I went bathing suit shopping recently. As I sifted through Target's swimsuit section, I noticed the other women around me. Each displayed varying degrees of disdain as they eyed the selection carefully. I would gauge their levels of excitement somewhere between mining for gold and snaking the shower drain; the majority hoping to find some buried treasure, but eager to have it over with as quickly as possible.
Do these bottoms seem teenier? Are the tops more triangular? Is it awkward that a middle schooler and I are in the same section? I wondered as I watched my fellow shoppers, their heads hanging low.
I was tempted to stand in the middle of the swimwear section and rally cry to the women around me: Hey guys! This kind of stinks but we're in it together. You only need one suit to look good. Keep digging!
I thought this might seem a little melodramatic, so I tried instead to just smile at the people around me, hoping I could convey my message of solidarity. Hang in there, girl!
It got me thinking about summer. This week marks the longest day of the year, which is a holiday in my book. More daylight! The best blueberries! Everything grilled! It's my favorite season.
But along with summer comes more skin; shorter than short shorts, strappier tank tops - not even our feet are spared. As I stood in the bright dressing room (btw, those lights are unflattering), I thought about how nice it would be if we all embraced our bodies for function over form this summer. What if we loved our legs because they let us go on long, humid runs and splash around in the lake? What if we loved our arms because they allow us play tennis and eat popsicles?
What if we didn't cling to our cover-ups like security blankets and instead ran free in the sun, enjoying every last minute of glorious daylight? What if we stood tall in our swimsuits, our heads held high because this is the body we were given and we know now to stop fighting it and, instead, embrace it?
As we approach the first official day of summer, this is my anthem. Let us be brave enough to believe we were fearfully and wonderfully made. Let us trust that the way we look - in a swimsuit or a snowsuit - is good enough, beautiful enough, pleasing enough. Let us trust that we are enough and remember that you don't have to be small to be beautiful.
Let us soak up every drop of summer sun, drink the last sip of rosé, laugh a little louder and be brave enough to do a cannonball, even if we'll make a big splash. Let us remember this season is meant to be enjoyed, not tolerated.