The month of July 2015 will go down as one of the best months of my life. I traveled to Puerto Rico with my entire family, a treat of the highest order. I traveled to Cape Cod with Rob and his family, a dream of the highest order.
I am so tan right now you wouldn’t recognize me. The last time I looked like this I was a little girl in Las Vegas, running from my pool to my best friend’s pool to the neighbor’s pool and back, all in one blurry rotation. My hair, a solid brown, was bleached and ragged. My skin was so sunkissed I glowed.
Today I feel like that little girl again.
On the Cape the schedule goes something like this:
Sleep in as late as your body will allow. Stay in bed an hour after you wake up, just because you can. Come downstairs to an elaborate meal prepared by Rob’s food-loving family.
Put on a bikini.
Go to the beach.
Come back for six helpings of pasta.
It’s just about the best schedule I can imagine, especially because the time at the beach includes things such as ladder golf and waboba balls, sailing, and diving off sailboats. Beach chairs on the edge of the tide so you can sit as the jacuzzi water washes over you, Diet Coke in hand.
Yes, July was paradise.
And I lived in a bikini.
There was a time where those two things could’t have coexisted.
I’ll call it the first 25 years of my life.
I used to think that my body was not a bikini body and that was that. I’ve had stretch marks since I was a teenager. Cellulite since then as well. My arms look nothing like Michelle Obama’s.
I could give you a laundry list of my physical complaints. Every girl I know can.
And so there were no bikinis for me for a long time.
When I was in high school and my body was undoubtably more lean than it is now, I used to float around in my best friend’s pool wearing knee-length board shorts making fun of my body.
I am very, very sad for that young, healthy girl and for the culture and circumstances that lead to such behavior. I want to talk more about that young, healthy girl and the culture and circumstances that led to her behavior.
Anne Lamott says something I love:
“Oh my God, what if you wake up some day, and you’re 65, or 75, and you
never got your memoir or novel written; or you didn’t go swimming in
warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly
and you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out
on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big
juicy creative life, of imagination and radical silliness and staring
off into space like when you were a kid? It’s going to break your heart.
Don’t let this happen.”
I read that quote on an airplane on my way to Cape Cod and I thought, “Yes, Anne. Yes, again and as always.” It’s all a lie, you realize at some point. Every girl I know, including the one-and-only Kate Moss, has cellulite. Human beings have dimples and curves and inconsistencies. This idea that we shouldn’t, or it’s abnormal, this idea that we should look Photoshopped in order to feel comfortable at the beach–at some point you have to say no to it. At some point you have to say, “I have stopped buying into this notion and choose to live my life.”
At some point you put on a bikini.
I have a comfortable tummy, cellulite and stretch marks. And my goodness if I was going to let that ruin July for me.
I wore a bikini and ate pasta and laughed a whole lot and right now I am so tanned and so happy I feel like childhood Jill, the one before the heartaches and the real life.
I wore a bikini for a month.
This is my tale.