If you would have told me the first time I’d wear a legit two piece swimsuit was 10 months post partum, I would have laughed at you for the rest of my life. Yet here I am.
I suppose I’ll take you to the beginning.
I was young, maybe around 10, with full awareness I was not attractive to anyone but pervy old men so desperate they’d prey on an innocent kid’s insecurities to cover their own infestation of trauma. Of course it’s disturbingly sad I was contemplating physical attraction at that age, but that was that.
When it came to beach days, I wanted to cover up my body because it didn’t feel like a beach body. I was pulp. I was dark. Pulp and dark were pretty much the key ingredients in ugly in my mind. Thus I was ugly. Ugly people shouldn’t parade.
This was a body I covered up often, trapped between wanting to be desired and not wanting to be a thirst trap. I wasn’t looking for a sexual experience. No kid is. I just wanted to feel loved and somehow I associated lust with attention and love.
I’m a little appalled as I write this that these thoughts were the struggles of girls at 10 back then and even worst so now. We’ve gotta do better than sexualizing children and creating these confusing trauma bait associations.
Whenever I beached, I wore tops that covered my large breasts as much as possible and I outfitted it always with short shorts. At some point, I caught ringworm on my left leg at my bikini line. I felt extremely self conscious about it and so I vowed no one was going to see that scar.
Throughout the years I continued hiding. I wondered how other women felt so confident about their breasts showing, but even more so, that whole wearing panties to the beach thing and calling it beach underwear.
Eventually I stopped covering my top as much. It only took to my early 20s to finally embrace having large breasts. My bottom? I couldn’t. First of all, my ringworm scar was present and I still felt insecure about it. Second and most important: shaving.
A lot of women say that hair removal makes them feel sexy, and good on them. For me, though, it was more about the embarrassment I felt about my body when I didn’t groom. When you’re constantly removing something on your body, it’s easy to become obsessive about how “ugly” it is even if it’s not.INSTYLE
I didn’t want to shave my bikini line. Despite all the self hate around body hair, I felt like hair was where it was for a reason. What a itchy habit to keep up with anyway. I commend anyone who shaves, especially for someone else’s comfort/preference.
There are plenty of good reasons to keep your pubic hair intact. It protects your vagina from dirt and bacteria. Removing it can cause infections and warts.INSTYLE
Fast forward to a few weeks ago. I decided it was time for a one piece bathing suit, but I was struggling with feeling confident about it. All my repressed feelings about hiding my body came up with heaviness and tears. By the power invested in me by my phone, I decided to look up if I was the only one who would be out there unshaven.
I read one article, the one I’ve been quoting throughout, and decided a one piece not covering my bikini line was exactly what I should do to get pass this. At first I felt very self conscious about it, but it felt so comfortable to wear whatever I wanted. I started playing with Zero on the sand and honestly forgot to obsess about what other people thought. But, I’m not done yet.
A few weeks ago I realized going to the beach three times minimum a week whilst breastfeeding, sometimes changing by the car, and sometimes alone, was not easy in a one piece. I hesitated this time because my stomach clearly housed a child. I didn’t see many moms showing off what pregnancy really did to the body unless it was years later when the tummy’s skin fully recuperated.
I loved my stomach and body because it created, carried, and nourished life. No one can ever take away the fact that I made life in this vessel! So why hide it or wait for it to look like the post mom bod of a celebrity?
Women aren’t “tweezing, waxing, shaving, or going through other painful beauty rituals because they thought it would make their lives easier or make sex less painful.INSTYLE
As I shopped for a two piece swim suit at 30 years old for the first time, I realized I lost more weight than I thought as well. I didn’t even feel like this body was mine, but that was only true when I looked in the mirror. Otherwise, my body was performing well and felt pretty good for the most part, even if it didn’t look how I thought or how society deemed acceptable.
Putting on a two piece for the first time initially did take me somewhat down the “what will people think of me not shaving” route. Not only was it a two piece, but it was mostly neon yellow, which stood out even more against my dark skin. Yet, I loved the colors and the freedom to wear what I wanted. It very much helped to have a supportive partner as well!
I love the beach so much these days. I used to hate going because I couldn’t swim and I felt like if I got darker, I’d be more undesirable.
I feel more black people are deficient not because our skin is darker, but because we’re told not to get too much sun or else be darker (supposedly a bad thing). During quarantine, vitamin D is even more essential as risk factors include getting sick or infected often and depression.
Cheeno, as a Filipino, also dealt with colorism, but he loves being in the sun and would probably choose death over never being able to sunbathe. Zero is oblivious to it all and just loves the sand, but ignorantly, there have been comments about him getting darker.
As long as my body is healthy and performing well, I don’t care anymore about covering it up or getting darker. I’m only getting this one body in this lifetime. These days as I lay out with eyes closed, I visualize my pores opening up to eat the buffet of sunbeams that darken the berry and sweetens the juice.
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