Writer: Marcy Cruz | “I’m not the average girl from your video. And I ain’t built like a supermodel. But I learned to love myself unconditionally, Because I am a queen.” ~ India Arie, Video
While I have come a long way on my journey of self-love and acceptance, I still have a long way to go.
I have learned that loving yourself is a daily process you commit to for the rest of your life. The love doesn’t come overnight. It has to be built over time, nurtured and made strong every day. It’s a lot of work but so worth it because that love will spill out into all aspects of your life and truly ensure that you live your best life.
I haven’t worn a swimsuit in over twenty years and I knew I would get to this point in my journey where I would have to face my fear of first putting on a swimsuit and then wearing it in public. This is where that nurtured self-love helped.
Every minute your self-love gets stronger, the more you begin to see the possibilities of doing things you never dreamed of, like wearing short dresses, not covering your arms and wearing a swimsuit.
The thought of wearing a swimsuit in public made me so anxious so I knew I had to take baby steps in this. The first step was putting on a suit that I felt comfortable in and having a photoshoot where I was outside in a suit but not in public. So one day, I met up with a photographer friend who shot some pics of me on a rooftop in Queens.
I felt beautiful, empowered and like a goddess. This also told me it was time to begin this part of my journey to wearing a swimsuit in public.
Next step was boldly accepting an invitation to wear a two-piece suit in a video for the Revelist / I Heart My Body Facebook page, focusing on three women wearing a two-piece for the first time. You can find that video here.
That video was hard to do and I kept telling the videographer to be careful when shooting me in a full body view. I also wore a sarong skirt cover-up because I was not ready to show my upper thighs yet. However, I did the video and felt empowered after. It showed me that I can do this, if I pushed forward and not let fear take over.
It took me a year to make my public swimsuit appearance but it was worth the wait.
While this was major for me in my journey to wearing swimwear in public, it still didn’t feel right. I was in LA with my friend Alysse Dalessandro of the blog Ready to Stare and she is someone who will rock a bikini without a second thought. That alone made me feel more anxious and intimidated.
I’ll be honest. A two-piece bikini is not my jam right now. I felt inclined to wear it because it’s the popular thing to do right now. I fully admit I got caught up in that hype because I felt that pressure of wanting to feel normal and do what everyone else was doing.
I’m still in the midst of learning to love all of me and right now, I am struggling with my lumpy upper thighs. So wearing a brief bottom is not comfortable for me right now, which is why I kept my bottom cover-up on in the above pic.
However, I did it! Another baby step in my journey to wearing a swimsuit in public.
When I visited On The Plus Side during my California adventure, I tried on a few pieces including these amazing swim separates (The Sandra Swim Top and the Chloroban Swim Shorts), that fit well and looked amazing. When I put these swim separates on, I knew this was the swimsuit look for me.
I love how the Chloroban Swim Shorts offer some coverage on my lumpy upper thighs, which makes me feel at ease at this point of my journey. I do believe the day will come when I will wear a brief but I am being kind to myself right now and slowly getting there.
The shorts come in five colors and I plan to get the four remaining ones so I can create a multitude of swim looks to wear to the beach this summer.
There’s a huge difference between covering up and never wanting to push past that fear of showing those parts of your body versus covering up now with the intention of slowly learning to love and accept those parts of your body enough to uncover yourself. Like I said, it’s all about baby steps.
Since these are separates, I can pair these shorts with a bikini top, which I am not afraid to wear or I can wear the Sandra Swim Top with denim shorts because it is so comfortable that it doesn’t feel like a swim top. It also comes in a gorgeous blue print that I have to have; I’m wearing the purple print.
I love the fit of the shorts because they are short enough to still be regarded as a swimsuit but long enough to cover my upper thighs. They have stretch but it’s not constricting. The swim top has a built-in wireless bra, which fit me well and was very comfortable too.
The best part about this is that this was just another regular beach day. No photographers or videographers were there and these are not what people would deem “pretty blog pics” with retouching and edits. Just my cousin taking some pics of me at the beach on her iPhone because I was so excited to be out and about in a swimsuit. No one stared at me and I felt like I was just a normal girl going to the beach in a suit.
I’ve been to the beach a few times this summer and am still finding suits that work for me during this part of my journey. I discovered that I love swimdresses, high rise bottoms, skirt cover-ups and swim tanks. I also discovered that wearing a swimsuit in public is not so daunting anymore.
I am focusing on where I am NOW in my journey and not a year from now. And I feel so powerful and confident with this self-love of mine growing leaps and bounds daily.
Check out my blog for more of my journey to loving myself 100% and living my best life: www.fearlesslyjustme.net