As you guys may or may know I bought a thong bathing suit recently. It wasn’t a heavy decision I had to make. I saw it, I liked the pattern, I gave the company a google (you know, to make sure it wasn’t some fast fashion garbage), and decided to give it a go. Marlowe gave me a wide-eyed look of fear and Alex gave me more of, *yes, I like this look* kind of vibe.
This isn’t my first thong bathing suit or even my second. In fact, my very first one when I was four years old… or so the story goes. Other than a photo I remember hanging in my grandparents house, I have no recollection of it. And you could not see my flawless child butt in said photo. But my mom swears, it was a thong.
I bought my second one right before Alex and my first trip to Mexico together. It wasn’t a full butt kind of thong, but rather something that showed a bit more cheek, but still, it leaned to a more modest side. (If it’s even possible to be modest in a cheeky thong-ish bikini). It was our honeymoon and I thought, “well, if I’m ever going to wear one, now is the time.” I wore it a few times and lost it at some point in the past five years. ps. I have no pictures to prove this existed either.
And so, this past month, I bought a new thong bathing suit. These are the things I learned:
1. The Sun was mad at me. Sunburns hurt!
A LOT. I know, it sounds crazy that I’m over here, cruising through my thirties and have never, not once, burned my skin. Crazy, but that’s just how it is. And no, I’m not a regular sunscreen wearer. In fact, its rare I wear sunscreen at all. But now, here I am, for the first time in my life where I can sympathize with people who sunburn. I’ve tried to sympathize before, I swear! But, I found it hard to believe that they could really hurt. Apparently they do, because I couldn’t sit normal for three days last week.
From this experience, I’ve realized that the universe was either trying to tell me:
A. I should never show my butt to the sun.
B. I should have shown my butt to the sun a lot more.
Chances are it’s case B— that I should have shown my butt to the sun my whole life. If I had, I could have avoided this fiery situation. But you live, you learn. Sunburns hurt, the sun was calling my butt into its light for years.
ps. My butt is in that weird itchy post burn phase now, if you’re curious.
2. As nit-picky as I am with myself, I’m apparently not even close to as obsessive as I thought.
This week I learned that I have some pretty large stretch marks on my butt. Who knew?! Not me! I pick at everything! Pimples, scars, hangnails, chin hairs, all of it: PICK PICK PICK. (Gross, I know, stop judging me. I tend to lean on the side of compulsive habits.)
So let’s say I scratch my leg for a second and feel some under my thigh… You know what happens next? Back flips to see whats under there. I NEED TO KNOW AND I NEED TO PICK IT OFF. I can’t help it. But this whole time… who knows how long… I’ve had stretch marks! There is a chance that they are completely and totally new. After three years, I’m finally feeling like I’m gaining some sort of curve back… so maybe they just popped up last month. But theres a chance they were from my pregnancy with Marlowe. Or who knows, maybe they were from 12-ish years ago when I was at my highest weight ever. I was 30 pounds heavier than I am now– we can thank beer, cheese, and wine for that one. I really have no idea when they grew in. But the fact that I never knew or noticed is awesome! Really awesome.
I did realize that my cellulite has almost faded over the last year and a half of so (thank you clean high carb low-fat diet), but I guess I never got in close enough to see those tiger stripes. For this, I’m happy for myself.
ps. I cant actually back bend. I am the least flexible person you will ever meet.
3. Either my self-confidence is building or my “I just don’t give a f*ck” mentality is growing.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I, in no way, feel like some beautiful woman powerhouse. I’m a long way from that. I lost a lot of self-confidence when I got sick. Illness will certainly do that. All of a sudden my body had drastically changed— I looked sunken, drained, and overall unhealthy. My under eye circles were darker than they had ever been and every curve on my body had evaporated into thin air.
On top of my appearance, I was no longer a strong, productive, self-sufficient individual anymore. I was dependent on the people around me in a way I had never been before. I went from traveling across the world by myself, writing a cookbook, primarily being the one in charge of the kid (even after Alex and I had gotten back together), and more to becoming completely useless in bed everyday. My confidence was rocked in all kinds of ways. And three years later, I’m still working on growing it back.
I still do not have my curves back. And while I still struggle from massive colon issues from time to time (ones that make me look six months pregnant for two weeks at a time), I’m emotionally starting to feel okay with everything. Again, I don’t feel like a Beyoncé super curvy woman over here. I can’t shout about body positivity, without someone giving me a side eye. And/but, I’m certainly not one of those thin and fit women with sharpened abs peeking out under my crop top. My stomach bulges from my skinny torso where my boobs droop low. I’m neither fit nor lush, it’s just how it is. But I’m learning to feel comfortable in whatever skin I do have, just being me.
But when I put on my thong for the first time, I didn’t worry much about the fact that my cheeks were showing, as underwhelming at they can seem compared to the images of perfect butts portrayed in the media. I was fine with the butt I had attached to me. Instead, what really made me antsy and hesitant about my new thong was that my cheeks were glaringly and awkwardly white compared to the rest of my body. I didn’t want anyone painfully blinded by my full moon.
But the thing was, that was temporary. My white butt wasn’t and isn’t me, who I am, or something that made me less than. I was insecure about something outstandingly simple.
And so yes I had an overall hesitancy the first time I wore my thong, but I knew I would have to get past that. I knew my butt would tan like the rest of me and then I could move on past my awkward phase. But no, I didn’t know I would have to pay the price of a sunburn. This was a slight glitch in the *building my confidence* step. So while the burn is passing, the stretch marks are now more prominent than they had ever been (apparently a good tan on your butt will make them stand out). And I’m okay with all of it. I plan to put that thong back on, without hesitancy.
It is what it is. This body, as damaged as it has been, and as much as it still needs to heal, it’s still mine. It’s the only fleshy suit my soul will ever wear. I have two choices: to worry about how everything looks and feels in and on my skin OR embrace it. At the end of the day, this butt, no matter how many changes it goes through in my lifetime, is the only one I’ll ever have. It’s always been there for me, and I just have to embrace every squishy, bony, dimply aspect of it. Silly but, buying a thong, burning my butt, and finding new stretch marks has taught me to just go with it.
Physical and emotional burns are temporary. You just gotta feel the breeze and allow the sun to shine down on you… all of you.
ps. If I’m being totally transparent, I still gotta work on my boob confidence. Those things have certainly gone down hill.
pps. I had debated posting a picture of said burn and butt. But for my mother’s sake, I didn’t. You’re welcome mom.