I swam with my kids today, and heartbreakingly they said they couldn’t remember when I last swam with them. I’m a great swimmer, used to be a junior lifesaver, even trained with a swim coach for a brief time.
So why don’t I swim with my kids more often?
The ‘excuse’ over the past couple of years has been Covid and more recently my broken foot. But the ‘reason’ is deeper.
I was fat-shamed a lot as a kid. There’s a gene on one side of my family for what used to be called ‘puppy fat’. I can see where this has shown up in four generations of my family. Me included. One unaffected family member used to call me “Ten Tonne Tessie” … making it ironic that I chose Tess when I changed my name at 18.
Today I realised that I haven’t liked my body for a long time.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m proud of what my body has achieved, having two huge kids relatively later in life. But I really haven’t ‘liked’ my body.
I’ve always felt “too something”.
Too ‘fat’ when I was 10. Too tall in my teens. Too clumsy. Too big-boobed. Always too something.
I’ve gone through phases of only buying clothes from ‘larger lady’ stores, even when I wore an average dress size. Even today I’m (totally) rocking bathers from a designer known for flattering the ‘fuller figure’.
Why am I sharing this rather personal confession with you?
It’s not because I need validation or comforting comments. It’s because we all do it. We all feel inadequate (or “too something”) in our own skin. And it’s bullshit!
On a rational level we know we look fine. But ‘fine’ isn’t the same as body-proud. It’s not body-positive. Or even body-satisfied.
And being body-dissatisfied lets us hide from ourselves. And then we hide from fun.
So today, on my holiday, I’m giving myself a bit of a talking-to. I’ve worn my bathers all day, without sweating in ‘cover up clothes’. I’ve swum with my kids. And I want to make this a more common thing.
I hope it means more swimming. I hope it means more fun!
Let’s agree to cut ourselves some slack on the body issues stuff. Life’s too short to keep hiding from fun!