Do you want to know the secret to getting a great beach body?
Take your body to the beach.
My writeous bae and I recently went to Virginia and hubs wanted to spend a day at Virginia Beach. Initially, I balked at the idea. The past several months have been insanely busy for me and thus I haven't been able to exercise regularly. My eating habits have taken a turn for the worse, too, due to all the stress I've been under. So, needless to say, I've packed on a few extra pounds.
And to my mind this meant I didn't deserve a day at the beach. To my mind my body wasn't fit for swimwear.
Basically, I'm telling you I was being a bad feminist and a hypocrite.
You see, I would never say those things to someone else. If a friend told me she wasn't going to allow herself a day at the beach because she'd gained weight I'd launch into a body positive sermon and buy her a new bikini myself. I'd say, "Girl, if you want a bikini body, just put a bikini on your body!"
But yet I couldn't say this to myself... that is until I thought of my girls.
For me, body positivity is not just about my own self-esteem. As a high school teacher I have dozens of teen girls in my life who look up to me. I must be mindful of the behavior I am modeling for them. I must be careful not to say disparaging things about my body in front of them. I can't simply preach or teach body positivity; I must walk the talk.
While I do not think that dieting is anti-feminist, behaving as if life can't begin until we reach our goal weight is quite problematic. And that's exactly what I was doing.
So I took my body to the beach. And I had an awesome time digging my toes in the sand and bathing in the sun. I had too much fun wading in the water and squealing like a little girl as the waves crashed against my body.
I'm not going to pretend the Atlantic Ocean washed away all my body image issues. I still opted to wear a tankini and not show my belly and when I caught my husband taking full body photos of me while I was resting in the sand, I started reaching for the phone to stop him.
And I admit that before we left for the oceanfront I even had to reread the Ebony March 2016 cover story on black women and the body positive movement. The article features full-figured and fabulous women like singers Chrisette Michelle and Jazmine Sullivan and actress Danielle Brooks. Gabi Fresh, one of my favorite fashion bloggers, is also featured in the article and her comments resonated with me most. In the piece, Gabi reminds us that, "The body isn't just meant to be looked at; it's meant to do things, and that is a gift in and of itself."