Hi guys and happy Monday! Back to school and back to the homework/studying grind again. *sighs*
Anyways, my lovely and amazing friend Julia started this new link-up called Mental Health Monday which is such an amazing idea. I cannot wait to partake in this each Monday!
This week, we are going to be talking about bikinis and all that fun stuff. I feel like this is relevant, especially with swimsuit season coming up and spring break around the corner for people. I just had my spring break, and was wearing a bikini practically the whole time. Believe me- this can be quite the challenge. We all know the standards society places amongst women of all ages to look a certain way, we all know that swimsuits are most definitely revealing, and we all know that wearing a swimsuit can be tough; especially for those who have suffered from an eating disorder/body image issues/body dysmorphia. Wearing a swimsuit can be tough for anyone, regardless of background or gender.
Let’s do a little throwback… throwback Monday ha ha. (sorry I’m not funny) A throwback to the days in the midst of my eating disorder and body dysmorphia issues, the times where I quite frankly felt shitty about my body at all hours. Swimsuit season was a nightmare for me. In the beginning of my eating disorder, I refused to wear a two-piece. I only wore one pieces or tankinis because I was too embarrassed to show my body to others. Trapped in a comparison cycle, a cycle of “she looks so much thinner than me…. she has a six pack and I don’t…. her legs don’t touch but mine do.” A detrimental cycle that I was trapped in and a cycle that many others get trapped in. So no bikini was ever purchased during Alyssa’s 15 year old year or worn for that matter.
16 year old Alyssa started to wear bikinis because that’s what all the other girls were wearing, yet 16 year old Alyssa was again trapped in terrible body-image thoughts and believed that she looked that dreaded “F” word all the time. The comparisons were still there, yet at this time; I was deeper in my eating disorder, so I felt like I had that to lean back on. “Least I can restrict and I have control over what I can eat. I bet that girl can’t do that” I wore bikinis, but I only wore bikinis with a great deal of anxiety, with a great deal of disgust for myself, with an excessive amount of body-checking and glancing in the mirror over and over again… So yeah, I wore a bikini; but hell no was I confident in it. And hell no did I have any positive thoughts about my body during this time. At all.
Now we are going to fast forward to spring break 2016 in Florida. This break consisted of a pool or beach day every single day. And that means wearing a swimsuit. And for me, that meant wearing a bikini. Yet the difference in 15 and 16 year old Alyssa and 19 year old Alyssa is the switch in mindsets that I have about my body and myself. Obviously with recovery came a whole new outlook on food, body image, a whole collection of coping skills, and all that jazz. But I also learned a tremendous amount about myself over the years, something that my therapist or a treatment team couldn’t have told me. I have made so many self-realizations through treatment and after treatment; many of those in regards to myself, my confidence, and body image.
“She began to measure herself in contentment and laughter rather than in inches and pounds.”
One of the most valuable things I realized over these years is that I’m never going to be that girl with a six-pack. I have rolls on my tummy. I am never going to be that girl who is naturally itty-bitty and small-the only way I will get this way is if I restrict and overexercise; and that is just not worth it in the slightest. Some days I am going to feel extremely confident and beautiful and love every inch of my body, and other days I am not going to-but that is okay and that is normal! We can’t always feel on top of the world. And I recognize those days where I am not particularly feeling too great and just say, “You know what? Today I don’t feel like a hot tamale but that’s okay. Deep down I love myself and I know that I’m a hot tamale. Today I just don’t feel like it. But tomorrow is a new day. And tomorrow is a day where I can continue to love myself just like I loved myself today.” It’s all about our mindsets- it’s all about loving ourselves unconditionally. That means wearing that swimsuit and looking in the mirror and saying “Wow, I look great in this. Look at my cute little tummy rolls. I have a great booty and I love my body and I love all that it can do for me.” But that also means wearing a swimsuit on a day where you feel a little bloated. Maybe you are bloated from a delicious lunch you had. Maybe you’re a tad full. That still means you look in that mirror and say “I may be bloated but that’s okay- I am still going to wear this bikini regardless. Because I want to and because I don’t care how others perceive me. My belly is full with delicious food and the bloat will lessen. But I am not going to wear a t-shirt on this hot day and I am not going to sit at home and not go to the beach in my bikini just because I’m a bit bloated. I don’t feel 100% but you bet your ass I’m still going to throw on this bikini and make the absolute best of my day; I am going to love myself no matter what.”
That switch in mindsets made the difference for me; that switch in mindsets led me to an overall happier frame of mind. A mind where I was finally free from an obsession with my body, a mind where I was free from comparisons with other girls on the beach or other girls by the pool. I know that my body is not perfect but heck, noBODY is! And recognizing that no body is perfect and the fact that every individual out there has insecurities is in a way beautiful. We all don’t look the same- but isn’t that just amazing in itself? I have a little freckle on my palm but my mom doesn’t; my friend has brown hair and I have blonde, don’t all these little differences make us unique? When we begin to recognize that we all have little insecurities, and most importantly; when we begin to recognize that we don’t need to change these insecurities to be seen as beautiful, that we can stay the same and still be absolutely drop-dead gorgeous; THAT is the day you will be set free from poor body image thoughts, that is the day that you will learn to love yourself unconditionally and lemme tell ya- that day is just absolutely amazing and beautiful and so god damn freeing. I don’t need to get rid of the rolls on my tummy to wear a swimsuit. You better believe that these little cute tummy rolls are staying!! And you don’t either- you don’t need to change your body to put on a bikini. You rock that bikini, you rock it and you tell yourself that you look hot in it. Don’t change your body and squander your beliefs about yourself to fit society’s standards. Life is too damn short for that.
When a woman becomes her own best friend, Life is easier.”
Become your own best friend. Love yourself. Love your body. Love your personality. Enough of the self-hate; enough of the comparison game. Put yourself first, love YOU-because you deserve nothing less!
Thank you Julia for letting me share my thoughts this Monday! And thank you guys for reading and being so awesome. 🙂
Sending my love as always.
Facebook: Blissful Lyss