It was nearly 5 p.m. on the night before I was flying to Tanzania for a nine day trip. I had just begun to pack (yes, I’m a last minute packer), and I was about to shut down my computer when an email arrived asking me to participate in the Lands’ End National Swimsuit Confidence Week by posting a picture of myself in a Lands’ End suit. They offered to send me a suit of my choice if I wanted to participate.
I wanted to participate. I did not want to shop for a bathing suit at 5 p.m. the night before flying halfway around the world.
Remembering how brave my friend Linney was to participate last year over at Linneyville , I quickly replied that I would participate, but would wear one of the Lands’ End 2012 suits that I had already purchased at Sears.
So yes, you just read that right. I agreed to post a picture of myself in a bathing suit on my blog and Facebook for free.
Fast forward to last Friday afternoon when the email arrived reminding me of my promise and pointing out that the photos will also be on the Lands’ End Facebook page for – oh hi! – their nearly one million fans to see. My first instinct was to go back on my promise. They hadn’t sent me a suit, so really, I had no obligation to follow through…except that I’m not the type to go back on promises, even if they were a snap decision.
I also thought about all the times that I tried to hide by body for no reason and the things that I missed because of it, even if sometimes those things were just getting to wear the fun clothes. I thought about the times I stayed under the swimsuit cover-up, hiding behind my blingy flip flops and big sunglasses. I missed swimming in Europe with my friends when I was seventeen years old and oh by the way much thinner than I am now, all because I was afraid to bee seen in a swimsuit. I would love to shake my teenage self and then push her into the water.
I thought about the times that I wore dresses with sleeves when really the sleeveless one was much more my style. Thought about all of those hot days when I wore jeans rather than be seen in shorts. Or capris. Oh, my closet full of capris. And I’m 5′ 3″. Do you know how ridiculous that looks?
What was I hiding? My arms? My legs? My hips? My stomach?
No more. I’m done hiding and you should be, too.
Here is what I look like underneath those sleeves and that cover-up and those high-collared shirts…
When I look at this I don’t see a woman whose arms will never look like Michelle Obama’s, but instead I see the arms of a woman strong enough to hoist a forty-five pound five year old onto her shoulders and hold him there for fifteen minutes during the afternoon parade at the Magic Kingdom. And no, the ladies don’t great me in the morning with a perky hello like they used to, but they fed two children for a total of twenty-four months. They earned their sag and no doctor is ever going to be allowed to change them. And the tummy underneath that tankini top (thank you, Lands’ End, for that flatteringly loose tankini top…for this I love you and I give you my money…)? I happily stretched that out with two kicking babies and joyfully filled the space back up with popcorn eaten in bed with my husband while we watch HGTV each night, holding buttery hands and stealing salty kisses. Would I love to lose ten more pounds? You bet. But I’m going to swim this summer regardless…
My kids will not miss splashing around with their friends because their mom doesn’t have swimsuit confidence.
My family’s summer vacation photos will not be mysteriously without my presence because I happen to be wearing a swimsuit when the camera comes out.
Last summer was our first living in our current house where there is a community pool, and I somehow managed to get myself over to the pool once…and then couldn’t stop going. There was something so incredibly freeing about just giving up, giving in, and enjoying life. Yes, life in a swimsuit. Yes, with other people around.
Rocking a Lands’ End 2011 suit that I bought at Sears
And now you’ve all seen me in a swimsuit. There is no turning back!
This is the part where I would love to give you something. Inspiration? Motivation? Lands’ End will be hosting giveaways all week on Twitter in the #LandsEnd tag and there is also a Swimsuit Sweeps running right now on the Lands’ End Facebook. If you’ve got a love for prizes, definitely check those out!
But mainly I just want you to get out there and enjoy the summer with me. And yes, some days that means wearing a swimsuit…and it’s okay.
Want to see the other brave people who are showing their swimsuit confidence this week? Stop by the Lands’ End Wall and if you dare, add your own photo!