Spring is a time when women everywhere lament their bodies, and I am no exception. I remember when I was a kid and swam on a swim team-- it was Speedo swimwear and nothing else. No questions were asked about our preferences. No options were discussed that might hide our tummys. No ordering and returning to the Victoria's Secret catalog after insanely rationalizing that a cup size smaller must offer more support for the large busted. That's right. I actually thought that one time.
Last summer, fresh into my new decade, I told H, 'A woman in her thirties has a one-piece bathing suit'. One of the things I love about H is that she agrees with me with her words but not with her eyes. So while she said, 'There are lots of cute one pieces at Macys right now', her eyes said, 'Snooze'.
Today I had my opportunity because it was teacher discount day at Old Navy (only in the peninsula, apparently, and wow, that sounded really lame the way I just said it). I took several options into the fitting room and tried them on. As H's eyes had suggested, I was sad as I stripped down, thinking about how many Sundays were spent in ill-fitting bikinis, my stomach bulging with Bud Light. Those were the days of being irresponsible and young-- days that are long gone. In the last few years I've avoided swimming altogther, convincing myself that I'd rather be hot and sweaty on the beach than exposed and open for criticism in the water.
'This is it,' I told myself as I slipped each suit on. 'You're officially an old lady.'
Then something amazing happened: I looked in the mirror and saw that this tankini was cute. Really cute. Cute in a 'What cellulite?' kind of way. Cute in an 'I'd wear this around my in-laws' kind of way. But mostly cute in an 'I might actually enjoy swimming this year' kind of way. I was in and out of there in ten minutes flat, and I didn't have to make a bargain with myself to not eat bread for the next month.
I suppose a woman in her thirties doesn't have to wear a one piece. She doesn't even have to wear a tankini. She does, however, have to put away her nonsensical hangups about her body. Life's too long of a swim to talk yourself out of the game in the dressing room.