Monday, November 1, 2010
Halloween and Bathing Costumes
I am sitting here staring at four chocolate eyeballs. They are from the break room, and I brought them back to my desk. For some reason, I felt the need to test myself. The chocolate eyes are watching me, but I refuse to be the first one to blink. Halloween is indeed a strange time of year!
I spent Halloween lounging at the beach, watching pelicans and terns and frigate birds wheel and dive and bob on the water. Sometimes I find it ironic that the beach, land of lovely bodies and barely-there bathing suits, is one of my favorite places to relax.
Sitting at the beach I see a wide variety of body shapes and sizes as well as varying degrees of self confidence and body self-image. I have seen thin, athletic people in very modest cover-ups and rather large people in two piece suits. Like most people, I used to have typical reactions to what many would consider "inappropriate attire." Society has taught us to denigrate people who are rolling and tumbling out of their too-small bathing suits. My question is, "Why?" Why are we so uncomfortable viewing these people when they are obviously comfortable with what they are wearing? Naturally, I pondered this question whilst sitting under my umbrella.
When I go to the beach, or swim in a pool, I wear a bathing suit covered by a t-shirt and a pair of swim shorts. I am uncomfortable in my fat, and I do not want others to see any more than necessary. This is my choice. A few weeks ago I saw a woman almost my size. She wore a one piece suit and walked confidently about the beach. When I saw her, my first instinct was to cringe, but that rapidly morphed into a feeling of pride. I actually felt proud of this woman I had never met, and would never meet. That she felt comfortable enough to wear what made her happy made me feel fantastic. I can only hope to find that sort of self-confidence.
We should strive to support people of all shapes and sizes. Each of us has the right to wear what makes us happy and confident and comfortable. If we aren't sized perfectly, so be it. Instead of demanding that people conform to what we believe is "appropriate," I think we should alter our perception of others. This world would be greatly improved by a decrease in snarky mockery and and an increase in tolerance.
I may never feel comfortable in a bathing suit, but that is my right. No one else, though, has the right to tell me what to wear or how much I should hide. Hopefully, one day soon, I will find a degree of confidence and acceptance in how I look and how I perceive myself. Until then, I can still be supportive of others and their right to choose what they wear. And if I can use my own discomfort to motivate myself toward finding my health and fitness, I consider that a bonus.