It’s empowering to see women embrace the body motherhood gave them. But the reason I’m putting a two-piece on has nothing to do with normalizing stretchmarks.
Not that I don’t have stretchmarks that I’d prefer were normalized. I have so many of those that you could use the lower part of my abdomen, upper part of my thighs, and — for some insane reason no one has ever fully explained to me — my f***ing ankles to plan and navigate a cross-country road trip.
Every summer there are widely shared blog posts, viral videos and long think pieces featuring moms in bikinis. “Here are my stretchmarks,” they say. “Here is my loose skin and weird pouch of flab that won’t go away no matter what.” These women are lauded for their bravery and confidence, and they should be. I’ve read these posts and shared these pictures and always thought to myself, “man, I sure wish I could do that,” but not for the reasons you think.
This year I am purchasing a bikini. But I won’t be taking pictures, because I am not brave. I am not even on a mission.
What I am is hot.
I live in Texas, where the temperature skyrockets to over 100 and stays there for a month or two. There is no such thing as dignity here; you will sweat from places you didn’t realize you can sweat from and chafe in areas that were heretofore untouched. It sucks.
Yet, I’ve never worn a bikini or really even put on a swimsuit because I’m self-conscious about the way that I look. Even in the middle of a heatwave, I’m the one standing there in jeans and a long-sleeve black thermal tee, assuring everyone that no, I’m fine, perfectly comfortable, but yes, I think I’d like to sit down and die for a while.
Well, no more. When I see these blog posts of women strutting proudly on the beach, lounging with their mombods in the pool and declaring that they can’t stop, won’t stop, I’m jealous. Jealous of their confidence, sure. But even more jealous that they don’t look like they are going to pass out from heatstroke.
So this is the year, especially since high-cut bikini bottoms have been nice enough to come into style, for which I give thanks to Bikinia, goddess of the string tie. I have no more excuses to torture myself.
Goodbye, rash guards. Goodbye, board shorts. Goodbye, caftan cover-up that I’m not supposed to wear into the pool but always do. Go sit in the trashcan and think about what you’ve done.
I’ll be at the pool.