We were headed for Croatia for a week and I was really excited, so I decided that I wanted a new bikini. Now for as long as I can remember I’ve hated bikini shopping and I would go to extremes to ensure that my body was looking its best when I had to embark upon and navigate the dreaded bikini shopping adventure.
I would do things such as, obsessively work out the week before hand, restrict my diet to the point of starvation, purge if I felt that I had eaten to much, ensure that I ate very lightly the day before hand and I would not eat breakfast or lunch the day of bikini shopping.
I’ve also had many holidays, events and bikini shopping trips ruined by my body hatred thoughts and obsessive comparison. I’ve had countless arguments on holidays with my fiancé because if he dared glanced at another woman, it was on, I was not enough and I needed to look like that. I even went through a period of complete isolation once after a shopping trip, where I was so ashamed and so embarrassed by my body because I thought I was too “fat” so I refused to leave the house for a while.
Now I know that the eating disorder I had was very much responsible for those behaviours, but the reality is – there are many women who don’t have an eating disorder and still engage in extreme behaviours or act out in ways such as those, especially if a holiday, event or shopping trip is on the horizon.
But yesterday morning after I showered, did my hair and make up and got dressed – I decided this bikini adventure and holiday were going to be different. So in order to honour my decision, I started my day with two delicious pieces of vegemite toast, left the house and wandered into the city.
My choice was a huge department store that I know has an endless supply of bikinis, I searched through racks and racks of bikinis, pulling out size 10 and 12 bottoms and a size 6 – 8 tops. After exhausting each and every single bikini rack there was, I was finally satisfied with my choices and headed straight for the changing rooms.
Immediately I was greeted with shitty down lights and crappy mirrors, which ensured I could see every inch of my body from the front and behind. Hooray, I thought.
I stripped down and started trying them on and to be honest they all looked horrendous. Some bikini bottoms were cutting in to areas of my bum and creating pockets of overhang and bum fat, that I didn’t even know could exist until I started trying these on. After trying on, re – trying on and simply exhausting the whole process I could feel that I was getting pretty disheartened.
Then that all to common dialogue started.
Maybe I shouldn’t have eaten that toast today, I look so bloated
My bum is huge, I should have walked the dogs more this week and eaten a little less.
Why aren’t my boobs bigger?
Why do I have so much cellulite on the back of my legs, how can I get rid of that.
I can’t pull off those cheeky cut bikini bottoms, eh but I really want to wear them
What the hell was I thinking?
I definitely shouldn’t eat that left over spaghetti Bolognese for lunch.
A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips
My body is simply just wrong.
I got dressed and then sat down on the ledge in the changing room and I just listened to my thoughts for a little while. Then I realized I had a choice, I could either succumb to my hateful thoughts or I could look at the reality of the situation.
So, I took a deep breath and decided that reality seemed way more logical than my thoughts – and in that moment my perception shifted. I realized that in actual fact, my body is not wrong and yet there was everything wrong with the bikinis that I was trying on.
I didn’t leave with bikini that day – but I went home, ate a large bowl of the spaghetti Bolognese and I’d never felt more fucking liberated.
Now I’m 100% willing to change my mind, but I am 100% refusing to change my body to fit the ideal standards of beauty.
My body and your body are not wrong.