i'm a miss bikini
I love the sand, sunshine, swimsuits and sexy coverups. I see the pool and the beach as opportunities to uncover my hard work, so to speak, and I don't mind (and often even like) most of the attention I get when I wear skimpy bikinis.
In fact, the tagline of Miss Bikini, the Italian swimwear brand I'm strutting this week, says (in Italian) that a Miss Bikini is a woman who loves her body and loves to show it with confidence. She is a demanding woman who wants to stand out and be free to interpret and express her femininity. The real protagonist (or true star) on the beaches of the world.
You can call me a Miss Bikini.
But it wasn't always that way.
For a long time, I chased a look and ideal body shape that I could never achieve... meaning I was never happy with it. I avoided pools and the beach because I was extremely self-conscious about even minuscule flaws and had a laundry list of insecurities.
I've lived near the beach at least half of my adult life and you know how many times I went during my 20s and early 30s? Less than a dozen. And not because I don't like the beach (I love it), am allergic to sand (I'm not), or burn like the first pancake (I do, but that's why Colonel Sanders invented this sunscreen). Because I felt like I didn't belong there unless I looked like a bikini model. When forced by social obligation to go to the beach or a pool party, I'd cover up my insecurities as much as possible in boardshorts (which don't reflect my personal style) or skirted suits (which look hideous on me), hide out under the umbrellas, and blame my northern European genes while muttering something about my predisposition to skin cancer as an excuse to not play.
Thankfully I've since realized that it's not about achieving an certain [unattainable] body shape or a look - it's about achieving ideal personal habits of eating well, caring for myself, and getting the right amount and type of exercise that I need. And not letting body hang ups rule my life.
My hubtographer (husband/photographer) can shower me with genuine, heartfelt compliments, but if I've been eating like crap or missed too many workouts, I just don't feel it. Feeling sexy is about playing the long game - consistent behavior over weeks and months. Magazines shout with suggestions of how to feel sexy now, lose ten pounds in four weeks or blast stomach fat and reduce the appearance of cellulite, but it's all subterfuge to sell copies. The truth is it takes time and consistency for the outward stuff and a mindshift for the internal.
There's a lot more to life than feeling beautiful. I get it. There's a lot more to me than this blog or bikinis or lingerie. But I get sad seeing people who have given up or are missing out on experiencing life to its fullest, like I used to. Feeling beautiful and sexy plays into happiness, confidence, relationships, openness to opportunities, and the example set for our peers and children. And nothing good comes from hiding or feeling shame about your body.
I still have plenty of body "flaws" that I wish were different, but they no longer interfere with my life and dictate what I do and don't do. I've chosen to own my body (every single part of it) and make my own decisions rather than letting my hangups call the shots. And when I eat well, take care of myself and do activities that make me feel healthy, I get excited to go out, catch some vitamin D, throw on a sexy swath of lycra, and experience life - and I don't care who's watching. I feel good. Because there's nothing more beautiful than self-confidence and being healthy in my book.
I'm not gonna lie, even though I've been eating well and working out, it took a healthy dose of self-confidence to do this photoshoot. You can't tell in the photos but the beach was full of people. Thankfully the bikini-- a snake print triangle top in lace fabric and Brazilian bottom with strings -- is one of my favorites which helped. The Brazilian cut is a good way to test the waters for those used to wearing full coverage who want to try something a little more revealing. It allows showing off without showing the whole kit and caboodle since it cuts across the cheek of the bum, rather than sitting under it (like typical swimwear) or cutting straight up the middle and across the top like with a thong.
Even though it was a bit nerve-wracking to strut my stuff in front of hundreds of strangers, thanks to the confidence I garnered from putting my time in at the gym (my living room, actually), making good food choices lately, and donning a bikini that I feel sexy in, I did it and I'm so glad I did. That experience will make it easier to pose in public next time, I'll never see those people again so who cares, and I love the way the photos turned out. I'm also happy to report I no longer turn down invitations to anything that involves a bathing suit and I'm a regular denizen of the beach and poolside these days.
So starting today take steps toward taking care of the one and only body you have, find a bikini that you love and makes you feel great, and get out there. Life is waiting for you, Miss Bikini.
What I'm Wearing
Where I'm At
Baia di San Montano, Ischia, Italia