When I was a teenager, a tough part of summer for me was the swimming. Particularly the togs question. I was a bit bigger than some of my friends and I was pretty self-conscious about it. In case you feel that way too, I want to share some of my experiences, and what has helped.
Here we go.
So I have always had a little bit of puppy fat, which I really started to notice when I was about 11. Add to that getting my boobs in a little early and you have me feeling like a giant lard-monster. Back then wearing togs didn't bother me too much. I just wore one-pieces to hide my tummy.
And then it came. The dreaded TRIANGLE BIKINI. Everyone had one. You were pretty uncool if you didn't. So I ran with that, and so did my friends, saying that people who wore them cared too much about being cool. We wore our uncoolness proudly. We flaunted our childish one-pieces. But really, there was no way I was letting anyone see my tummy. No way.
Fast forward a few years and tankinis became it. Even my professedly uncool friends had those. Tankinis were ok tummy-wise, but I had a new issue to contend with... boobs. Quite simply, all those tankinis did was flatten and squish and the thought of people seeing me not in a bra was pretty frightening. That's about the time I started avoiding swimming. I'd tell my friends that I didn't feel like it, or that I left my togs at home.
That makes me so SAD, you guys. I loved swimming and I let my fear of being seen in togs stop me from doing it. I want to go back and shake my younger self.
So let me tell you how I got (am still getting!) over it.
Now this story comes in my last year of highschool. My friends were all in bikinis and tankinis at this point. So I show up at a friend's house during the holidays. Everyone is there. As usual I have purposefully left my togs at home to avoid swimming. And one of my friends takes off her top . And she looks gorgeous. And more importantly, she is having the time of her life. She's doing bombs and dives and trying to splash people. And I think to myself, I want that. I just want to have fun with my friends. I'm not going to let this discomfort hold me back. And so I borrowed a pair of togs from a friend and jumped in too. I had so. much. fun.
Another thing about this friend. Her stomach wasn't perfectly flat. But she was confident and having a blast. Which is what people notice, waaay before they look at your body.
I'd love to tell you that I never felt self-conscious again. But that's not how to world works. What came out of that day was my commitment not to miss out on any fun, because I felt self-conscious. So I want to share with you a few things that have worked for me.
1) I never outgrew the boob-smooshing issues of the tankini. So I wear a bra underneath, or a bikini. If wearing a bra underneath your togs is going to help, just do it.
2) No-one is looking at that body part you're self-conscious about. Everybody is thinking about themselves. Tell yourself that next time you're worried about what people will think.
3) Swimming is the best! Don't let yourself miss out. It's not worth it.
4) You will never look back at your life and think, man, I shouldn't have worn togs as much. I should have kept my clothes on and watched other people have fun.
And 5) You are gorgeous! There is nothing wrong with your body. Even if you're struggling to see it right now.
I hope this has helped. Get out there and live, you guys! ▼