#KeepItReal challenge follow-up to why I quit bikinis

I was blown away and so touched by all your responses to my #KeepItReal challenge post that I had to write a follow-up post on the responses and aftermath of the post.

A couple weeks ago, I wrote an essay detailing my body image struggles centered around bikinis and why I chose not to wear one.  After the post, I got tons of comments on my blog and in person about the article.  The reactions seemed to fall into various categories ranging from heartfelt thanks to me for sharing a story that spoke to their own experiences, to sharing their own stories of body image struggles, to the reactions below.

Not to dwell on the negatives, but it seems I'll have to in order to clarify what I had hoped to be an uplifting, relatable anecdote.  Here's my clarification on 2 groups of responses that affected me after publishing the post:

You don't need to wear a one-piece, you look great so wear what you want!
Thank you people with these opinions.  I'm happy to hear that you think I look good and I agree with the sentiment that people should wear what they choose, but I do disagree with the slightly implied sentiment that I'm not wearing what I want. I can wear a bikini.  I know this.  I've seen tons of people with much flabbier bodies sporting strings on the sand, but just because they have, why should I be questioned for choosing not to?  I'm not a stick, but nor am I huge.  I choose not to wear a bikini because I don't feel the need to show off as much of myself as others do and to wear an outfit that is comfortable.  Who wants to be constantly checking that they aren't coming untied, or popping out when they go for a dip in the ocean?  Sometimes I do yearn to wear a bikini more for the lack of tan lines, but most of the time I feel comfortable and sexy in my one-piece.  If I do find styles that fit well and leave me feeling secure of no wardrobe malfunctions, then perhaps I may go back and rock that bikini!

If you don't like your body, then why not change it?
There seems to be a strange culture around body image.  If you're deemed too curvy for the ideal, you're "encouraged" to lose weight, even if you're perfectly healthy, and called lazy if you cannot, or do not.  If you're deemed too thin, then you're also called unhealthy and labeled as a stick, anorexic and boyish.  With either extreme, the onus is on the person to change themselves to fit the mold.  This attitude is unhealthy.  I definitely think we control ourselves and our destinies; rather than whining about what you don't have, it's better to work on what you can do, is something I've always believed.  However, I draw the line at thinking that anyone who is healthy deserves to be open for criticism by others and made to feel that they are failing to take care of themselves.  Why can't we encourage health and beauty in all its forms?  Perhaps it is because we're such a visual culture that we cannot judge something that comes in various sizes, and therefore we need to pick a cookie-cutter definition for all ages, all sizes and all races - but I challenge you to think, when has life ever been cookie-cutter?  

I can't recall saying I was unhappy about my body, yet many who read my post seem to believe I am.  I don't know anyone who can say they are 100% happy 100% of the time with themselves, so I find it highly unrealistic for others to tell me that I need to work on my self-esteem issues.  Throwing stones at glass houses much?  

It seemed that many had a problem getting past my headline, or even the second paragraph and drew assumptions that I was hiding, that I had weight and confidence problems that I could magically exercise away.  Let me tell you - I am HAPPY with my body, as happy as anyone raised in such a hyper self-conscious society can be.  My choice to quit bikinis was to free myself from the yoke of society's expectation of sexualizing myself as much as possible.  

I chose to be myself and take a different path.  

I chose to promote a different sense of beauty.  

I chose a healthy lifestyle by eating healthy, exercising and enjoying my food rather than calorie counting myself to oblivion.

I hope this post helps clarify anything that seemed like a loose end in my post and that it encourages others to face their demons and fight free of them to be happy, healthy people.  I invite you to share your thoughts in the comments!

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  1. A great response to some of the comments you got. Particularly the second one and this pressing need to change your body--why is this the first option that comes to mind? Rather than saying, "if you don't like your body, why don't you learn to love it?" people say "if you don't like your body, why don't you work out/diet/etc?" As long as you're relatively healthy, I don't see what the problem is, ugh @__@

    1. Ugh, I think they're trying to be helpful and be like "instead of complaining, do something," but you're totally right the first reply would be the better one!

  2. i'm all about empowering yourself to make a change if you don't like something or ignore those who make comments if you are happy about yourself. what people really need to do is STFU and mind their own business.

    and i think as we age, our tastes change. for example, i no longer feel comfortable in short shorts but instead, i prefer bermudas. people think it's because i have cellulite or something (i don't) and i'm happy with my results from my workouts (in fact, i feel so kick-ass) but i just dont' want to wear them anymore.

    great post!

    1. I so agree! Like seriously why do people always jump to conclusions?

  3. Great post! I totally agree that you should wear whatever you feel comfortable in at the beach as it is your body. I think you are beautiful and I never thought that you lacked self esteem...you simply dress in what you like to wear and I like you for that! Go you and I think you can rock whatever you want! :)

    Xoxo rosalia


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