Real talk: the last time I wore a bikini was a decade ago. This is not an exaggeration. I went to Puerta Plata in the Dominican Republic when I was twenty-one and, afterwards, I renounced two-piece swimsuits. I am not a water baby. At best, my attitude towards beaches resembles indifference. At most, I wear a bathing suit a handful of times a year. The last time I bought a new one, I was twenty-three. It’s black. It’s plain. So I could try to argue that I don’t avoid bikinis. But I know that isn’t true. Why? Because when Bikini Village asked me to style one, my reaction was almost visceral. The thought of putting on a two-piece bathing suit terrified me. I wasn’t anywhere near ready to contemplate being photographed in one.
It took me four months to agree to wear this bikini. In that time, I argued with myself incessantly about stupid things, like if my legs would look too heavy – because no one, not even me, can justify wearing heels with a bathing suit. The campaign is #mybikinstory. If you follow me on instagram, you probably know that. And if you do, you know that I finally realised that, whether I like it or not, this is the way my story goes.
The last time you all saw me in a swimsuit was in 2014. I avoid wearing swimwear if it is at all possible. I hate how I look in bathing suits. I’ve hated how I looked in most clothes my whole life, from what I remember. I’m not looking for compliments, just telling the truth. And the truth is, I contemplated a diet for the first time at age six. I work hard every single day to silence the voice in my head that tells me I will never really look good enough, while simultaneously admonishing myself because I know there are many people who wish they looked like me.
And so I don’t wear swimwear, because if I wear swimwear, then I have to acknowledge that by conventional beauty standards, I’m doing just fine and I know this, but I’m still not satisfied. I would rather not talk about it. I would prefer not to accept that I will likely never have the body I want because this is the only body I get. When I see articles that claim you can achieve a perfect beach body in twelve weeks, I roll my eyes. But I also roll my eyes when I read the now ubiquitous phrase, “How to have a beach body; have a body, go to the beach.” At the heart of this lifelong struggle is the fear that I will never find satisfaction in anything and that the fact that I am never satisfied is somehow my fault.
To use another ubiquitous phrase, the struggle is real. It took a quarter of a year and a lot of convincing, but I finally decided just to give myself a break. It wasn’t easy. Just like my body, I’m not perfect. So I gave myself permission to just be good enough. And yes, I’ve questioned that decision once or twice, but most all, it’s been pretty freeing – if it hadn’t, I wouldn’t be writing this.
I’d love to know – what’s your bikini story?
#oneill #aceandtate #bikini