standard of a beauty you are being sold. At no point, after the hundreds or thousands you may drop, are you guaranteed to look in the mirror and say ‘there, I’ve done it. I’m perfect now. I feel happy.’ The only way we can really guarantee that feeling of acceptance and contentment is to say to each other ‘You are only human. You have flaws and you have beauty, and both are equally as wonderful and important. You are loved for what shines out of you, not what you are shaped like. You are the only you, unique and perfect, and you have so much to offer the world.’ More importantly, we need to start saying that to ourselves. Then slowly, slowly, we can all start feeling good enough that something as trivial as a swimsuit photoshoot with your sister registers as nothing more than a silly, fun event, with nothing about it to even worry over.
Thank you to all of you for inspiring me to step out of my comfort zone in an effort to learn all together to be a little kinder to ourselves and happier in our skins. Thank you Unique Vintage for inspiring me with your #IAmUnique campaign, and for making such a variety of vintage inspired swimwear that allows women of all sizes to be able to find something they feel confident and comfortable in (including this Brigitte cut out swimsuit for any of you who are curious.)
To send this post over the edge into full fledged body celebration I indulged the fact that there were so many shots from this shoot that I loved by including a ton of them in a full gallery below to show you more of my wobbly, sassy, sexy, body-positive happiness from that day. Much love to you all.