Fatkinis in Paradise

Back in January, my family and I made plans to go on a giant summer vacation together to Cabo San Lucas. It’d be the whole gang — my parents, my siblings and siblings-in-law, my sister’s parents-in-law (they actually have a timeshare down in Cabo, and are prett much the whole reason this thing is happening), Sean, and me — and the timing, I figured, would be perfect! I’d have more than six months to get my body back to bikini-ready shape after typical holiday-season slacking. It was just the motivator that I needed to get back on the wagon and drop some libbies again, right?

Weeeeell, actually, wrong (as we already know.) I have indeed managed to shave off about 20 – 25 pounds from what I had regained, which is awesome, but in the months since I have clearly stopped making any attempts to hide the fact that I’m not actively dieting anymore. And yet, this tropical vaycay was still looming, looming, looming… and I realized that sooner or later, I’d have to face my body and whether it was bikini-ready or not.

Now, first up, my feelings about the term “bikini body” in general can now pretty much be summer up by the following (adorable) graphic:

But even so, hey, I’m not immune to the pressures that society puts on people to want to look a certain way. I mean, I’m a mass consumer of media in all its various forms, so of course I’m not, hahaha. So I would be lying if I said that the idea of baring skin by the poolside didn’t cause me at least a little bit of stress. But you know me, I’ve never really been able to subscribe to the idea that skinny feels better than food tastes or whatever, so ultimately it came down to whether I wanted to get myself all bent out of shape over how I looked at the beach, or if I wanted to, you know, continue enjoying my life the way it is. And I mean, I know I probably sound super douchey saying it out loud, but my life is pretty stellar right now.

S0 since I am, at least currently, totally uninterested in torturing myself both physically and mentally over a vacation (which, hello, is supposed to be relaxing anyway), I came to realize that the best way for me to get beach-ready probably wasn’t to agonize endlessly over my bodily imperfections. No, I’d take a different approach.

Rather than forcing myself to do a juice cleanse in the hopes that it’d shave another 1/4 of an inch off my general body circumference, I decided to do a mental cleanse instead. I rejected the notion that summer is limited to people who wear single digit sizes. I faced the fact that I am really not as important as I make myself out to be, and people out there enjoying their own vacations really don’t give two hoots what I, some random stranger with outrageously colored hair, am wearing at any given time.

I know, I’ve talked a bit about this kind of body acceptance before, of course, because it’s always been true. But my past posts were written with the looming idea that I still needed to lose weight. So, you know, I could love my body and all, sure. But in the back of my mind I was still telling myself, “Just don’t love it so much that you stop wanting to fix it.”

Weeeeell, obviously I have a little bit of a different perspective about things now. I don’t want to have to fix anything anymore. And you can say that’s just me being lazy, but it’s not going to change the fact that I fully embrace the fact that any body really can be a bikini body. After all, just like bodies, bikinis come in lots of different shapes and sizes. And whether you have thunder thighs or flat butt syndrome or belly flab or big boobs or small boobs or no boobs, you’d be pretty amazed at how great a relatively tiny amount of fabric can make you feel, if it’s the right cut.

This idea of there being different swimsuits for different bodies isn’t news, of course. I’ve been reading magazines for years, all offering advice on what swimsuits work best for different body types. Small bust, wide hips, broad shoulders, hourglass, there were options for all, and the features usually even came with photos of real-life women illustrating the effects of properly allocated swimwear.

In retrospect, though, I realize that while these articles might have been a great way to showcase poolside fashion, they still fell into the trap that a lot of  mainstream fashion does when it comes to dressing one particular type of body shape: they don’t really know what to do with it, so they just cover it up. Which, yes, granted, not everyone has a nice flat tummy to showcase between the top-part and bottom-part of your swimsuit, but does that mean we’re not allowed to show it at all?

I have distinct memories of flipping through magazine pages as the feature addressed pear-shaped and straight-shaped and hourglass-shaped figures and showcased adorable, fashionable bikini looks for each of them, only to finally get to the “Full Figure” or “Plus Sized” section at the end and have it be full of one-pieces and tankinis.

Yeah, kinda like that.

And hey, don’t get me wrong, there are some might fine one-pieces and tankinis out there. I’m a big fan, myself.

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Terrible iPad selfies aside, this is literally my favorite suit to ever exist in the history of swimwear. I pretty much just hung around the house wearing it all yesterday afternoon because I didn’t want to take it off, that’s how much I love it. I mean, aside from the whole wet swimsuit + full bladder predicament that surfaces every once in a while, I’m all about the one-piece. But I think you know that really isn’t where my issue lies.

I just don’t love the message that it sends when the media showcase all these different kinds of women looking fab in two-piece swimsuits… except for one kind. Because even larger, thicker, curvier, whatever-er women can still look totally bangable in ‘kinis, and not showcasing that fact, as unintentional as it may be, still perpetuates the idea that we should be hiding our bodies because there’s something wrong with them.

