I almost bought it.
After all, why not? It fit great and accomplished exactly what I’d hoped for in a swimsuit. A black one-piece with ruching around the waist, it was perfect for concealing my slightly rounded belly. I didn’t really need a new suit, but I’d brought this one into the fitting room after having doubts about wearing my usual two-piece this summer.
I’ll be exactly one year postpartum next week, and my belly still hasn’t returned to its pre-baby size. For the most part, this doesn’t bother me—I love so many other things about my body, and I have much better things to do than stress out over a little squishiness in my midsection. But when it comes to sporting a bikini, images of celebs captioned by, “Lose your belly fast!” or, “Rock a hot bikini bod!” seem to hijack my normally rational thoughts.
I am fully aware that these women are sucking it in and Photoshopped (and that I’d have to subsist on lettuce for a week to have my abs look like that), but the message of “You’re not good enough,” has already sunk in. My options, it seems, are to jump on the lettuce-eating bandwagon (um… not gonna happen), or surrender my bikini rights and retreat to the camp of one-piece-wearing moms.
There is nothing wrong with wearing a one-piece. There is nothing wrong with buying a cute black swimsuit with ruching. What felt wrong, however, standing in front of the fitting room mirror, was that this suit was entirely not me. I am a person who wears bright colors and fun patterns, and never plain black. I’m a girl who enjoys playing matchmaker with swimsuit tops and bottoms, a girl whose definition of summer includes playing beach volleyball in a bikini.
Here I was, staring at myself in a very flattering swimsuit that screamed, “I’m giving in.” To me, swapping my happy, colorful bikinis for that suit was like letting every half-naked celeb on a magazine cover tell me that I was only good enough for a black, ruched, one-piece mom suit.
I put the suit back on its hanger and gave it to the fitting room attendant.
I may not have a flat stomach, but I’m going to rock a bikini this summer.