The dreaded swimsuit

Since I’d gained weight, I don’t dress according to the weather. I dress to hide my body, to dissimulate the fat, to cover the shame.

Therefore, in the middle of summer, when the sun is high and temperature are rising, you’ll find me in full-length pants with three layers of clothes on top.

Am I crazy to do that? Perhaps. Sadistic? Maybe. Sweaty?

You bet I am.

I’ve been so used to this way of living – being physically uncomfortable as soon as I wasn’t in a room blasting the AC – that I somehow convinced myself that the discomfort was worth it.

But in the past few weeks, something changed in me. I don’t exactly know how it happened, but it all became clear when I was at a friend’s house, three weeks ago.

She and I had planned to spend a day with her 2 years old son and my nephew. Not the kind of day where you spend hours in the house, but rather a day where you enjoy summertime by eating corn on the cob and swimming.

SWIMMING.

An activity I’d successfully avoided in the past 2 or 3 years… Needless to say, I got nervous just thinking about it. But I knew I wanted to go. I knew I wanted to enjoy my day with these people. I just didn’t know if I was willing to sacrifice my well-being again.

So I was left with 2 choices: either do what I did the last time I was invited at my friend’s house – aka watch everyone have fun as I sit at the edge of the pool, pants rolled up, legs barely in the water – or actually enjoy the day and not let my complexes get the better of me. With that thought in mind, I decided to bring my swimsuit. But boy oh boy, did it bring out my anxiety.

I got anxious the night before when I tried it on and glanced at my reflection in the mirror. I was anxious from the minute I put it into my bag to the moment I get it out of it. I was anxious that morning when I was in my friend’s bathroom and had to get undressed. I was realllllly anxious when I had to walk from the bathroom to the pool, trying to somehow hide my thighs and legs with my beach towel. But then… Then I got into the pool and it was gone. GONE!

My anxiety had finally given way to happiness.

I had so much fun swimming with the boys, jumping from the diving board and splashing my legs around. And you know what? I spent most of the afternoon in my swimsuit, in and out of the pool, not caring about what I looked like. It felt good. No, no. Scratch that.

It felt great.

I even told my friend about how relieved I felt and how proud of myself I was. I honestly think that it was a huge step that I took that day. And today, as the cold weather starts to settle in and as my usual getup of pants and sweaters slowly becomes the season’s norm again, here I am, already thinking of next summer.

And let me tell you… When the heat wave will come knocking on our doors in 2020, my dreaded swimsuit will be no more.

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