#KeepItReal challenge day 2: why I quit bikinis



This is probably the one and only time you will ever see me post a photo of me in a bikini.  Probably because this is the last time that I wore a bikini.  This photo was taken in Cancun back in 2010 and I have to say this was a very brave photo for me. I've never posed so brazenly in my bikini before.  Usually I would sit, arms crossed over my stomach, or I'd lie flat on the sand either on my back or stomach to let gravity and a flat camera perspective work its magic.  Even in this shot, I'm favoured somehow by some trick of the sun and some very practiced sucking in of the stomach.  See, that's my secret.  People always think I'm thinner than I am because I suck it all in.  Constantly.  It's to the point where it's become a natural movement to firm up and suck in my stomach muscles.  And for most of the year, the seasons also help me hide my flub with pants, skirts and sweaters.  Only during beach time when there's literally nothing to hide behind is my secret so shamefully revealed.

Yes, I know that compared to some I don't have much to freak out about, but that doesn't mean I hate it less.  You see, it's all a matter of perspective.  I feel, no I know, that I'm proportioned wrong.  For someone my size and bone structure, I should and could be much much thinner.  I should really be a legit Asian waif, but due to my genetics and the plain fact that I like food (dammit!!) I will never be my ideal size.  I'm a large Asian and that is that.  My family genes have blessed me with short stature and ample curves.  I may have boyish lines, but I have an ass, thighs and breasts that just won't go away - like my love for noodles and carby desserts.

For the most part I'm fine with my curves.  In fact, I've actually come to really like them as I think it makes me feel womanly and sexy and my boyfriends throughout my life haven't seemed to mind.  Luckily I also live in North America, so curves are more acceptable.  The only part I continue to hate is my stomach and for that reason I've since stopped wearing bikinis.

Although I definitely celebrate women who are brave enough to do so and will adamantly defend a woman's right to do so (provided she does choose a stylish cut for her figure - string bikinis are NOT for everyone), for myself I found it more comfortable to forgo one.  The beach is one of my favourite places on Earth and I want to be able to sunbathe, swim and play without worrying about flub bouncing around, or the straps of my bikini flying off whenever I want to jump a wave, or leap into the sand for a Frisbee.  Does that make me weak?  Perhaps a bit, but I don't think I'm hiding in my one-pieces.  One-piece bathing suits have undergone a total revamp in recent years and they are sexy.  Plunging necklines, backless, high-legged, vintage necklines and daring cut-outs - these aren't the one-piece plain Janes of yesteryear.

By quitting bikinis, I chose to quit trying to be as hot as the other string chasers.  I chose to ditch away my nervousness every time I undid my towel, or walked across the sand.  I decided to take action against the feelings of self-loathing and absolute hate of my body every time I stood next to my slender, 0% fat friends and take action.  My body is not perfect, and I'm slowly learning not to care.  I have my advantages and I can work them in a way that hides the parts that make me feel less than awesome AND lets me be who I want to be: the best, most beautiful version of myself.


Learn more about the #KeepItReal campaign here and read more personal stories online.
Also, check out comedian Margaret Cho's recent call to action for a Fatkini revolution here.



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19 comments

  1. You should take on bikini's again, cuz you look just fine~ plus, men like women with self confidence, no matter what they look like~ and trust me, you have nothing to worry about .. even if you're sucking in your gut!! =P

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  2. pleease girl! you are beautiful! just wear what you want!In 20 years more you will see this picture again and you will see how beautiful you are now!:)Love yourself like you are!

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  3. You look great and can wear what you want (I mean that two ways). I've always thought the one-piece was more attractive.

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    1. Thanks Ric! I think wearing the one-piece marks me out from the bikini masses :)

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  4. J, you look gorgeous! I think the grass will always be greener on the other side; everybody has parts of them they aren't happy with. But it is so great to hear that you are wearing what makes you happy and makes you feel (and therefore look) good!

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    1. Thanks A! I'd rather be happy in a sexy one-piece than awkward in a bikini huddling on the sand.

