It was a beautiful summer day day. I was having another meeting with Abbey, my counselor. We were sitting in a park at a picnic table. The air had this particular summer texture in which the sound of children laugh travels in a very particular way. I could hear children laugh in the distance. The summer was in full swing and it was a wonderful time to be in Toronto.
I think it was a meeting when Abbey and I talked about how we narrate our lives, how we ourselves by thinking in particular way about our lives influence them. Then, I don’t know exactly what was the connection with the conversation - I confessed o Abbey in a desperate manner that I had never had a bikini. I cried, I remember. A lot. I felt so sad about not a bikini in particular but I felt sad about myself: this young woman in my body who for all this time had felt not good enough to get herself a bikini and wearing it enjoy the sun on the beach. For years I had deprived myself of a wonderful feeling of bathing in the sun. I deprived my belly the pleasures of getting tanned. I didn’t feel I deserved a bikini and I felt the belly was too big to be exposed. I wasn’t good enough to be put in a bikini. Thinking and saying all these things to Abbey, I cried even more. The whole sea of tears of sadness about how badly I felt about myself. Abbey asked me to imagine myself being old and wrinkled, when my body will surely be not a pretty as at the age of 28. She asked me to imagine myself being this elderly woman who regrets things she has never done in her life – among these getting herself a bikini and enjoying the sun on the beach. At that time I was sobbing like a baby. Yes, I could see myself as this regretful person and I didn’t like what I saw. I didn’t like it at all. At the end of the meeting with Abbey, I got an assignment. I was told to go to a shop and get myself the nicest bikini I could find and afford. Upon hearing this, I was hysterical – the sheer thought of going shopping for a bikini scared the life out of me. How on earth was I supposed to do it? How was I supposed to put this imperfect round body of mine into a skimpy tops and bottoms? I felt it’s going to be disaster.
Marta helped me. I told Marta about my bikini assignment and next week we found ourselves in a shopping mall. I decided not to lament too much and find something. Oh, Marta was a blessing. She knew exactly what I was going through – she knew that it was quite a traumatic experience for me and she just was the most delicate person in the world. She told me: ‘I know exactly what you need and I know what you want to hide and what to expose’. It was very nice and technical without being too emotional about my inhibitions. I got this support from a woman, form a friend who understood. It was so true and full of understanding.
And we made it. We managed to find something that exposes something and conceals the rest. Yay!!! That day, on Marta’s balcony, I bathed in the sun for the first time in my life in my brand new bikinis.
As much as it was easy to undress in front of Marta, the next step was to go to the beach. I did. A week later or maybe sooner I bathed on the beach. And what? Nothing! Nobody screamed, nobody looked at me; nobody even paid attention that I was there. NOBODY. What is more, I felt wonderful. For the first time I felt rays of the sun on the areas of my body which had never been exposed before. I felt wonderfully warm and comfortable. The next step was to go swimming. I did. Oh, how wonderful it was do be touched by water, to be engulfed by it and feel it on body parts on which I had never felt it before. And then I had to get out of water and walk to my towel, and we know what we look like out of water… And nobody screamed again, nobody even paid attention that I was there. NOBODY. I felt comfortable. I wasn’t ashamed of my body, however imperfect. I have started a new chapter in my life, the one which includes wearing bikinis and feeling good about myself.
Wearing a bikini is a state of mind. It’s the state of mind that allows me to feel comfortable. It’s the state of mind in which I am enjoying myself in my body. It’s the same state of mind which I have when I put on a pair of heels and I feel sexy and womanly. I am grateful that I have women in my life who helped me to discover this comfort and confidence. When I’m elderly and wrinkled I will have this memory of me bathing in the sun and swimming in water in a very skimpy bikini in my beautiful young body.