Candy Apple Women

Posted on | June 11, 2014 | 17 Comments

Over the weekend, a friend invited J and I to their pool. We got there early and set up our towels and picnic lunches and then crept slowly into the pool, letting the coldness soak in through our bathing suits. I’m not thin. I like to think of myself as “curvy” or maybe “average” and my friend is teeny-tiny. We both were wearing tankinis, me in swim shorts and her in a swim skirt. As families filed into the pool, I took note of the bathing suits, noticing the men in their swim trunks, bellies on display. I noticed the little girls and boys contentedly wearing their suits without the slightest pause. They were all different shapes and sizes. They were in brightly colored patterns and summery prints. Everything was fresh and bright and cheerful.

Then I noticed that around the pool, every mother there was wearing a black bathing suit. Regardless of height or age or weight or curves or straight thinness.

Every single mother was wearing black. It was as though we were all shouting out “I SHOULDN’T EVEN BE WEARING THIS BATHING SUIT BECAUSE I AM SO LARGE.”

There was, in fact, one girl in a bikini, perfectly tan, perfectly thin in all the perfect spaces. Her stomach was without lines. Her bathing suit was bright blue and stood out in the crowd. She looked exactly like she’d stepped off the cover of a women’s magazine.

She was fifteen, if that.

I looked down at my black top and my friend’s black skirt and I mentioned the color theme. She looked around. She sheepishly shrugged and so did I. Because black is slimming, right? Because as women, we’ve been brain-washed into believing that we must look fifteen to be beautiful.

Well guess what… we aren’t fifteen anymore and we aren’t SUPPOSED to look fifteen. We are supposed to have curves and lines and the tugs and pulls of a life well lived.

We’re all so scared, aren’t we, we women. We’re so scared that someone will notice that our bodies aren’t “perfect”, that they aren’t what the fashion industry and the movie industry and the television industry tell us they should be. We’re so scared to relax for a moment, to curve our spine and let loose our breaths because dear GOD what if a roll appears between the thickly suctioned layers of our “instantly swimming suit.” We are so invested in someone else’s definition of perfect that we’ve forgotten that we have our own voices, our own opinions, our own definition of perfection.

And you know what? It’s never going to change. Our sweet daughters who don’t currently care one bit what they look like in their clothes will one day suck in and sit straight. One day they will pinch and pull and turn sideways before a mirror to see if it’s acceptable… to see if they are acceptable. Because it is what they see from the women around them. If you think they don’t notice that we’re all wearing thick black bathing suits, you are sadly mistaken.

Is that what we really want? Do we want these young girls to grow up thinking they have to meet the definition of “perfect” or even “acceptable” to someone other than themselves? That they have to look like they stepped off the cover of a magazine before they step outside?

Because they will. If all they see around them are women who meet that “perfect” definition wearing bikinis and women who don’t, trying to hide in their suits, scared to show their imperfections… then they, too, will learn to hide. To cover up what makes them so perfectly unique and special.

I don’t want to see that happen to my niece or your daughter. I don’t want to reinforce the pattern that only the perfect can be in public.

Because as beautiful as that one fifteen year old was, as “perfect” as she seemed to be, she was not the real person who stood out to me that day. After we’d been there a while, in through the back gate, a family slid in, a boy and a girl and their parents. The father climbed into the pool with the kids as the mother set up their things. After setting up, she pulled off her cover-up to reveal a beautiful candy apple red bathing suit.

She wasn’t fifteen.

She had curves and lines and marks of a life well lived.

And she was so beautiful, a colorful flower amidst the sea of black suits and careful postures, that even my friend commented on her bathing suit choice.

That one woman was perfectly herself, perfectly content, and yes… perfectly gorgeous. And I hope that her daughter knows what an amazing gift her mother is giving her… the gift of being comfortable in her own skin; the gift of being happy to be out in the sun with her family, happy to be thirty-something and to LOOK thirty-something.

I wanted to be her, as I watched her splash with her kids. I wanted to be that happy and carefree.

So I went home and bought myself a candy apple red bathing suit.

