Deployment Chronicles: Bathing suit beauty
Editor’s note: Vivian’s husband is deployed, and she’s keeping us updated about life while he’s away.
With summer well underway, I have (mostly) lost the apprehension of showing my bathing suit clad body at our local pool…mostly due to sheer necessity. I should have realized how hard it was going to be to hide behind a sarong the first day we went and my younger son, still glistening from his sun block application, jumped into the shallow end sans swimmies, only to come bobbing up, scramble up the stairs and run towards to sprinklers with wild abandon (and about 3 lifeguards’ whistles blaring). There is just no cover-up that can withstand the in and out nature of watching toddlers at a pool. On the plus side, chasing them around (and playing sharks and minnows) is burning calories, right?
I have come a long way on my relationship with my body image. I still have hang ups for sure – who doesn’t? But, I think I had a turning point after I had my children. Shortly after having our youngest, in the midst of a move (all military families coordinate moving with having children – just to make both processes *extra* fun, right?), I found a travel journal I’d kept when I spent a semester in college at Oxford University in England. When reading through my traveling journal it hit me. I had journaled just as much about what I ate – or didn’t eat or wanted to eat but didn’t or did eat that I shouldn’t have – as I did about what amazing places I saw and the people I met. Right alongside my thoughts of Parliament, my course studies, and hot British boys were recriminations for eating an extra scone or adding extra cream to my after dinner coffee (I truly loved that tradition by the way).
How could I put as much emphasis on what I ate as the amazing experience of studying abroad? In what reality were those acceptable priorities? Looking back, only the clarity gained through life experiences allowed me to reflect on my younger self’s obsession with having a perfect body with a chuckle and more than a bit of compassion for my unrealistic standards.
So, though I am more comfortable in a tankini (maybe even one of those Lands End ones with a skirt!) than a bikini, I don’t spend inordinate amounts of time anymore lamenting my imperfect body. Instead, I try to focus on what I can do, realistically, to make myself healthier. If nothing else, so that I can keep up with my boys. Thankfully, they aren’t harsh critics. Well, unless they are judging me on my cannonball abilities in a pool competition!
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