Hi there beautiful Strangers, please help me welcome a very special guest blogger today... the beautiful Miss Abbey Kay... take it away Abbey.
I don’t ever remember a time when my pant size was less than double digits. When all of my friends in middle school and high school were wearing hip hugging jeans, I was wearing stretchy denim pants that were high waisted. I was okay wearing pants that weren’t “in” so that I could feel comfortable in my clothes and not sport a muffin top. I remember thinking that it wasn’t a big deal anyhow because the bottom of your shirt covered up the top of your pants, so why did it matter what kind of pants I wore?
My “bigger than everyone else” size never really bothered me when it came to clothes. But wearing swimsuits was a whole other issue. I hated being in a swimsuit around my skinnier friends. I hated that this was the only time in my life that I knew people could compare my body to theirs because there was more evidence exposed of what it truly looked like and I couldn’t use clothes to cover it up. One-piece suits were not in style when I was a teenager so I was stuck with bikinis that I spilled out of.
Water activities were not my friend. Public pools were my enemy. I hated going to our local water park as a kid because I just felt unwelcome. Running from a water slide to the wave pool out of the water in my jiggly suit was not what I thought of as a good time. If I did have to go to a pool party or hot spring, I either didn’t swim or hopped in the water so fast to hide my body so that no one would have time to stare at me & compare it to other girls. Towels were my security blanket, even in the hot sun.
When my parents got a speed boat when I was 12 years old I was really excited. Everything seemed safe about being on the middle of a lake with just my family to see me in a swimsuit. No embarrassment, no comparison, or so I thought. Summer weekends turned into lake days where my brothers and I would take our friends to have a good time. But the energy that should have been focused on being a young kid and enjoying summer, was actually focused on covering up my body with a towel or shirt so that none of my brother’s friends would see, especially when my thinner friends were around. My nightmare ended up not being avoided after all.
My friends never made me feel self-conscious, they never made fun of me. No one ever actually said anything about my weight or body out loud and it never got back to me if they did. I had loving friends and family and I was never actually mocked. But the thing about insecurity is that it can sometimes start with a small thought in your head and spread like a nasty weed that ends up taking root and eventually overgrowing into every aspect of your life. No ever told me how to kill the weed. No one ever told me that I didn’t have to feel this way about myself, or that what I was worrying about didn’t actually matter because no one saw me like I did. No one saw my size, they just saw me. But I didn’t know that back then.
The older you get, the more comfortable you get with who you are. You start to accept yourself more. You start to care less and less about what other people think about you. And there is so much freedom in that! As big as I thought I was in high school, I’ve only gotten bigger. And smaller. And bigger again. And that is okay! Who you are is okay. I have never necessarily hated my body. I have never cried over what I looked like. I have been lucky enough to not have had to struggle to get out of bed because of my body size. I have been bummed when my pants don’t fit, I have been upset when trying on clothes at a store and it doesn’t end well. I have had plenty of pictures taken of me where I have felt “huge”. But, I have never walked away from those situations & let self hate be a part of the struggle.
This past summer my mom wanted to buy season passes to the same local water park that I went to as a kid. I didn’t even hesitate to say yes! There were a few fun memories from that place when I was younger and the nostalgia was stronger than my previous memories of self-consciousness. I had just been sponsored with a cute black one-piece swimsuit from Boohoo and with high waisted swimsuit bottoms being an in trend, I was ready to take on this past fear all summer long. My mom and I spent the next three months hanging out on the “adult island” of the water park and on the first day, it hit me. I didn’t care that I was in a swimsuit. I didn’t care that my b