As I get ready to take my kids to the pool this afternoon (a trip they’ve been dressed for since 6 a.m. and excited for since yesterday when I told them we *might* go), I cannot help but think of my figure. My stick figure. The boyish body I’ve been given. The one some might call “skinny.” And the one others may envy.
And if I’m being honest, it’s not just today that my figure is on my mind. It’s every day.
I dress more modestly than most. I seldom show my legs. I was extremely hesitant to buy a bikini this summer. And if you don’t believe me, you can ask my sister in-law who went bathing suit shopping with me. Or my husband who I’m sure would prefer to see more of me, if you know what I mean.
I dress this way and choose my attire carefully because I just can’t shake that searing feeling of envy and the questions ringing in my ears. The ones I hear far too often. The questions that have me, a generally confident person, feeling insecure about my body and how I dress it. The “What’s your secret?”, “Don’t you ever eat?”, “Eat a burger, would ya?”, “How do you look like that after three kids? Are you sure they’re yours?” and “Are you on crack?” questions.
In case you are wondering…
My secret is that I was born this way. I’ve always been thin and had to fight to keep weight on. Growing up, especially in junior high, I was labeled “shrimp,” “scrawny,” and even anorexic because, despite my best efforts, I couldn’t gain weight. My other secret is that sometimes I unknowingly deprive myself of enough protein.
Yes, I eat. With the exception of the occasional missed breakfast, I eat three meals every day – plus snacks.
I eat burgers – lots of them. Second only to steak, burgers are my favie.
Yep, pretty sure these kids are mine. At least I hope they’re mine or I spent a whole lotta time on bed rest and sport these saggy boobs for nothing.
Haha. Nope. Not on crack. As a 1990s graduated of D.A.R.E. I always say “No” to drugs.
Now that we’ve got that cleared up…
I always politely answer the questions. But those questions and the underlying tone of envy with which they’re asked are the reasons I reach for the t-shirt instead of the tank top. The jeans and not the shorts. The one piece instead of the bikini. They make my heart hurt a little more every time I hear them. And they steal my joy.
Because comparison and envy – they are tricky evil little emotions that aren’t really little at all. They don’t just steal the joy of the person making the comparison. Joy is stolen from both parties. I know this because I’ve been on both sides of the comparison coin. And I speak from experience when I say – it’s just SO not worth it, friends.
It’s not worth it because you never know what struggles you might inadvertently be envying. Because having your joy stolen is never fun. And because everybody and every body is beautiful. True story.
My body is beautiful. And so is yours. Period. End of story.
With that in mind, I’m ripping it off like a Band-Aid. I am putting on the tank top and sporting the shorts. And for the first time in a long time, I’m wearing the bikini… without a shirt to cover it… in a public swimming pool. I am reclaiming my joy.
Who’s with me?