And I am going to wear it proudly every chance I get. Because it’s hard to be an “imperfect” woman; and if I can’t change the “industries” who make REAL women feel bad about themselves, at least… at very least… I can change myself.



17 Responses to “Candy Apple Women”

  1. Jess
    June 11th, 2014 @ 10:22 am

    YOU ROCK. Thank you.

  2. Law Momma
    June 11th, 2014 @ 10:33 am

    It’s not going to be easy to change my mindset, but we have to start SOMEWHERE.

  3. Get Over Yourself
    June 11th, 2014 @ 10:52 am

    No one likes to see a fat woman in a bathing suit. It’s not rocket science. Thats why they sell one piece suits with skirts. Its not a revolution to wear a bikini as a large woman. Its disgusting.

  4. Guest
    June 11th, 2014 @ 11:40 am

    I don’t think she was talking about wearing a bikini but having the confidence to wear COLOR.

  5. Get Over Yourself
    June 11th, 2014 @ 12:02 pm

    The picture is a bikini. SO I stand by what i said.

  6. Sunshine
    June 11th, 2014 @ 12:42 pm

    Hi HATER…jealously sure is a mofo when people such as you (Get over yourself) take your own insecurity about YOUR own body and project it on others. The only disgusting thing here is a another woman (I’m assuming) hating on other women who have the BALLS to love their body just the way it is. As a mother of 3 boys, ages – 2 years old and 7 month old twins, I am proud to wear my bright green bikini out in public. I work out to try and get back in shape, but guess what!? I’ll never look 18 again and my belly is far from perfect with some extra fat and plenty of stretch marks…but that’s how my 3 precious baby boys came into this world, and I’ll be damned if they are going to be raised by an
    insecure self conscious mama who is too scared to love her own body! Law Mama wear that red bikini with PRIDE! I so want to jump in the pool (in my bikini) doing a cannon ball splashing water all over such nasty
    individuals…. BYE HATER(S) (Having Anger Toward Everyone Reaching Success)

  7. Law Momma
    June 11th, 2014 @ 12:59 pm

    xoxo I’m jealous of your bright green bikini!!!

  8. michelle
    June 11th, 2014 @ 11:43 am

    Gee, not brave enough to post under your own name.. why do you bother to read this? I believe she was really referring to the color really… but whatever. JERK.

  9. Jessie
    June 11th, 2014 @ 11:45 am

    I’m just happy that there are so many cute “mom friendly” suits available now. It’s easy to find something I feel comfortable in but have no problem jumping in the pool with my kids. I know my mom was the one who never wore a swimsuit when I was little because she thought she was too “fat.” Thank goodness for tankini’s, swim dresses, swim skirts, etc. because my kids will never wonder why mom doesn’t swim too.

  10. Law Momma
    June 11th, 2014 @ 11:50 am

    YES! So important for kids to know that moms are just as fun as dads. 🙂

  11. NinjaPanza
    June 11th, 2014 @ 4:26 pm


  12. Law Momma
    June 13th, 2014 @ 9:11 am

    Yes. Yes you are. 😉

  13. Jelena
    June 12th, 2014 @ 11:14 am

    Love this. For the sake of my daughter I hope more women do this.
    It gets worse, while visiting my husband’s family in a South Africa I noticed that every single woman, 13 and up, wore swimming shorts over their bathing suit. not only mums, not older women, all women.
    Even my 6 year old daughter noticed it. My ILs probably chalked my bikini wearing after having birthed two children as another “European quirk”.

  14. Law Momma
    June 13th, 2014 @ 9:11 am

    Good for you!!!!

  15. Andrea Tajak
    June 12th, 2014 @ 10:02 pm

    i got goosebumps! Thanks for sharing! I bought a turquoise bikini for $5 at Walmart simply because it was $5 and I have it sitting on top of my dresser waiting for me to lose those 10lbs that never seem to go away. Screw that. I’m going to wear it this weekend.

  16. Law Momma
    June 13th, 2014 @ 9:11 am

    Do it. DO IT!!!!

  17. Roxanne Piskel
    June 28th, 2014 @ 1:45 pm

    I love this! I need to go out and buy a COLORFUL suit now.

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