How One Woman Learned to Love Her Body in a Bikini

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Swimsuits For All

Last month I sidled up to Connie Wang at her desk, crouched down low, and whispered, "I—I think I'm going to get one of those plus-size bikinis. What do you think?" She looked around as if I was asking her for drugs, which is fair considering the fact that I was biting at my cuticles and glancing around the office like a fiending lunatic.

We've covered the rise of the "fatkini" since its inception, and I've always been blown away but the guts and style of women like Gabi Fresh who took such a wildly foreign concept—fat girl in a bikini—and made it something aspirational. When I first saw Gabi in her Swimsuits For All pieces last summer, I was absolutely knocked out. She's a woman who knows her body and knows how to rock it, with self-respect and grace. But as for me? No, no. No-thank-you-sorry-too-scary-goodbye-aaaaaaah.

I've never worn a two-piece in my life. My stomach has always been the part of me that I am most ashamed of. I held bags in front of it. I stood behind friends in pictures, to hide it. I wore baby-doll dresses hoping to obscure it; then, people would give me their seats on the subway and I'd realize I had only succeeded in looking vaguely pregnant. My legs are okay, my arms are manageable, but my belly and I just don't get along.

But, this last year has taught me one thing about tackling food and body-image issues: If you've got them, flaunt them. [Read the full story on Refinery29!]

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