I Went To A "Body Positive Pool Party"- Here's What Happened
I was recently invited to a “Body Positivity Pool Party” hosted by a friend and fellow blogger. I went, partly because I admire these women, and partly out of sheer curiosity.
“Body positivity” has been a buzz word for a while now.
And in theory, celebrating my flaws and being generally positive sounds like a great idea.
But in reality, I find it hard to be “positive” about my body.
I find it hard to ignore my saggy skin and my stretch marks and the extra baby weight I am still carrying, never mind the fact that I had my last baby almost 3 years ago.
I find it hard to forget the years of people telling me that I could work harder, eat less, eat differently, skip meals, take this pill, mix that shake, or stick to this program and eventually meet all my body goals.
I find it hard to not compare my body to others and wish I could look more like them.
I find it hard to not feel like a failure when my “goal weight” and my “inspiration jeans” remain an unmet marker of personal success.
But, these gals were so inspirational in their high-waisted bikinis and spunky attitudes, so I grabbed my black one piece that kinda, maybe camouflages my tummy- because I am still a work in progress, and I would rather my left boob hang out than show by stomach in a two piece. I know I should be more evolved, but…here i am!
In contrast to almost every waterside event I had ever attended, women of all sizes were walking around in their swimsuits. There was not an awkwardly draped towel or cover-up in sight. These ladies did not seem self-conscious or nervous. Everyone was unapologetically laughing and chatting and having fun.
Why did this seemingly simple concept feel so novel?
Because this was genuinely the first time I had been in a space with women who had the audacity to show up at a pool and have fun without the need to cover-up or make derogatory comments about how they looked or felt in a bathing suit. There was no readjusting while explaining that this suit makes my butt look too flat or too fat. There were no self-deprecating remarks about gross thighs or bloated bellies.
It was beautiful.
I looked around and wished that my children could see this. I made a commitment to stop critiquing my body in front of them. I made a vow to try my best to take this outlook back home to my everyday life in some effort to spare my children this lifelong struggle.
I felt sadness for the girl in me who felt fat and unaccepted as a child, and has never since felt this freedom- to simply have permission to show-up and have a good time at the pool without all the side comments that I felt the need make in an attempt to ensure everyone around me that I knew my body was a mess. I thought, and maybe still think, that if I make comments and jokes about my flaws first, that someone else won’t get the chance. What an exhausting way to live.
So here I am, learning, struggling and wanting to do better.
I am not sure I am quite “body positive.” I am not sure I will ever LOVE my rolls or my jiggly thighs. I can not imagine wearing a tight dress without suffocating Spanx underneath. I wonder if I will ever follow a steady healthy lifestyle without yo-yoing to extremes. But, I am working on being neutral.
I am working on not placing too much value on my body when I fit into my skinny jeans, and not placing too much blame when I don’t feel confident in a bathing suit. I am working on remembering that I am more than my body. I am working on physical and mental health, and I am working towards happiness that is not a direct reflection of how I think that I look on a given day.