That's a picture of me in my bathing suit. Or, a picture of me that I cropped out most of the picture... and probably not enough... of me in my bathing suit.
That was a few weeks ago. And here's another picture of me in my bathing suit... right after having my hair cut. So, about two weeks ago.
Wanna play a game of find the differences?
My hair is shorter. I'm using a different colored towel. I'm taking the picture from the right instead of the left. I think my face looks thinner in the second photo, but that may just be my imagination.
None of that stuff is what I'm getting at, though. The point is, these two pictures and the many others I've taken recently all have one thing in common.... not a single one of them will you find me showing off more than what you see right there of my bathing suit. In fact, I've cropped many of them to cut out more than what's showing there... because the thought of people seeing me in my bathing suit scares me.
OK, so that fear doesn't really apply to my family. But, even when my parent's come over... I jump in to this thing the minute I'm out of the pool...
That's from the 4th of July. Anytime I got out of the pool, I grabbed for my cover-up because there was no way in Hades I was walking around in just a bathing suit.
Yes, me in a bathing suit... where people can actually see me is one of my fears. Not fear like I have for spiders or heights, but enough to make my stomach all queasy and nervous sweats to start appearing.
And tomorrow? I either have to face that fear, or spend my entire day sitting on the sidelines missing out on all the fun my family is going to have.
That's because tomorrow, for the first time in a couple of years, I'm going to a public water park. Public. Meaning lots of other people - complete strangers - there.
The last time I ventured to a public pool was when I was down about 60lbs, and not feeling as self-conscious in my bathing suit. OK, I still had plenty to lose... but I knew that wearing my size 16 bathing suit wasn't as bad as wearing the size 20 I wore the year before.
Now, this year, I'm back in to a size 18 bathing suit... and I just don't know how I feel about getting out there for complete strangers to see me.
Do I wear the much more flattering 2-piece that I wear at home... that actually covers more rolls and gives off a better size perception than my one piece does? Or do I just wear the one piece because I have less chance of something slipping out... like the spare tire I wear around my waist even though I think I look like a beached whale in it?
Just thinking about it has made my stomach go all queazy.
And, I know what some of you are thinking... why not wear a t-shirt or something over the top? Well, I totally would... but the park doesn't allow it. Not if I want to get on any of the slides or do any of the fun stuff. No loose clothing is allowed for that stuff.
The sad part is, I know that there will probably be other women there that are much larger than me. They'll be sporting 2-pieces or one pieces like it's nothing. They'll look and act like it's no big deal.. even though I have no idea what they actually are thinking. But, they'll do it as if it's a normal as getting up in the morning.
But, I also know there will be those women that are looking. Judging. Wondering what on earth a woman of my size is thinking wearing whatever it is I decide to wear. I know this is where I should say that I shouldn't give a flying flip what those other women think... but I do. It bothers me to the core. I hate the feeling like I'm being judged or laughed at or mocked in some way.
It's the ultimate center of my fear.
I know it happens, because I have been one of those people. I see women sporting a bikini when they are much heavier than I am... and I automatically wonder how on earth they are comfortable doing that. I see very large women wearing tight dresses or shorts with a lot hanging out... and I automatically wonder how they do it.
It takes me a few moments before I knock some sense in to myself and smack myself for doing the exact same thing I fear others are going to do to me. But it still happens.
I judge. Even though it goes against everything I believe in. It happens. Out of my control, until I can bring myself back to controlling my thoughts and applauding them for being so brave.. or much braver than I am.
What hurts more than anything is that I know I wouldn't have to feel this way if I hadn't of let myself go again. If I had just stayed on track the last time... I'd be wearing my bathing suit with pride, because I knew how much hard work it took to get to the point where I was comfortable in it.
But I didn't.
I let it all go again... and now, once again, I pay the price for it.
The truth is, I'll do it. I'll go in to that park and walk around in my bathing suit... feeling the nervousness and stomach tightening every time I walk by a beautiful girl in her bathing suit. I'll do it because it's not about me tomorrow... it's about my kids. Giving them a good time, regardless of how Mommy is feeling about it.
Although I have to remind myself of the feelings I know I will have... each and every day that I get up and don't feel like going for that walk... or when I want to grab for a bag of chips to snack on. I can't forget.. not anymore.
I remember, now, what it felt like to start to like the way I looked in a bathing suit. Now that it's too late and the damage has already been done. But that doesn't mean I can't get that feeling back... maybe by next year.
It has to stay with me, though. This time. I can't let it go.
I owe it to myself. To be OK with wearing a bathing suit in public. For not feeling awkward and judged anytime I step out of my comfort zone.
And there's only one way for that to happen.
This is my own doing. My own fault.
Thank goodness, I'm at least working on fixing it again. I have that to keep me going, at least.
Which leads in to a perfect time for some exercise before it's time to get my day started...
Till next time!
a/k/a Mad, Fat Woman