Warmer temps always mean a shift for people. For some, the warmer weather leads to a pep in their step. People starting congregating more outdoors when the sun is shining and the wind is warm. The flowers are blooming and the smell of the concrete dampness in April is overshadowed by the sweet smell of hyacinth in the air. There is little to dislike about the trees budding and the longer days. I love to feel the first warm air on my legs in spring and being able to be shoeless is a simple pleasure.
However, this time of year brings about negative shifts as well. This is the time of year I hear moans and groans, fears and worries, anger and self-hatred about the dreaded upcoming of the swimsuit season. Whether it is from the women in my psychotherapy practice or the cohort of women I call friends, it seems everyone (myself included) can get sidetracked, waylaid, and blindsighted about our bodies being on display at the local pool, nearest lake, or far away beach on the Gulf.
I think it’s interesting, actually, that women are expected to essentially wear their bras and undies and strut around the pool deck feeling confident. (But, I digress.) Let’s ask ourselves a few questions and take a metaphorical dig in the sandbox together. I want you to give a moment’s pause to each of these questions:
With shift to warmer weather, I invite you as I invite the parts of myself which are critical to soften. To accept. To welcome the opportunity to practice getting in touch with the little girl who really is a basket of fricking fun. To whisper to her affirming and loving words of unconditional acceptance and regard. Go find a swimsuit of any manner and sport it with pride because you like the straps, colors, or pattern — not to show off your body as an object, but to show off the love you have for spending a day soaking in the rays, getting water up your nose, and half of those cute bottoms up your crack. Let’s do it, ladies. Do it for the next generation of girls. Show by example what self-respect, courage, and play look like. Our girls (and boys for that matter) don’t need to see perfect bodies. They need to see flawed, dimensional women practicing vulnerability and letting loose of cultural expectations of thinness.
There is no better way to fight the culture of hating our bodies than to work on our love of ourselves. So, as I recite every year at this time to the women who walk through my door and all my lovely women friends who whine, if you want a bikini body...put on a bikini.
Much love to you.
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