As some of you know, I was recently on vacation. And it was in Italy! With my husband--and no kids! (Can I get a whoot whoot for the grandparents and auntie who made everything possible?) That was the good part....
...the bad part was that I was in a bikini for the first time in a while. Not since before the kids, but since the "I-*just*-had-a-baby" post partum period. Cause now the baby is 18 months old... so I can no longer explain away the changes in my body with an "oh, it will all go back to normal soon." This IS my new normal. And that's hard for me to accept. Not because my body doesn't totally resemble a our societal/media ideal (okay, a little bit because of that) but mostly just because my body is different, and I spent 35+ years in the old one which looked and, more importantly, acted a certain way--and I miss that. This new body, the one that birthed two eight and a half pounders, the one that doesn't get much sleep, the one that can't do the same things and that is getting on in years is going to take some getting used to.
So there I was, at a deeeeluxe hotel, after having slept nine hours straight for the first time in over four years, and what was I thinking about? My stomach, and its pale, bluish glow, its softness. How embarrassing. I mean, I've written a book about body image for chrissake (which, shameless self-promotion: you can buy right here). And I guess that's why the topic of body image has always fascinated me--because mine is so very far from perfect.
But then I got down to the beach, and from behind my sunglasses I watched all the other women there (young and old, some supermodel gorgeous, most others not) fixing their hair, sucking in their guts and positioning their towels to hide their "flaws" while the men (many of whom were fat and bald and so not all that) enjoyed sunbathing, reading and swimming-- and generally let it all hang out. It was just crazy to see how all the women's subtle movements/choices/decisions revealed various insecurities...and that upset me enough to take a vacation from all the snarking in my head--and make me wish I could convince other women to sail away with me.