We only have about 6 weeks of summer left! It's already gone by so fast. In the time we have left, we hope to take multiple trips to the pool, maybe a few quick weekend trips and then one week away as a family too if we can squeeze it in. Being plus size, one thing I always dreaded in the past was getting ready to take the kids to anything "water" that would require me to wear a swimsuit. Not because I don't like swimming, I actually love it - but I didn't like the self doubt and negative self talk that would start up in my head when I thought about putting on a swimsuit. The sad thing is, I've thought this way since I was about 8 years old. 30ish years of this nonsense rattling through my head is 30 years too many!
One of the few pictures I have where the "you're not good enough" messaging wasn't prevalent in my head. It was 1988. I was 6 years old.
My younger sister is pictured in front of me.
Things I thought to myself over the years thinking about wearing swimwear: What will the other people at the pool think? Will they stare more at my legs or my arms? As a kid, will the "mean kids" call me or my body out for not fitting in? As a teen, maybe if I stay in the deep end, no one will see my stomach from above the water? Fast forward years later as an adult, I found myself wondering if other women would feel sorry for me because I'm now 30+ years old and my only option for swimwear is a swim skirt and full coverage tankini because I never got "ahold" of my weight (whatever the heck that even means!)? I swear, there was a ticker tape going through my head saying "Does this look like a "fat" suit?!?" at every age after 8. Then I started to worry about how it would affect my kids. What if my kids say something or if they are embarrassed? How can I cover up as much as possible without passing out from heat stroke? What if I end up looking like a lobster because it's so rare my skin sees the "light of day" that I'm sure to burn - even with all the SPF in the world?!? And finally, is this even worth it?!?
Can you relate? I'm sure I'm not alone in the above thoughts as I know most of them come from the pervasive diet culture many of us were raised in.
I sported this 2 piece a few weeks ago when I took the boys to the splash pad. It was the first time I wore a 2 piece outside of our backyard or a vacation (where I knew no one else in "real" life). I was 38 years old and this was a first.
Swim bottoms here / Rash Guard here / Bike shorts here
(bikini top is old, no longer available, but similar is here)
Working through my own body acceptance and love has been a journey - one I'm sure will never truly be over! But I'm here to tell you that as a plus size mom of 2 young boys, it is possible to put on a swimsuit (and a cute coordinating cover-up when you want) so we can enjoy the water activities with the family too!
5 years ago I would have likely rolled my eyes at that thought - "yeah right, it's only because she's XX size and I'm XX size (the bigger of the two sizes) that she can make that work". But here's the thing, I'm at one of my largest sizes ever (according to the tags in my clothes) AND I'm also truly the happiest with my body that I've ever been. Things jiggle more. There are lumps and bumps that were never there before the age of 30 (almost 40). But with practice, I've retrained my eyes to see my body for what it is. Beautiful. It was never about the suits or the looks from others, it was about putting on the suit, taking a pic or video of me wearing the suit, and getting my eyes, head and heart adjusted to the idea that I deserve the joy in these experiences as much as anyone else - as much as any other body.
When I develop wardrobe capsules, or in this case, a summer swimsuit capsule, I keep in mind ALL body types. I think me being at the top end of the size range for women's clothing helps me understand the struggles of shopping for larger or harder to fit bodies. Whenever I style things for others, I keep this perspective at the forefront of my mind when deciding what to include in a capsule. When I put things together, I always consider what will truly look good on multiple body types and sizes! I guess I've been excluded from so many things in fashion over the years, that I knew it was time for me to create something focused on INCLUSION and make a resource for all of us!
In May, I released the ORM Swimwear '21 Capsule. Many of the suits and accessories used in this capsule are now on sale. I've gotten so many pictures and direct feedback from women that have used the capsule saying that for the first time they "feel confident" in their summer swimwear. How liberating it feels. How emotional it is to know they deserve the moments as much as anyone else. It's this feedback that keeps me going. Keeps me showing up on the internet and social media in swimsuits. And most importantly, reminds me that through our hard self-work, things are changing for ALL of us!
Pictured above is my most recent swimsuit find for under $40. I can't wait to rock this suit in the last 6 weeks of summer making all the memories I can with my family. I hope you'll join me in the fun!