I did something really outside my comfort zone, but that might surprise a lot of you.
A lot of times in my life when I’ve been at a hot outdoor event where I have the option of wearing my bathing suit, I’ll choose to cover up. After I eat a meal, or after I’ve been hydrating all day, or after I’ve had a couple of drinks, my stomach automatically pops out, because you know, IT HAS FOOD IN IT, and it’s uncomfortable for me to suck it in. But because I have always been worried about people seeing what I look like when I’m not sucking it in and I’m trying to do the natural human thing of digesting my food, I’ll put a loose top on, or wrap up in a swim towel, so nobody can see me. I don’t know if anyone else out there worries about this, but it is something that always kind of terrifies me, and I’ve been covering up since I was a teenager.
This weekend, I didn’t.
I decided to be brave, threw on my tiny shorts and a sports bra, slathered on sunscreen, and headed to Dolores Park. At first I felt great; there weren’t a ton of people, I hadn’t had a big meal yet, it was just me and my boyfriend Mak. But as the day wore on, I had eaten more, I had drank more, the park was getting more and more crowded, and my tummy was doing its predictable popping out move because I need to relax my abdominal muscles in order to properly digest my food. I also really wanted a picture of myself (and Mak!) at the park, because it was such a beautiful day, but I didn’t want anyone to see me with my tummy in photos.
Wait a second I thought to myself! Am I really about to not take a picture to commemorate this beautiful day because I ate beforehand?!?! And I suddenly had a flash of all the events that I didn’t take pictures at, because I was in my bathing suit, and I didn’t want a picture of myself; so many days and great moments and memories to be grateful for that I have no documentation of because I was so worried what people would think if they saw me in my bikini. I have a habit of only allowing myself to be photographed with my stomach showing if I haven’t eaten anything already, so I’ve missed out on so many great and memorable photos!
I decided to leave my t-shirt off, climbed to the top of the park, and asked a stranger to take some pictures. Nobody gave me dirty looks or made comments about how I looked; everyone was too busy enjoying themselves to give a crap about whether my stomach looked perfect or not.
Perhaps this sounds like such a trivial thing to some of you, but it was really scary for me. I am going through a phase of figuring out what a healthy weight for me is while I can’t lift a lot of weights or do most cardio exercises or pole dance. I am really into drinking Rose wine right now, and I’m eating yummy healthy food but I’m not restricting my choices either. I’m also a personal trainer, and my profession often judges looks harshly.
So to stand on top of that hill, looking out on to San Francisco, feeling good about myself and being thankful for my day, and letting the world see me in my sports bra when I wasn’t feeling perfect, took a lot of guts for me.
I’m thankful I was a little brave. I’m thankful I had such a wonderful day with friends. And I’m thankful I took photos and have something to look back on in the future.