Body Envy at the Beach


Body Envy at the BeachI just can’t stop looking her way. I don’t mean to stare, but I can’t help it. Of every bikini-clad woman that has walked by me on this crowded beach, something about her just keeps drawing me in. I’m mesmerized. I’m confused. I’m ENVIOUS.

I get up and go for a walk to try to sort through the emotions that this woman has unknowingly stirred up. I’ve seriously never been one to care too much about how I look in a swimsuit, and certainly not one to judge how others do.

I faced some hard truths.

I’ll be the first to admit I’m not a body confident person. I wasn’t when I was a competitive athlete, with a solid four pack (never worked hard enough on the elusive lower two) and had the jiggle-free thighs that 20 years of soccer afforded me. Even then, I always had a skirt or shorts on. And I’m definitely not now, not after nursing four babies and carrying twins that permanently stretched my ribs. Even so…

…my looks have never defined me.

However, this morning when I put on my suit, I did cringe a little bit at the changes that have taken place in my appearance over the years. I did attempt to suck in my gut, find a swim skirt that covered me enough while still looking like I wasn’t trying to hide under a tent, donned extra large sunglasses to hide the wrinkles, and scolded myself for being more lax with healthy eating and exercise this year.

My looks have never defined me.  

Lately it seems everywhere I look someone is advertising a new fat-loss, wrinkle removing, skin-tightening, body-enhancing procedure. I have several friends who’ve had work done. Honestly, it seems more people have than haven’t. However for me, I know it wouldn’t change a thing about how I feel inside. It would actually have the reverse effect on me, and I’d be even more self-conscious. Also, let’s face it: no amount of work will make me the 5’11 tall skinny blond with big boobs that has been ingrained in my head as the dream bod anyways!

My looks have never defined me.

So why now? When did I fall so far off the confidence wagon? Is it motherhood and exhaustion wearing me down? Is it societal pressures or social media highlight reels? Is it media’s false portrayal of beauty and endless youth? Is it a normal process of aging?

She didn’t let her looks define her.

You see, this woman was not a super model by any means. There was no thigh-gap, huge perky bosom, flat abdomen, long lanky anything in sight. And when I really looked (for research purposes) nobody else on the beach had that elusive “perfect body” either (even with help). No two bodies are alike, and that’s something we should embrace.

What drew me to her was her carefree, completely in-the-moment spirit. She wasn’t sitting under a cover-up, trying to look like she wasn’t self-conscious. She wasn’t glued to her chair, pretending to be happily reading a book, but really wishing she could just run into the water and play with her kids. She was just a mom, at the beach with her family.

I envied her.

Whether or not she was faking it until making it, like so many of us will have to do, I was envious because she didn’t let her self-consciousness stop her. She was there, utterly present with her family, not letting the moment pass her by.

My looks have never defined me.

But my smile, my passion, my playfulness, my confidence, and my family do. So when I realized how much I’ve let external pressures seep in and permitted them to steal a portion of my day and joy, this woman was a beautiful reminder of who I strive to be.

So join me this summer, put on that bathing suit, and DON’T LET YOUR LOOKS DEFINE YOU.

Previous articleGrandmas and Their Babies
Next articleFor My Non-Mom Millennial Friends
Family is everything, and I can think of no better town to live in with my high school sweetheart and our four young children. Although we've been here for a few years now, we often find that it still feels like vacation. Embracing the natural beauty and slower pace were easy. Learning to love Orange wasn't too hard. However, my mid-western roots shine through in my inability to accessorize my daughters with giant hair bows and my preference for unsweetened tea. Being a mother is more incredible than I ever dreamed, and even though our days are utter chaos riddled with exhaustion, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I blog about anything and everything related to motherhood at Stroller Savvy..


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here