Every time I feel like I have this whole “self love / pro-body image” thing down something knocks me down a few notches. As I work on allowing myself to slow down and really work on myself on a deeper level than my morning motivation posts, I realized I have a few fears taking up already cluttered space in my brain. Right now I’ll share two:
1. Wearing a bikini
2. Going in water that might have creepy things in it
Why a bikini, who cares?
I used to use the excuse “I don’t know” but since I have been truly working on myself I have recognized it is because of past sexual trauma that I never addressed, so every time I make progress on loving my body again, someone makes a comment about how big my boobs are, or something triggers me to the past experiences and I feel sick to my stomach thinking of having to wear a bathing suit. So then, I shut down or sabotage by binge eating, binge drinking, binge Netflix, binge sleeping, or throwing myself hardcore into work or business projects so I don’t have any time to think at all.
I also use the same bad habits when I feel unhappy or stressed about pretty much anything in my life. I hate to think how I’d be looking and feeling if I wasn’t using the health products I have for the last 4 years because I would certainly have been in an even worse place.
I decided to dig into this head on. I have so many more important things to occupy the space in my mind than worrying about a bikini and icky water. Since it scared me so much I knew that it meant it was time to work through it.
I thankfully have a relationship with the most amazing local business in New Jersey, Sweetest Sin Boutique, and I went there on a mission to find a 2 piece bathing suit that made me feel sexy and comfortable in my body NOW. They are so incredible at what they do that they make you feel amazing. When I first arrived I started to chicken out and asked to try on a 1 piece first. Thankfully, I was encouraged to “just try it” when looking at the 2 piece – and I loved it! I wore it in my “before” picture for my 16 week body challenge with my health and wellness company, but I PROMISED myself that I was going to wear it at the next opportunity I had. Not when I was a certain size, not when I was comfortable, not when I was tanner, (insert your own BS excuse here.)
Note: my 2 skin colors are usually Casper or lobster- no in between.
Being serious for a moment, I had the best text exchange with a friend and coaching client. SHE was sharing her fear of going bathing suit shopping. I immediately though, “uh seriously? You look great!” And that’s when I came up with my “thing” that would help me through:
Everyone else is busy worrying about themselves and no one cares about what you look like in your bathing suit! Think about it, do YOU care what other people look like? Me neither!
If you are reading this and can not relate to this fear then I applaud you for being confident in your own body. If you are reading this and felt instant dread when you read the word bikini in the title, I send you love, and ask you to let me know if sharing this story helps you in any way. If you have ever experienced someone making sexual comments to you, or worse, please know it is not your fault and do NOT allow that to stop you from feeling free in your own body.
So when did I have the opportunity to wear my new bathing suit? In South Dakota when I was invited to go out on a boat. At first I was excited but then quickly realized, there are no beaches there. That must mean….. enter my second fear… water with icky things that might touch me or have amoebas that will infect my brain. Eek! Ok, that sounds a bit dramatic but I felt physically ill thinking about getting in lake or river water, so much that the bikini part seemed like no big deal now.
So let’s fast forward to the big day, I had my bathing suit on and felt great, we get on the boat, and I let my guard down as I started freaking out about getting in the water. Now I am not usually a wimp. I travel by myself all the time, I’ve gone sky diving, hiked crazy heights in Australia, I drive in New Jersey, I got a tattoo on my foot, but scared of icky water.
Am I scared of drowning? Nope
Can I swim? Yup
So what is it? Promise not to laugh… my fear is of critters touching me in the water, catching some weird disease, getting water up my nose and amoebas infecting my brain.
I am laughing writing it but I had a crippling fear as I was trying to get my ass in the water. It didn’t help that we were in a body of water named Snake Creek Recreation area AND I was with a 16 year old with a beautiful body staring me in the face. I did catch myself comparing for a moment, but then quickly stopped. Because I conquered fear 1, by wearing my 2 piece and now it was time to take on fear 2.
Well, as I was preparing to get in the water while on my bikini high there were 2 kayakers passing by talking about someone getting bit by snakes recently in the same water I was about to jump in. Whoa whoa I hadn’t thought about snakes! And right at that very moment I was playfully pushed in by someone that meant to help and at first I thought it had. I was in the water! Yesssss! So then I started swimming to shore, and then my brain took over and I started to picture nasty things at the bottom, and I started to lose my vision, my chest felt like it was going to explode and I started shaking thinking about what was in the water beneath. Even trying to float on my back I couldn’t catch my breath and needed help to get to shore and they had to bring the boat to come pick me up. I was so scared, so embarrassed, but you know what? After I laid down for a bit I got up and tried again. I jumped into the water, and it was a little easier. I was still freaking out a bit (and laughed when my bathing suit bottom would start falling down) but then I got out and back in again. It got easier and easier. I even rode on a tube being pulled by the boat! I even laid out in my bikini, while being joked at that no one could see me because my skin was the same color as the white boat. See, I told you, Casper. I survived, and as far as I know there are no amoebas infecting my brain 🙂
Why am I sharing this? Because these 2 things have been something that I have been so scared to do for as far back as I can remember and occupying unnecessary space and energy in my body. Was it scary for me? Yes. Does it sound scary to you? It might not, but now that I can push these 2 fears out of my mind it can free it with more space for things that bring me joy. It’s growth time!
What are 2 things you think you can never do but wish you could? How can you make it happen? What strengths can come out of going through the scary part and conquering it?