Dear Woman on the Beach (in Defense of My Body)

Dear Woman at the Beach (in Defense of my Body);

I see you looking at me. I see the way you start at my feet and work your way over my bikini, never making it to my face. You can hide behind your dark tinted Dior shades, but it’s there. That subtle way you turn up your nose at me, the way you glance at your man to see if he’s looking at me. Guess what? He isn’t.

I see the way you lean over and whisper into your friend’s ear. Then she looks at me, and you both purse your lips and giggle.

I see you judging me, picking apart my body, looking for flaws.

When I say “hi,” I see how uncomfortable it makes you, how you can’t even manage a simple hello because you spent all afternoon scrutinizing my body.

When we see each other at dinner at the resort restaurant, no longer in our swimsuits, you manage to force a smile. Then you take your husband’s hand and lead him to a different part of the restaurant.

You hate me because I spend hours in the gym to get what society deems a “bikini body.” Because I spent thousands of dollars to inflate the empty skin sacks that were left behind after nursing my two children.

I paid for boobs, yes. Judge me for that, but I didn’t do that for you. The swimsuit isn’t for you either.

Here’s what you don’t know about me. I’m also ashamed of my body. Not because I don’t like it or because I think it’s sub-par. I’m ashamed of my body around other women.

I have cried alone in my room at the cruel things women have said to me. I have been the brunt of jokes because I’m thin. I have been the center of a tirade of questions and comments aimed at my body.

“Do you ever eat?”

“How many hours do you spend in the gym?”

“If you had a little meat on your bones.”

“Those boobs..”

Before I got to the beach, I tried on several suits. I picked apart myself in the mirror trying to see myself from your superior eyes. I fussed with my cover-up so much walking to the beach that my husband said, “Jesus, Mandi. You look fine.”  My breakfast threatened to reappear at least twice before I was brave enough to remove said garment. I had to have a drink to work up the nerve.

I feel for people who hit the gym and diet to no avail. I really do, and I realize I’m fortunate that when I put the effort into my body, it pays off. It doesn’t mean I have fewer feelings. It doesn’t mean hurt doesn’t hurt. The number of pounds on our bodies doesn’t determine the way we hurt.

I feel self-conscious. I wear my cover up most of the time. I sit with my feet in the pool at pool parties instead of getting in. I have consciously chosen swimsuits on numerous occasions based on what I thought you would think.

But I’m done.  I’m sick of mean girl mentality. And I refuse to give into it anymore.

We are in this together. We are women, beautiful, breathtaking, powerful women. You, woman on the beach, are stunning. We might be different shapes and sizes, but I shouldn’t have to worry about what you think of me in my swimsuit. And I don’t care if you think women of a certain age should not wear bikinis anymore or that we should stop wearing shorts or skirts or shirts that show cleavage. You are aiding in a growing epidemic of body shaming whether you realize it or not.

You can shake your head at me, or wrinkle your nose if you want to. You can look at me with disgust. You can hate me. You can even talk about me with your mean girl posse. I’m a great person, a supportive friend, and funny AF, so if you don’t want to get to know me, it’s your loss. Sit there, drowning in negativity while I splash around in the pool with my children, while I go down water slides and build sand castles and take pictures.  I’m going to make memories. I’m going to laugh and smile and enjoy my life while I can – in my bikini. I’m not promised tomorrow. I won’t waste my time being ashamed.

 

~You know who I am.

 

But in case you forgot...

But in case you forgot…

 

 

Advertisements

48 thoughts on “Dear Woman on the Beach (in Defense of My Body)

      • That’s how you do it! You go straight to the comments. I always read first. Now I know. And, I’m on a roll. I wrote two chapters today in my book, but this was written a while back. I just decided not to publish.

        Liked by 1 person

      • HA! Rookie mistake there, Squishy! *Always* claim FRIST, THEN read. Otherwise someone else is apt to swipe it out from under your nose.

        I saw (briefly, in passing) on FB that you’d been writing again. My only comment (which I didn’t make) was…you could *also* have been writing from a girl’s perspective. Just sayin. 😉

        ANYWAY…

        My For Real comment on this piece wot you kept back for a while is mainly a HUGE ENORMOUS SIGH, and an eye roll, and a very firmly thrust (she said thrust!) middle finger up in the air at snotty bitches who just FFS COULD BE KIND!

        It pisses me off that someone who works as damn hard as you do to feel good how you look, gets snark and backlash for it. Good grief, we (women) as a sex can just be SO awful to one another, and that’s so upsetting. I know there’s no accounting for folk, but geeeeeez!

        For the record, *I* think you look beautiful, I’m glad you’re not going to put up with their BS any more, and just ENJOY being at the beach.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Lizzi, you just gave great comment. Thank you. But then, I know you’re talented at giving good comment. I’ve just been resting in hole away from blogging for a while, so I haven’t gotten to relish in your words. Thank you. And as you know, I feel the exact same about you.

        Liked by 1 person

      • *grins* This is going to sound like I’m some crazy stalker lady, but I STILL remember some of your comments…they were so evocative of *something* that they still come to mind in situations which pertain…

        I know you’ve been resting away, and I hope the rest has done you good. I will always enjoy reading you, whenever you have time and inclination to dip back into it.

