Step 1 of Trying on Bathing Suits

woman in bathing suit

When I sent my beloved female friend Bec the above picture of me trying on the two-piece bathing suit I ultimately bought, I told her that the process had been less painful than I expected. Her response was to tell me that was because I had followed Step 1. I asked what Step 1 was and she replied that it was be attractive. As I consider attractiveness much more than just physical appearance, I believe that she was quite right.

I wasn’t excited about trying on bathing suits this morning but as I hadn’t bought a new one in at least 10 years and the one I did have didn’t fit me well (it was a mismatch that I found at a great sale price) I figured it was overdue. I grabbed several bathing suits, both one piece and separates and took them all into the dressing room with me trying to prepare for how I’d look in them. I quickly discovered that almost every top piece or one-piece suit I’d chosen was too small while every bottom separate fit perfectly. I should’ve chosen more wisely as my top half is a bit curvier than my bottom, but I didn’t and so I was left with several bathing suits that didn’t fit.

Fortunately, when I tried on the two pieces in the photo, I immediately loved how I looked in the mirror. The top is comfortable and colorful and the bottom combines the look of shorts and a skirt in a feminine and flattering way that does wonders for my legs. I know I won’t feel any hesitation going to the pool or beach with my girls this summer when I’m wearing that suit and I know that that’s extremely important for my daughters to see.

I do genuinely love myself as a person but it’s an ongoing struggle to love my body because I know my healthy weight is at least 20 pounds lighter than my current weight. I could say that I’m still trying to lose the “baby weight” from having my last daughter, but Jaycie is turning 10 this year and it’s certainly not her fault that I can’t be consistent with my weight loss progress.

I admit that I’m a stress eater and as my days involve balancing being a single mother, solo homeowner, freelance writer, jewelry designer, creator and marketer, I tend to get a bit overwhelmed. I’d much rather work out my stress by learning how to swordfight, hip-hop dance, kick butt with martial arts or all of the above but there isn’t any nearby access to such things and so I turn to food. Walking Jazzmin helps but with the heat and excessive amount of biting deer flies the past few weeks, those walks haven’t happened as often as they should.

Back to Step 1 of trying on bathing suits. I do not mean to sound conceited when I say this, but I consider myself an amazing woman. If you’d told me 10 years ago that I’d be where I am now, making it on my own with continued determination and strength, I’d have probably said you were crazy. Nevertheless, I am where I am and that all makes me and anyone else like me attractive. Confidence is attractive, being a good person is attractive, being the best mother I can be is attractive, believing in myself is attractive, honesty is attractive, a selfless spirit is attractive, the love of helping others is attractive, being a good friend is attractive, the love and ownership of shelter animals is attractive and while I know I’m not perfect, I do the best I can every single day and go to sleep knowing that I gave it my all.

So I share this picture of me in a bathing suit with my fuzzy, braided hair and non-hard body physique in the hopes that other women will see that we are all beautiful. I will expand on Bec’s Step 1 of “be attractive” by saying that you must also love yourself. We are all deserving of love and that love is the one we must give ourselves every single day.

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The best kind of crazy!

Staying warm with my pets on the couch.

Staying warm with my pets on the couch.

More than once in my life, I’ve been asked if I’m crazy. My usual reply is that I’ve discovered being a little bit crazy keeps me sane and I honestly believe that. If I was 100% sane, I’d be extremely boring and I’d never do anything exciting or fun! What a waste that would be. 😉

My particular kind of crazy struck me at a rather odd, but useful time today. It snowed today and it was the first undeniable snow full of big, fluffy flakes that blew about in the frigid temperatures. I stayed warm by working at my desk where there’s a heat vent right underneath it and an Angel on my lap keeping me cozy. At one point, she was using the spacebar as a pillow so I had to slide my keyboard over to a more accessible spot, but enjoying her warmth was worth the minor adjustment. Certainly nothing crazy about seeking warmth on a cold day.

During my lunch break, I snuggled on the couch with Jazz by my feet and Angel by my head. Well, she was actually sleeping in an odd position on my collarbone at one point because she was weary of getting too close to the dog. Jazz and Daisy seem to get along okay now but Angel is a bit more persnickety and still swats at Jazz if she gets too close. The balance of power will settle into its proper place eventually…

This was not what I'd call comfortable.

This was not what I’d call comfortable.

After lunch and a bit more work, I decided a short nap was in order since my sleep last night was plagued with dreams of being chased by dinosaurs. I should know better than to watch Jurassic Park 3 before bed, but obviously, I don’t. As soon as I settled into bed, Angel and Daisy came and snuggled right up against me creating instant warmth. I can say with great certainty that I won’t be cold in bed this winter as the little furry hot pockets keep me nice and toasty!

Feeling refreshed from my nap, I went back to work at my desk and had just finished an article around 4 p.m. when I looked outside and realized it had stopped snowing and almost appeared to be clearing up. It was a balmy 27 degrees out and the sun was going to be setting soon, but I was suddenly struck with the overwhelming urge to take Jazz for a walk. I didn’t do so well walking her last winter. In fact, there were entire weeks when we never got out walking because I couldn’t stand the thought of being cold. Unfortunately, that lack of walking made me squishier than I like, so this year I’m determined to get back out there come snow, sleet, rain, or yetis!

Now this is where the crazy part comes in. A totally sane, warmth-loving person wouldn’t decide near sunset on a frigid windy day that it’s the perfect time for a walk. But I’m the best kind of crazy, so I changed into my walking gear, put on my warm winter walking boots, saddled Jazz with her backpack, donned gloves, and headed out the door. Jazzmin was thrilled! Until she almost fell down the deck stairs from slipping on the ice. After that, she remembered what winter was about and paid better attention.

The wind was still stirring the cold air as we walked and within moment my cheeks were frozen but I really didn’t mind. I was out in the fresh air and Jazz and I were getting much needed exercise! The nice thing about walking in the colder weather is that we never encounter other dogs because we’re the only ones crazy enough to be out. Another bonus is that I figure shivering burns more calories and it certainly makes me walk faster to keep the blood circulating!

The sky during our walk tonight. Yes, there's snow in those clouds.

The sky during our walk tonight. Yes, there’s snow in those clouds.

Though our walk wasn’t very long, it was a great first step toward a winter full of outdoor exercise. Eventually I’ll need to put Jazz’s booties on her and wear a thicker coat, but for this evening, we made do with just her backpack and my thick fleece hoodie. When we returned home, I was so proud of us and I felt like I’d kicked some serious butt, even if it was just my own. To warm myself up, I did the Zumba abs workout and the fun, 15-minute program on a chair thawed my icy bones and had me sweating in no time! It certainly might be more sane to spend the winter snuggled up on the couch covered in kittens, but I prefer to be a bold, brave, and a smidge crazy.