Summer is almost here and I’m more than ready to ditch all the winter blues and soak up the sun, sea and lazy days. So I pull out my beach bag from the bottom of my closet for a recon: flip flops? Check. Sun hat? Check. Sunscreen? Got it. Wip? Oh, yeah, plus lots of colored pens to highlight the various phases of my new story, Book Two of The Amazing Erica series. Kindle? You need to even ask? Plus look at my gorgeous beach towel. But there is one, horrible thing missing…
A primal fear grips my throat all of a sudden, and I can’t understand why. All is well. School is almost over and soon I’ll have plenty of time to write. So what the heck is up?
And then I remember. I have to buy a swimsuit. Not because I’m one of those bikini (ha!) buffs who not only have a swimsuit for every day of the week, but also for every moment of the day, but because the one I bought three years ago at Tesco’s has had it. The elastic (which at the best of times are put to hard work) has now given up and collapsed- can you blame the poor thing?
I look in the mirror and sigh as I catch sight of my thighs. Too many chocolate chip cookies and too much pasta al pesto. And not enough walking, even if the beach is a one-minute drive away and I can see the waves from all my windows.
So here we are- yet again, with the roly-poly body of a writer that was never meant to be an athlete and who would rather spend time pounding out stories than, say, the grounds of a tennis court.
In the privacy of my bedroom my thighs are, yes, big, but it doesn’t matter. I love me, my husband loves me and my friends don’t judge me by my jeans size.
But out there, in the cruel changing rooms of any place that’ll have my size (usually a UK store) I have to face the facts- or rather, the mirror which I always tell myself comes from a circus, and I really don’t look like that.
After I fight my way into a swimsuit, naturally a one-piece, (the bust area has strong support, so that’s a plus) I inspect my reflection to check for damages. I can see last winter’s Nutella sandwiches in the not-so-cute dimples on my thighs. But I can also thank a year of eating fruit (among other things such as chocolate cereal) for the quality of my skin.
But… the year before I had lost sixteen kilos by eating mixed salads of all kinds and proteins every day for six months. No desserts, no fried stuff, no sauces. And I felt great! I had never looked better. I’d wake up in the morning thinking, ‘Hey, not only do I not feel lethargic- I actually feel great!’
Never mind that it didn’t last more than six months- until I got my first whiff of fresh summer ice cream- but at least I proved to myself that it could be done. And for the sake of feeling great, I’ll probably do it again- maybe a little less harsh and restrictive (you try to live through a Sicilian summer without gelato, lemon slush or Saturday evening pizzas at a seaside restaurant), but keeping an eye on my health.
As soon as this school year is over and I’m relaxed, I’ll do it. And even if I don’t fare very well, I’ll always have the sea to swim in and lose some of that flab and tone my muscles. Plus don’t underestimate the positive effects of breathing sea air with nothing on your mind for two months!
All in all, we should feel good about ourselves no matter how many commercials show big girls frowning, trying to squeeze into tiny bikinis. No matter how many narrow-waisted, skinny-legged women traipse across our TV screens. Those girls aren’t real, anyway.
Only you are, with your lovely curves and round shoulders. No one is like you. So walk down that beach to your favorite spot and plunk down your stuff with utter confidence. You have a whole holiday ahead of you. And you sure as hell deserve it. So celebrate yourself, celebrate the summer with the joy of being you. Because, unfortunately for them, no one else will ever be quite like you.