The summer of 2019 was the summer of adventures (mostly just hikin’ around looking for a view), healing my heart and soul THROUGH hiking, and… my swimsuit. Shocker to have such a typical summer attire be a focal point of one’s summer. Ah yes—but for me, this is pivotal.
At the budding age of 14, I slowly was succumbing to a vicious eating disorder. This illness I was battling was so lethal that I was picking out my burial casket. Can we all just stop and appreciate how FUCKED UP THAT IS? I mean, seriously. What were you doing at 14? Playing soccer or studying for your AP History exam? Cute. I was dying. Instead, I filled my freshman year of high school hallucinating between reality and fiction of what my body looked like.
Sparing you the details and spoiling the ending: I have overcome the worst of my illness. I’m finally able to live a happy and healthy and normal life. I’m literally so blessed to be given a second chance at life. Truly.
With each passing year, I process my eating disorder differently. Some years have been harder than others, but the older I get, the easier it is to make peace with such a dark past. I’ve accepted it while still unpacking certain elements… which untimely has helped me move forward.
There was always one aspect of life I had been running from since 2007:
I have grown a part from my eating disorder and have come to love myself and my body. Except when it came to slipping into a swimsuit, my brain shut down. I would do anything to get out of being at a pool, a lake, or an ocean… even a depressing backyard sprinkler slip n’ slide combo. I wanted nothing to do with it. All because I could feel my past choking me and pulling me back to my darkest of days.
Being in a swimsuit around other people does not make me live in the moment. Instead, there is a horrible tape that plays in my head that puts me down. Yup, I body shame my own self and that’s not helpful. I hate that an item of clothing can have that much power over someone.
But this summer, I decided that I was going to challenge myself.
It has been 12 years since my anorexia surfaced. And this summer I put on my swimsuit. Not just once. But THREE times. Who is she?
I know that to most people, this isn’t a huge deal. A lot of humans like being in a swimsuit and can flip the bird to insecurities. But to me, this has been a milestone of a summer. It wasn’t easy. I was nervous, scared, and a little anxious to be on display like that.
Over LDW, my mom and I went SUP on Lake Dillion.
As I stripped down to my swimsuit, my anxiety kicked in and I’m pretty sure I asked my mom for reassurance like 39 times before hitting the water. But the second I pushed away on my board, all I could focus on WAS being in the moment. The stroke of my paddle. The choppiness of the water. The gorgeous mountains in the distance. The warm sun hitting my back. There was no room for wondering if I “looked too fat” in a swimsuit. I was so involved with the beauty I surrounded myself with.
When I look back at these photos of being on the water of me in a swimsuit, all I can see is a happy, healthy person. And that’s all I’ve ever wanted for myself.