By Melanie Walker
I heard something a few weeks back while I was with a dear friend of mine. We were talking about our exciting summer plans when she mentioned something along the lines of, oh but before we go to the lake I have to get my summer bod back. No one will want to see this in a swimsuit.
At first I was completely in shock. My friend is by no means overweight, and I’m never one to really notice what people call “thunder thighs” or “belly pooches.” The kicker in all of this was that I started to become aware of my own body, or rather, my lack of what she defined as “the summer bod.”
I’m at a healthy weight, like my friend, so would that mean I have to get a six pack before I wear that two piece in front of friends, or somehow magically get rid of cellulite? Which, news flash, mostly everyone has! So I can’t go out and feel completely confident in my swimsuit because I don’t quite have the body that culture dictates as acceptable for summertime?
Body shaming, whether it’s directed towards ourselves or others, is not only a poisonous mentality, but is a contagious disease among women. As women, we’re naturally-inclined to feel empathy and compassion towards our lady friends. So when our friend is tearing herself down, our impulse is usually to tear ourselves down with her.
The same goes with social media images we’re shown every day:
Though we laugh at these memes and pictures, they can actually be quite self-destructive. No one, not even internet memes, should tell you how to feel or take away your confidence. No one should care if you still have your “winter body” (which, really, what does that even mean?) because we should all be building each other up and making each other feel beautiful. And yes, that means we should make ourselves feel beautiful as well.
Now, I’m all for women exercising and losing weight if they feel like they want or need to. Absolutely we should always look to improve ourselves in ways that will make us happy and healthy. But when working out becomes an unhealthy obsession or becomes something we do for the approval of others, that’s when it just doesn’t fly with me. Life shouldn’t be lived for other people. Life should be lived with other people.
The important thing is, summer is meant for making memories with your friends on that road trip, wearing your classy bikini by the pool, rompers and tank tops, and smiling. Don’t let your fear of others’ lame opinions or uncalled-for judgments keep you from having the best summer yet from the most confident you.
So sister, you do whatever you need to do to help you feel happy. If you’d rather laze around the beach all day, I will be there right with you. If you want to get in shape this summer, I’ll be your running partner.
Stop worrying about “the summer bod” and start living.
Images taken from http://weheartit.com/ ifunny.co/ and humoar.com