If I thought going running in my saggy jogging bottoms was daunting, wearing my swimming costume in public was a whole new level of anxiety – especially without my little human shield to wield in front of my mumtum.
As part of efforts to mend my leg, I need to hit the pool (sans-child) to help build up strength and stamina in a gentle fashion… so that I can then repeatedly slam it against concrete (hopefully) without fear of breaking myself again.
When the physio suggested it I was so desperate to be back running that I immediately agreed it was a brilliant idea – until I remembered I would essentially be in my underwear.
Outside my house.
In front of other people.
Even though my running gear is tight, at least I can wear a t-shirt (or as we have run over the winter months, a thin coat) over my bumpy bits, with swimming there is NO WHERE to hide.
I know it’s silly. I’ve read all the “be proud of your body” articles (usually written by women with flat tummies and no cellulite). In fact, as it’s normally about this time of year that all the “feel sexy in your swimsuit” or “how to get bikini ready is 10 easy steps” type stories start to come out, I thought I’d look a few up and maybe give my confidence a bit of a boost.
Yeah, that didn’t happen (unless I wanted to not eat for the next six months which seemed the only way I might be considered “bikini ready”).
Maybe they aren’t written with 39-year-olds in mind but I just found some of the suggestions really funny (and some of it, bearing in mind that Freya will probably be reading them in a few years, really disturbing).
Here is one statistic that I gave some serious thought though.
“If Justin Timberlake invited them to a beach party, 36% of women would turn him down flat because they don’t feel in good enough shape.”
Really? If Justin invited me to a party? I’d go…as long as he had invited Keanu who, I assume, he is friends with because why wouldn’t he be? Surely, if he invited me, my good friend Justin is interested in me, not how I look in a swimsuit or otherwise? And if he isn’t (and I was getting a bit cross with him here) then I don’t want to be friends with him. Who is he to judge me?
And then I remembered that Justin and I were not really friends and that he hadn’t invited me to a party but I was fired up by that point and decided that no one had the right to make me feel like crap in my swimming costume – even me.
So I waltzed out of the changing rooms yesterday, towel held aloft to try and stop it getting wet in the inescapable power showers, which is how I imagine nuclear decontamination is done, to get into the pool and guess what happened?
No one even glanced my way.
Or at least I presume they didn’t because I had to take my glasses off to swim and couldn’t really see anyone else. In fact, I’m thinking that might be the way to get through life (as long as I don’t need to drive anywhere). Just kidding! Honest.
I had my glasses on until just before I entered the water so I had a good look around and you know what people of all different shapes and sizes were doing?
It was actually a bit annoying because I was ready for them but they weren’t there; just a lot of people in the same boat/pool.
No matter who you are, we all have our own insecurities. I think the way to feel confident in your costume is not to care what people think because the majority of people aren’t thinking about you at all (maybe they are too busy worrying about what they look like?) It’s exactly the same as when I was worrying about going out in my jogging bottoms all those months ago (only with less clothes). I’ve never had anything but positive comments when I’ve been out running.
Even if a minority are bothered by what you (I) look like, you (I) shouldn’t worry about what they think. Who are they after all?
And maybe, if he’s going to be mean, I won’t invite Justin to my party next time*.
What do you think? Is not bothering about what other people think easier said than done? Especially when you’re one layer away from naked?
*I will, as long as he brings Keanu.