The 19th of August was the first public photo event for Positively Perfect.
Our aim was to show people that every body has a beach body. We chose Southend-on-Sea as a convenient location and hoped people would be brave enough to show up.
Little did we know it would also be a huge moment for us, so here are two accounts of what Saturday meant to two of our group.
I wore a bikini and no one died!
I’m a size 22. Though if I’m honest right now I’m more of a 24.
You’d think being part of Positively Perfect, that I’d be all confident and secure in my skin. But the reality is that I won’t even let my partner see me stand up naked. I refuse to look at myself naked in the mirror, and the sight of my flesh makes me want to cry.
Yet yesterday we had our #BOPOByTheSea shoot. I had a one piece and a bikini to wear.
Now in general I’m considered quite confident. I’m not, I actually suffer quite a lot with social anxiety but I’m a huge fan of “fake it til you make it“.
So of course I was expected to don the bikini, so I did. My heart was beating faster than that Duracell bunny at the beginning of the ad as I stepped out of the shadows I’d just changed in.
The reaction from everyone was well, underwhelming. No one actually cared. So I was in a bikini. So what? And that was such a relief I can’t even tell you.
After a while I almost forgot I had my pasty white orange peel thighs on show. That my arch nemesis of belly overhang was clearly visible, that my stretch marks and scars were all clear as day.
I seemed to not notice that we were on a public beach with a busy main road overlooking us.
I wore that bikini all day.
Not one person fainted at the sight of my untamed flesh. No one felt it necessary to comment on how repulsive they considered me.
No one died!
It’s now 24 hours later and I’ve just been to an air show. Not with the comfort blanket of being at a PPUK photo shoot with lots of encouraging and supportive girls. No. I was on a packed beach full of strangers. I was with my partner. I was in public!
So when I pulled my trousers down to reveal my legs he was stunned. When I then removed my top to reveal just my bikini he couldn’t believe it. “Are you really going to sunbath?” He asked.
Because despite him telling me he likes my body, regularly! I refuse to believe him. How could he? It’s gross right?
So to him this was a huge step forwards for me.
And there I was. Almost naked on a beach. For the first time ever. And guess what? The same thing happened. No one laughed or pointed or even took the slightest bit of notice!
I’m not cured by any stretch. I still don’t think I could look at my naked self without pointing at bits I don’t like. But having braved that first time, I feel like I can do it again. And again. And maybe one day it will be like all those other things and the practice will make it easier.
I certainly hope so, I kinda like the idea of a tan.
Feeling liberated and free!
When I was little I couldn’t wait to get my swimming costume on, I loved the freedom and comfort of wearing one and would wear one whenever possible.
As I got older and more self-conscious of my growing body I liked it less and less.
Earlier this month I was in a Pageant and one of the required outfits was swimwear. Can you imagine my horror. I was going to have to wear swimwear in front of the general public.
I do swim a lot when possible and obviously wear a swimsuit for this and when I go on holiday I wear swimwear. But I honestly feel that everyone is doing their own thing and not paying the slightest bit of attention to me. but it’s still not my favourite thing to do.
I have a very large stomach and very large legs. I would love to have an acceptable fat body but mine is far from it.
So flash back to the Pageant.
I almost dropped out several times due to the swimwear round the very thought of it made me very anxious and upset and made me wake up in a cold sweat.
Then we at PP discussed a beach body shoot and again I felt a prickle of fear at the thoughts of not only the general public seeing my horrible bits but also having actual photographic evidence of the repulsive sight.
I sat and thought about it for a long time and came to the realisation that being part of a Body Positivity group was reason enough to get my wobbly bits out.
On the night of the pageant I just danced. I kind of forgot I was in swimwear I just enjoyed the moment and had a great time loving every moment of the cheers and claps.
This filled me with confidence and I decided to wear my Leopard Bettie Page inspired one peace to our shoot.
Once I saw the water I took my dress off and just wore my Costume. I felt liberated and free again , I felt like I was 5 and as the pictures show I looked like a kid enjoying myself.
Yes I have a large tummy and legs. But I don’t care and anyone who loves me doesn’t care either.
The world didn’t stop turning.
I wasn’t Harpooned and taken to a Sea life centre.
I just enjoyed myself.
So my point is:
If I can, YOU can.
So come on everybody, get your Swimming cosies on and have fun.