        And…bless your boots, you sweet thing. ❤ I just wish I hadn't put on a bunch of weight after surgery but hey, these things happen, and I'm gradually getting rid. I just SO wish that losing weight was as easy as gaining it.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. You’re damned right, Mandi. I don’t know you well, but based on how you write, I feel I know you well enough to know the “The woman at the beach is just jealous” mentality isn’t the point for you. It’s about respect and your right as a woman to be who you are. It would be the same if you were 100 pounds overweight. Or a 50-year-old man wearing a red thong sliding down a sand dune pretending to be The Terminator. Unless you’re on Star Search, being who you are is something no one has the right to judge.

    Well done and well said, as always 😉

    Like

  2. Give ’em Hell, Mandi! To me, from my admittedly male perspective, I find it hard to process why a woman, like that woman on the beach, who feels confident of her relationship (assuming she does) has any reason to do that essentially competitive stuff. I guess it is just a bad habit, or that same drilled in self-critical insecurity, which sucks. Maybe they are afraid that if they said something complimentary somebody would think they’re Gay? Great post and carry on the fight,

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Bob. Women are inherently competitive, and unfortunately, we tend to be most brutal to each other. I have taken a different path. I try to always say something positive to the women I come across. Ask any female, a compliment from another woman weighs much more than one from a man any day.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Yanno…I’m a big girl and I’d be the first one to tell you you’re fucking stunning. Sure I can dwell in negativity and be jealous because you have a rockin’ bod with great boobs while I’m a lumpy sack of potatoes, but what good does it do? NOT. A. DAMN. THING. For either of us.

    We’re all amazing and unique in our own ways and there’s no point in sneering at one another because someone has [bigger boobs, a better ass, is skinnier, prettier, has better hair, whatever]. Hell, you’ve already said it so I’m being redundant. Haha.

    Keeping rocking your badass self, Mandi. I love you lots!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have terrible hair. I am constantly doing the latest hair trick on Pinterest to try and make my hair look like all of the girls I see that give me hair envy. But the difference in me (like you) is that if I see a girl with great hair, I don’t sneer at her or hate her. I walk up to her and tell her that I love her hair because that’s what we should do, appreciate what we see in another person, whether it’s big boobs or nice hair, or all of the above. I don’t see why this is such a difficult thing for some women. Be nice. It’s that easy.

      PS, your comment has been in moderation, which is weird because we’ve followed each other’s blogs forever, but since I have not been blogging, I forgot that was even an option. I just rescued it this morning. Thanks for reading!

      Like

  4. Well thank you! I was just sitting her stressing a little because I had a pool date tomorrow and was thinking if I was going to wear a bikini or try to find some more ‘don’t notice me’ suit. I’m going bikini. Screw everyone.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ditto, which is one of the reasons I love you. You’re no mean girl.You’re dripping with sweetness but also full of witty/timely dry humor, which are two of my favorite things, and also you. You’re one of my favorite things.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I have never met a woman who was 100% comfortable in her own skin. Why is that? I see little girls running on the beach without a care in the world, and somewhere along the way we lose that. I’m glad you’re reclaiming that confidence, and I hope that judgmental woman can stop judging and just enjoy the sand between her toes.

    Liked by 2 people

    • We need to get back to the carefree nature we all had as little girls where nobody cared what the other looked like, where we were simply happy to be in each other’s company, where we made friends with other girls on the beach simply because they were other girls on the beach. How do we get back there?

      Liked by 1 person

  6. It’s a shame those women will never know the strong-willed, funny, brave, talented, beautiful woman that I know because they were too busy choking on their own jealousy.
    My friend, you be proud of that body. It’s almost as fantastic as the heart and soul inside it.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Just so you know, and I’m not saying it’s right, although I guarantee it’s not me specifically at your beach because our beaches have evergreens not palm trees, also, no Dior sunglasses, but, if I exchange a glance with my husband after you walk by it’s because we’re both like, “Look, look. She’s gorgeous, right? Like really beautiful.” So still objectification (which is arguably wrong) but more of an, “Ohmigod, did you see that cardinal/monarch butterfly/cute toddler? Holy cow. So pretty.” Which has officially compared a smart woman to a bird/butterfly/baby. So I’ll try to stop. But just so you know.
    (Also, I still wear a bikini even though all the collagen has left, because… booty barre.)
    So rock the bikini, mama. I’ll be the one making eye contact and trying to make conversation, but not in a creepy way. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • I had a friend say something similar, like when she looks at a girl, she is usually checking her out in a good way, and I get that. But I think we can tell the difference in appreciation and disdain. The way that woman looked at me, there was no way she was thinking anything positive. I did what I do and killed her with kindness. And I’ll make conversation with you too in both a creepy and non creepy way, but that’s because I kind of adore you!

      Like

    • When I need an ego boost, I’m going to call you, Hotberg!! Thanks. I think it’s not so much that I look better or worse, it’s that the innate need to compare and compete in women is the problem. I wonder how much this happens with men.

      Like

  8. People laugh and scrutinize skinny fit woman? What? What’s to giggle at you look normal. Sounds like you live in an area with weird people. As a large woman and having been a large teen I’ve noticed people scrutinizing my body,but to hear this happens to a woman who goes to the gym and takes care of herself makes me realize no one is safe from other people’s scrutinizing.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. First sexy lady, yes her husband was looking at you from your pretty toes all the way to that sexy body to your beautiful face!! Then took it out on her back at their room!! She was just jealous period!!

    Like

Go ahead ... say something. You know you want to.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s