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Learning to Love My Non-Bikini Body

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Those three months of deprivation dragged on, every day making me a little thinner, a little firmer, and a lot whinier. Then I debuted the suit.

Lying on a Long Beach Island novelty towel in my python-print bikini, I sipped water while my friends passed beers from a cooler and pulled slices from a pizza box in the center of our blanket. I wanted a piece more than anything in the world, but even on this proof-of-heaven blue-sky day, I was too stuck inside my own head to have any fun.

On the trip home, I seethed about the stupid swimsuit that had whipped me into such a vain panic, ultimately ruining a shopping trip, a date, countless lunches, and the vacation I’d looked forward to all winter. That’s when I had my forehead-smacking moment: Basically, I’d sold out who I was to look like someone I wasn’t.

Recently I found myself digging through my underwear drawer when I spotted the bikini that gave me so much angst. With another swimsuit season upon us, would I wear it again? Sure, extra pounds and all. But, more important, would I go back to being the girl who orders soft-serve ice cream and fries on the boardwalk, who plays Frisbee without needing to first check for a stomach roll or reach for a cover-up? Yes.

Originally published on June 17, 2008

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