Depending on who you ask, the photo above is either a portrait of me on the beach, or a portrait of a lady in a magenta bikini with me blocking the view. My husband took the photo, and he nervously insists it’s the former. Which is why I’ve allowed him to remain my husband.
On the afternoon this photo was taken, we were at the beach with our friend Kathy. I told her I might buy a bikini to wear during our vacation in Australia, and that it would be the first time I had ever worn a bikini in my life.
She was shocked by this. But I explained that I’ve never had permission to wear a bikini because I’d never had a “bikini body”. (Even as a high school athlete I was fit and muscular yet simultaneously flabby in all the key places. WTF?)
Kathy had never heard of such a ridiculous idea. And apparently, no one else had either, because as I looked around the beach, I noticed that EVERY woman was wearing a bikini– grandmothers, teenagers, and toddlers alike.
Apparently, ”bikini body” was an idea fabricated in my own insecure imagination. I thought I needed permission to wear one– permission from a culture that tells us who looks good and who doesn’t, who is worthy and who isn’t. But the only permission I needed was my own.
So I wore a pink striped bikini in Australia. Not so much because I love bikinis, but because I don’t want to be someone who has never worn one simply because I was waiting around for permission.
This Is Not Really About Bikinis
Skimpy swimwear is a metaphor for whatever else happens to be the carrot at the end of your stick: your secret wish, your deepest desire, that which you have the permission– the duty– to chase. (Except if you’re an emotionally unstable celebrity stalker. In that case, stop chasing the carrot because you’re creeping us all out.)
But for those of us with non-creepy desires, know that whatever the prize may be, you don’t want to look back during your mid-life crisis and kick yourself for having waited around so damn long for a green light.
So reach for your prize now. Apologize later.