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  5. Hello gorgeous! You look totally fine, but I know that no matter how many times other people say this, if we don't agree with it ourselves, we will never feel fine.

    I really applaud you for posting up a pic of yourself in a bikini. Your sincerity and "real"-ness is inspiring.

    Thanks for being such an awesome blogger and friend!! <3

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    1. Thank YOU for being an awesome blogger and friend too! Your words mean a lot :)

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  6. I second/third/fourth everyone else who's written it on here: you look great!! No need to worry about wearing a bikini ever again, should you feel the inclination. But good on you for mixing it up a little and going the one-piece way, bikinis are ubiquitous and they can get kinda boring.

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    1. Thanks Gayatri! I'm on a one-woman mission to make one-pieces look good haha

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  7. J, you're beautiful no matter what you wear because you're a woman of class, intelligence, and kindness. You're REAL and whether you choose to wear a bikini or a one-piece, I salute you for finding what's right and comfortable for you. There are tons of 1 pieces out there these days anyhow so there's no lack of choice for stylish options. I actually wish I could pull off a 1 piece better but my lack of curves makes me look like a prepubescent teen in a one piece.

    I totally hear you on the bikini posing - there's very few of me on my blog or on FB with my bikini despite my love for them. There are many times when I feel self conscious about my midsection. Even though I don't weigh that much and i'm petite, my stomach is my weakness and it probably has to do with all those Asian noodles and desserts I eat. However, I do continue to work hard at maintaining what I have and I felt proud on my last trip to Hawaii that I could strut a tiny bikini without feeling self-conscious. It's an ongoing work in progress; there's still improvements I want to make but it's a start!

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    1. You are gorgeous Liv and you have tons of reasons why you should strut your stuff! I'd rather eat noodles and desserts and be wonderously happy and full than gnaw on a carrot and have a flat stomache.

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  8. Hi, I admire the fact that you are being so honest about your feelings here and I realize that bodyweight is a sensitive topic for most women. Kudos to you for having the courage to put yourself out there; most women do not.

    But I have a real problem with this sort of attitude: "...due to my genetics and the plain fact that I like food (dammit!!) I will never be my ideal size."

    You are basically just giving up an accepting you have to live with being overweight here. If you are not happy about your weight, then lose it! It's that simple! Your weight is not set in stone -- simply change your diet and increase your physical activity for a few months -- you can certainly achieve a body look you'll be happy with or at the very least, a better body than you currently have.

    It takes discipline and work, but what's worth having in life does not come without some struggle. I personally admire it when a woman has good body to show off in a bikini-- it usually means they are pretty health conscious, fit, and take care of themselves -- a very attractive quality in a woman.

    To not wear a bikini for nearly 3 years because of your body image issues is not really addressing the real underlying issues you have here (that you are not happy with your body no matter). If you a person who is proud and happy about being overweight there is nothing to say about that other than, good for you. But if you are not happy (and it's pretty clear that you are not, since you wrote an entire article about why you avoid wearing a bikini because you are afraid to show off your stomach), then make the required changes to so you can be proud to rock a bikini at the beach.

    My .02

    James

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    1. James, hi I'm not J but I am another girl who has the same type of feelings as J. As a man, I think you really have no idea what exactly us girls are feeling. Your comment of "I personally admire it when a woman has good body to show off in a bikini-- it usually means they are pretty health conscious, fit, and take care of themselves -- a very attractive quality in a woman." really does not make sense because you are basically saying exactly what all the magazines are saying: that you must have a good body to be attractive or good looking.

      I can't speak on behalf of J, but I just know that personally, I'm pretty happy with the way I look in general. Sometimes there are days that I don't feel good about my body, but everyone has insecurities; no one can feel 100%, 100% of the time. Even though I feel pretty good about myself most of the time, I still will never venture out in a bikini ever because of other reasons, like I don't find that walking around in what are basically undergarments to be very attractive, but that doesn't make me insecure or hate my body, I'm simply just happy with myself 90% of the time, and 10% of the time I'm not happy.