Luckily, I think the tide is finally beginning to turn on that front. Maybe it’s due to the resurgence of vintage-style clothing coming back into vogue (high-waisted bottoms FTW!), or maybe it’s because of body positive figures like GabiFresh (I believe she’s the originator of the term “fatkini”), but either way, I am so on board with all women being able to wear whatever the hell they want and hopefully feeling beautiful and confident while doing so.

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Which is why next week you will see me, proudly rocking my own fatkinis (given how much I’ve admitted to hating the word “fat,” I actually really love the term “fatkini”) and maybe even inspiring other women to do the same. It’s your body, after all. Wear what you want!

And that goes double when on vacation.

Feelgood Friday: It’s my blog and I’ll post what I want to

Naturally, today’s blog title is meant to be sung to the tune of one particularly famous Cyndi Lauper song (in your head if you’re a normal person, out loud as you type it if you’re me.) Heh.

So I could spend this post detailing out the nutritional black hole that was my day yesterday (bagel & cream cheese for breakky, chicken wrap & chips for lunch, food court Japanese bento box for dins if you were wondering) and how Harry Potter really was just as good the fourth time around. Or I could spend this post talking about how I clearly had forgotten what it is like to have a puppy in your home (though I maintain that Daxter was never this much work. My brother disagrees.) All I know is that you owe me big time, sister dearest.

Cousins.
So cute. So. Much. Energy.

Instead, I’m going to do this 5 Things post that Laura tagged me in. Yes, I realize that I literally just did one of these kinda things with my 7 Links post, but hey, it seemed to get a good response from you guys! Plus, it’s Friday and maybe someone out there could use a pick-me-up on this incredibly humid morning (seriously. It’s like walking into a swamp. WTF DC?) And lastly, and you may have already caught onto this because you are so very clever and that’s why I love you, it’s my blog. I get to post what I want to. Heehee.

Five source

So the idea is that I post five things that I love about myself (it’s hard to narrow it down that much, I know. HA!) They can be physical (toned arms!), mental (brilliant at math), emotional (supportive), totally random (makes perfectly symmetrical pankcakes) or anything else. Then I tag five other bloggers to do the same. Then you all reflect and comment on something that you love about yourself! And then we all bask in the glow of self-confidence and mutual acceptance (hence the whole “Feelgood Friday” thing.) And we kick off the weekend the right way. Sounds good? I think it sounds good.

Gretchen’s 5:

Big Sand Bucket
photo by ben powell

1. I love my sense of humor. I know that some of you might not agree (what sense of humor?) but I think I’m funny, dammit! After all, “if you can’t laugh at yourself, life’s going to seem a whole lot longer than you’d like.” (Garden State)

2. I actually kind of love that I’m such an emotional person. I mean, I know that most people wouldn’t really consider this to be a great trait, considering that I cry at the drop of a hat and have the thinnest skin ever (never be mean to me, k guys? Hahaha.) but it’s really something I’m trying to embrace. I’m a sensitive person. As much as I’ve tried in the past, this is something that I am never going to be able to change. And I’m finally realizing that I might not want to. Being this way is how I’ve gotten a lot of my strengths: empathy, honesty, and fiercely caring for my friends & family. But it also forces me to try to overcome some of my weaknesses, like being overly sensitive, defensive, and inappropriately emotional (hello crying at work!) I’m a work in progress, what can I say?

3. Let’s get vain: I love my eyes. They’re the most Asian part of me (perhaps the only Asian part of me — thanks DAD.) and so sue me, I think they’re pretty. Almond-shaped, deep-brown, small and evenly set.

 photo by ben powell

4. Let’s get vainer (is that a word?): I’m not gonna lie, I’ve been kinda digging my legs lately. This is NEVER something I would have been able to say a year ago. I used to avoid shorts like the plague, but I’m definitely coming around to them. Okay, so maybe what I lack in Asianness, I get to make up for in long leggedness (thanks Dad!)

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5. What else could this end with? I love that I’ve lost 56 pounds! I know I talk a lot about how I still have a ways to go, that I’m not at my goal yet, blahblahblah. While that is still true, I’m not done losing weight and I’m not at my “happy weight” or “healthy weight” or whatever-you-want-to-call-it weight yet, I think that sometimes I fixate so much on losing more than I forget to celebrate how much I’ve already lost, and how far I’ve already come.

So there you have it! So time for me to tag some others:

Jennifer @ A Knack for Nutrition
Erin @ The Part-Time Writer
Casey @ Hippie Health Nut
Bailey @ Bailey’s Belly Battle
Melissa @ The Journey to Marvelous

What do you love about yourself?