Spas, Saunas and The Threat of Stares

For my best friends birthday I decided to treat her and gift her a spa day for two. Thankfully, with a little persuasion, she decided to choose me as the second person!

It wasn’t until a few days before we were due to go that I had a sudden panic – I don’t own a high waisted bikini! My bag will be on show in public for the first time. My immediate reaction is to head straight for ASOS’s god send of next day delivery – but suddenly I falter. I’ve just spent two years living on the beach, I have a bikini collection taking up three draws in my bedroom. Shopaholic tenancies aside – why should I buy another? Why should I have to change what I wear just because I have a little bag on my stomach? So I talked my self out of the panic purchase and rifled through my draws to find my favourite old trusted bikini and swore to wear that instead.

My body has changed rather dramatically in the last few months, but its not something I should feel I have to be ashamed about. I’ve kicked and screamed my way through the hardest 5 years of my life, and despite not being out of the woods yet, I’ve achieved so much and I have something to show for what I’ve been through. This bag of mine shouldn’t be something to hide, or feel embarrassed about, if anything its a badge of honour and shows great tenacity and strength. It is a symbol of my complete refusal to give up on living the life I want to live and achieving my goals.

I’ve always pushed myself to be as confident as possible with my bag, posting photos of it on social media and not being afraid to show anybody that asks about it, but something about being stood at the edge of the pool, and knowing the stares I would receive seemed terrifying. Whilst I realise that most glances would be out of curiosity, it was the vulnerability induced from the thought of standing out as different that terrified me.

I never had a great relationship with my body growing up. I struggled with my body image and put myself through hell and back with my troubled and tumultuous relationship with food.  Honestly, some days I do still struggle with these things, but I think now having my bag has shifted the focus away from the size of my thighs and onto how far these legs have carried me. It’s taught me to view my body less as valued for its beauty and more for its incredible resilience. I think we all struggle with our body image at some point in our lives, I for one walk the line of never being quite sure whether I’ve gained weight or lost self confidence. I’m slowly but surely moving away from this convoluted ideal and learning to embrace who I am. I’m slowly accepting and learning that our bodies are beautiful regardless of their appearance and that their functionality and the mountains, both physical and metaphorical, that they allow us to climb are much more important. 

So I’m heading to my spa day, to drink champagne and sit in the sauna with my badge of honour of a bag on my stomach free for all to see.

After all, beauty fades, but wisdom lingers.

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