      Also you seemed to use the word "overweight" quite often in your comment. Have you SEEN her? what part of her makes you think she's overweight? I'm bigger than her and I've never thought she's overweight, so I don't think you're in a position to say she's overweight.

      I think unless you know her personally, or if you ARE her, you shouldn't be saying such hurtful things on her personal blog. I'm not even her and I'm already offended, I can't imagine the kind of things she's feeling after reading your comment.

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    2. Hi guys!

      @Sheila: thanks for your thoughtful, honest and classy response.

      @James: thanks to you as well for taking the time to write your thoughts. Don't worry, I don't take offense as I'd like to believe your intent is innocent, even if you jumped the gun on assuming mine. Perhaps "ideal" isn't the proper word, but an ideal is just that, an ideal, not a reality and I am nothing if not pragmatic about myself. I won't pretend that I don't wish I was that "perfect size", but my attitude isn't depressed at all. I believe that having a false, silly sense of optimistic delusion (which is what our culture often encourages with its "you can do anything, even be a ridiculous physical ideal!") isn't particularly healthy lol! I would rather improve what I can about myself :) Like Sheila said, I never said I felt I was overweight so that assumption is your own and yeah that IS kinda offensive. I guess if you prefer a thinner kind of girl and equate that to healthiness, than to each their own.

      I'm also not giving up on myself at all; quite the contrary. I didn't, and don't, have to describe my entire life habits to anyone, but it seems necessary, thanks to you, that I have to clarify. I exercise quite regularly and strive to eat as healthy as possible. I encourage myself and everyone I know, to be the best version of themselves that they can be and I do that for myself by doing activities like cross-training, walking, and yoga to make me feel happy inside and out. I'm certainly not sitting around eating ice cream and wishing I was a skinny blonde (only in rare instances haha).

      Like I ALSO mentioned in my post, I feel very sexy and womanly with my curves and with wearing a one-piece. As I also mentioned in previous comments, I feel wearing a one-piece actually makes me stand out more! It takes more confidence to stand apart, does it not?

      Also your failing to comprehend my article also forces me to clarify its purpose, which was in celebration of the #KeepItReal challenge and to expose this vulnerable side of myself to others. My aim was to say hey, I feel this way, but I've found strength to be myself and hopefully give others hope to stand on their own - bikini or one-piece. I only hope to encourage healthy perceptions, to ADMIT our own weaknesses and to be happy after in our own skins.

      For me, I don't need to rock a bikini to feel awesome; for others, with hard exercise and healthy life choices (both of which I am also doing), they may choose to wear one to celebrate that and I applaud both choices. I hope this helps you understand me better :)

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  9. actually, keeping your core engaged is what you should do always - it protects your lower back, improves your posture and keeps your core toned :) i've also been doing that since i was a teen (and now you've told everyone my secret too!! LOL just kidding)

    you rock everything that you wear! bikinis are over-rated anyway; a lot of them only flatter the skinny model-type figures. i have trouble finding bikinis because my frame is weird - i have a very wide back/shoulders so most of those strapless ones make me look like a body builder :(

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  10. Came across your blog today and was admiring the 61 year old modelling for American Apparel. What a beautiful campaign. Same goes to the picture of you in the bikini. You are beautiful just the way you are, imperfection and all. Girls (especially in the Asian country) try everything to make themselves prettier, skinnier, whatever, thinking that they can be happier that way, but truth is, there are healthy ways to go about being happy as yourself (exercising and all that) but most girls now resort to going under the knives for that. So I think it doesn't matter how others see you when you're in your bathing suit, if you feel happy and positive about yourself, the beauty will shine from within, no matter how you look outside. That's the kind of girls that guys would keep for life.
    Just my two cents worth.

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  11. J, another great post! I think you look great in a bikini! But again your choice whatever you feel comfy wearing at the beach is your choice. I think generally us women even men always find something we don't like about our body. Anyways, my point is we all have one feature on our body we don't like and wish the grass was greener on the other side and we are so hard on ourselves. I think you look great in a bikini and should embrace your body with what you feel comfy exposing. Hope that makes sense haha...

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