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The Great Swimsuit Debacle of 2019

[Trigger Warning]

Let me paint you a picture…

My family and I had a trip to Hawaii planned for the summer of 2018 but we had to cancel at the last minute because a rare but serious hurricane was going to be hitting the islands the same week we were supposed to be kicking back on the beach in Kauai. What are the odds, right? A little disappointed, we managed to reschedule our trip for the following summer. 

Fast forward to July 2019, we are a month away from our trip and I couldn’t be more excited for a relaxing vacation in paradise. As many girls do, I got extra excited for an excuse to get a few new things for the trip. I ordered a couple of rompers and tops from Lulu’s, but swimsuits were never on my radar. I’ve grown up with a pool most of my life so over the years I have accumulated far too many bikinis that all live in a giant bin under my bed, some barely worn. In my mind this was going to be the perfect opportunity to finally put them to good use. Using my ridiculous logic, I needed 2 bikinis per day, times six days (I have a hidden talent for wildly overpacking) Fishing through the spandex abyss, I felt like my options were endless. How was I ever going to decide which 12 lucky bikinis got to take a vacay with me?

Or so I thought...

I stood there baffled and horrified as I tried on bikini after bikini and none of them fit. The obvious and most logical answer is that they magically shrunk over the last couple of years because I surely had not grown. I’ve been the same size for the last 10 years. Duh! Why wouldn’t they fit? Sure, I noticed over the past year my jeans seemed a little tighter, but maybe they were just shrinking in the wash. OR, maybe I was in denial that my body had changed! 

Seeing as I spent the last 5 years fighting an eating disorder, it only seemed logical that my body would change as I began to recover, but my mind was not having it. I truly thought I could recover without physically changing. My thoughts and my mental state were in a much better place but I still struggled seeing the physical changes. Especially when it smacks you square in the face with 6 inches of neon spandex. This was a hard pill to swallow because unlike a tiny bikini, most of my clothes were looser to start with so it was much easier to ignore that I was in fact changing.

You can imagine my disappointment as I stand there staring at brightly colored bathing suits, knowing they will never fit me. Even worse, realizing that I had spent the last year in denial, dodging mirrors pretending like nothing had changed. So now, not only did I have the challenge of finding some swimsuits that actually fit at the end of the retail swim season, I also had the much larger challenge of accepting my new healthier, happier self. 

It is now roughly a year later, and I won’t lie and say it has been easy. It doesn’t happen overnight or even over a year. I continuously struggle with accepting my body however I am getting closer. I have good days and bad days just like everyone else and seeing pictures of myself back then can be hard at times. The difference is now, I remember how broken I was in those pictures and how much I don’t want to feel that way again. Yes, I’ve had to give up a sculpted torso and welcome a lot more cellulite to the Kristin family, but if that is the price of happiness then so be it. Finding purpose and value beyond just my physical appearance has played a huge role in learning to accept my body. When I am at the end of my life I am not going to look back and think I would have been so much happier if only I was a size smaller. So when I find myself looking in the mirror too long and catch those unwelcome thoughts creeping in, I try to remind myself to let it go because happiness is worth far more than a bikini size.

Disclaimer: Please note, all information on The Cheeky Life is not intended as medical advice or as a substitute for professional care. The intention of this blog is to connect with the community and share my personal experiences with mental health, eating disorders, and life in general. 

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