It’s Memorial Day, which is the symbolic start of summer in the United States, so I thought I’d make a little post about being fat in hot weather.
Earlier this year, I won a trip to a Caribbean island resort. It was really awesome. But it was never a trip I would have booked for myself or thought of going to myself, because I always told myself I hated the beach, didn’t like swimming, didn’t like being outside. And some of that is/was a little true, some holdover from being a goth teen, but I know a lot of it had to do with how I am a big fat person, and beach/swimwear is awkward and scary when you’re a big fat person.
Actually, sidebar: I feel like people don’t often put numbers on ‘fat,’ and that is okay, but I think it can also feel good or be helpful for people to see a number and go, oh, hey, that’s like me. I’m 5’2 and between 310-320 pounds. I only actually step on a scale at the doctor’s office. I wear a size 28 in pants and a 3X or 4X in tops/dresses. Now, carrying on.
I’ve been fat for a long time, but only in the past few years have I felt okay about that, or thought I looked good. There’s no easy path to this, of course. Here’s a good post about getting your brain on that tip. Mostly I just decided I was going to stop giving a fuck about what people thought about me and do what made me feel nice. People often tell me they admire my confidence, and I will tell them that I got that confidence by deciding ‘okay, I’m going to be confident now’ even when I was actually terrified. Fake it until you make it and start believing it, forever.
But despite how I felt like a hot babely fatso, I still got nervous about this trip. I hadn’t worn or owned a swimsuit in fifteen years, and that was when I was nearly 200 pounds lighter. The island I was going to and the resort in particular are notable for being where rich and famous people go. DESPITE EVERYTHING I’d changed in my mind and thought architectures I’d built, I was afraid that I would look terrible and people would stare and people would say shitty things to me when I put on shorts or a swimsuit. I don’t shave my underarms or legs (but I’m not really hairy at all and it’s almost invisible, so it’s not exactly as world-rocking as I might think), and I haven’t for years, but I was gripped by the thought that I should before this trip.
So I was nervous, and I was scared, and walking down to the beach for the first time in the outfit you see up there had my heart pounding. I had on the reddest of red lipstick for armor and held my head high, though. And here’s what was great: no one stared, no one laughed. In fact IN FACT, over that vacation I had SEVERAL strangers come up to me on the beach or by the pool to tell me that I looked amazing and they loved my style. I wore capri pants and tank tops and leggings as pants (for the first time ever!) and I told myself YOU OWN THIS and smiled and didn’t try to hide and got nothing but kindness and smiles in return.
(Side note: the friend who I brought with me is very curvacious but slim woman. She rocked out in her bikini and we sat next to each other and it was all good. But on the last day when we were coming back from a local fish fry, she said, have you noticed that all of the local guys are TOTALLY SUPER INTO YOU? And I said, yes, yes I had. She weren’t mad or nothing, but it was something else for her, the average-sized lady with big boobs, to be invisible next to her big fat friend.)
My point is this: confidence is hard. Finding something that you like and feel you look good in is hard. But if you put on a pair of sunglasses, hold your head up, and think FUCK YOU I’M AWESOME to any haters, real or imagined or in the mirror, you might just eventually start believing it. And also? You’d be RIGHT. Because you are awesome. I promise.
I got the swimsuit at Simply Be. If anyone would like to send me on another beach vacation or invite me to their pool party, I’ll happily model it for you.
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