Have you ever been embarrassed to go to the beach in a bathing suit? Perhaps you talked yourself out of going until you lost a few pounds or found a day when you felt your body was looking its best. I had many moments like this when I was a young adult. I remember seeing pictures of celebrities splashed across covers of magazines that had big announcements about their unflattering swimsuit images. If celebrities could be ripped apart in this manner, then so could I. My fear of what others would think of my body kept me from the beach and pool for six years.
Finally when I had my first child, I re-experienced what it was like to look at the world with excitement and without inhibition related to how others perceived me. I still remember pulling out my bathing suit, staring it down, and telling myself that no matter what, I was getting into that suit and going to the pool with my daughter. I was so determined to make my daughter’s first experiences in the water a great one that it did not seem to register in my mind that perhaps my pregnancy weight was still hanging onto my body. All that mattered was being able to take the opportunity to share a first experience. I got to be the one who showed her how to splash, how to blow bubbles underwater, how to float on her back, and how to jump off the side of the pool. Today I get to be the proud mom swimming next to my daughter as she kicks her way across the deep-end of the pool and amazes onlookers.
If you have yet to take out your swimsuit this summer, take a minute to reflect on what is stopping you. My wish for you this summer is to feel like that child again as you walk on the beach or step onto the pool deck in your swimsuit. Love every minute of the water splashing and cooling your body. Let out a shriek as you submerge your head under the cold water. Hear the voice of the little child inside you who loves to be in the water doing tricks and singing silly songs at the top of your lungs. For me, nothing could be sweeter than hearing my daughter shout, “I get to go swimming with Mommy!” as she races to find her suit.