Beginning with the Bikini

This is being published a few hours late because - honest to god - I almost didn’t publish this.

THIS IS FOR YOU if you have ever struggled with your body image, size, or shape.

THIS IS FOR YOU if you have any interest in how someone might struggle with their body image, size, or shape, even if you are fortunate enough not to.

This is NOT FOR YOU if you are interested in judging someone else for their process, practice, or body.

What this is:

An introduction to a mostly real-time documented journey of shopping for and wearing (yes, in public) a bikini. In my 40’s. After not having done so for over 20 years.

And all of the real, messy, and beautiful thoughts and lessons that go along with this.

I will be sharing stories on Facebook and over on my YouTube channel - documentation of the thoughts going through my mind as I stand in the dressing room, video of what happens when I take those first few steps in public wearing nothing but that bikini, and so on.

Because I have a body and this body has shopped for, and worn swimsuits before, I already know a few things that will be addressed. Things such as: Why I am so bothered by a belly button; the annoyance over swimsuit bottoms either not covering the butt or looking like over-sized diapers; how society conflicts over its views of women’s bodies and what this does to our internal struggle; how I struggle over a belly roll being what is is…or some symbol of how lazy I am in movement and diet; how we, as women, judge one another and the damage it causes; reflection over why so little fabric is so expensive, and so on.

(*And a new revelation - why, when looking for photos for this post, every single image was of a woman of almost the exact same size and body type. What the hell? REPRESENTATION MATTERS and when all we see is that type of body, no wonder we imagine that is what we are supposed to look like. Alas, I’m jumping ahead of myself….)

Why Am I Doing This?

1 - I want things to change. I want things to change in my own mind and in society. The first step to any change is awareness. And then we practice, again and again. THINKING that I want that change will do very little. Encouraging others to make a change when I’m not willing to is hypocritical. So I practice what I preach. I will wear what it is that I want to wear to feel how I want to feel.

2 - I want to feel the sun and the wind on my belly. It has been far too long since I’ve felt that.

3 - Because it is scary as hell to do this. But I heed the advice of those who travelled before me.

  • Do one thing every day that scares you. (Eleanor Roosevelt).

  • Ultimately, we know deeply that the other side of every fear is a freedom. (Marilyn Ferguson)

  • The fears we don’t face become our limits. (Robin Sharma)

  • Screw it, I’m doing this. (Lisa Renee Wilson)

4 - This is a crazy-important conversation starter. These are conversations that need to be had to create the change I want to create. (see #1)

5 - Selfishly? I want to be seen. Not seen in a “love me” type of way, but out there so that there is no question about who I am….so that I don’t feel as though I’m hiding. So that each time I’m with someone, I’m not wondering, “do you know what I’m hiding (underneath this shirt)? Would you judge me if you could see the rolls over my waistband right now? How will your opinion of me change when you see what I haven’t shown you?” With this practice, I’m exhaling and letting all of those hold-it-ins, out.

6 - We’re in this together. There is someone else out there right now (maybe you) who sighed with longing when reading #2. I’m hoping to give you a bit of encouragement to let the sun and the wind kiss and melt into your skin, to feel pleasure in and through your body again. I want to let you know that you aren’t alone. Sometimes, that reminder is all that we need. We can’t see one another’s thoughts, one another’s struggles on the inside. This is me, reaching out to you, saying me too. Let’s figure out how to be with this and to change, together.

A few notes:

  • These are not the only conversations that we will be limiting ourselves to here at Being Breath.

    • Have you ever learned that someone liked something - turtles, for example - and notice that every gift they get year after year has something to do with turtles? I’m sure that person loves it, but there is more to their life than turtles. So let’s chat, deeply, about our bodies and society and why we feel so judgmental of our own bodies and of others…but we won’t put ourselves on repeat. Life is broad and grand and we have a lot to explore.

  • If you feel at all called, please feel free to join me in this practice IN WHATEVER WAY FEELS BEST FOR YOU.

    • This could mean staring at yourself in a mirror without your shirt on for five minutes and letting go of judgments, again and again.

    • It could mean dancing in your living room to re-feel your body again.

    • It could be purchasing a swimsuit. Maybe even a bikini.

    • It could be wearing that swimsuit or bikini.

    • It could be having a conversation with a girlfriend about your bodies…and attempting to allow absolutely no judgmental words into that conversation.

    • It could be just placing your hand on your stomach several times a day - or the wrinkles on your forehead, or that mark on your arm, or the hair that is growing where you don’t want it to - and leaving the hand there. And acknowledging that part is part of YOU and because of that, it has worth and value and beauty.

  • This is, in part, a journey that doesn’t end at, but is making an important stop at SPARK WEEKEND.

    • I will be incorporating my experiences from this practice into a talk that goes above and beyond bathing suit shopping. There will be lovely women there, presenting alongside of me, talking about joy and community and love and being REAL about it all. There will be a wonderful party and a show with models of all sizes and shapes who have gone about - who are GOING about - this practice as I am. You will be able to see other women represented, to talk to them. To remind yourself that this change is possible. If you feel called, there are a limited number of earlybird tickets on sale (only until July 7th) - I recommend you take advantage of those.

    Being Breath is more expansive than the body. But / AND it requires a body for the full experience of life.

    We have lived for too long feeling unable to fully be free in who we are.

    It is time to change that.

    Stay connected with this journey through subscribing to my YouTube channel, following me on Facebook at Being Breath, and signing up for the Being Breath newsletter.

    (Blog and newsletter posts will continue to be about the exploration of daily life through the practices of self awareness, breath, and creative engagement. I will link to any specific swimsuit / body image insights through the newsletter.)

Here’s to the journey.

(Deep breath.)

UPDATE: Read the full “Beginning With A Bikini” journey - from this decision, to the shopping, to the beach - by clicking on the button below!

Lisa Wilson1 Comment