I go on vacation in less than a week.
This is a family vacation, and I have never been more ready to hit the beach. Seriously. I haven’t seen my family in what seems like eons, and this is going to be a good opportunity for me to catch up with them while catching rays at the same time.
I AM PUMPED, let me tell you!
I have a big family, with LOTS of cousins, and that means lots of people to spend time with on the beach. Lots of people to play beach volleyball with. Lots of people to drink beer in the sun with.
Lots of people to compare myself to.
I know, I know, it’s like Rule Number 1 in the Body Positive Handbook (is there one of those?! If so, how the heck do I get my hands on it?!): don’t compare yourself to others.
But that, like many of the other ideas that we, as bad, body positive bitches spout, is easier said than done.
I have never been labeled as “skinny” by anyone in my family I have three brothers, all very long and lanky, and most of the cousins (both male and female) around my age are also thin. On the beach, I am surrounded by endless legs everywhere I look, taut stomachs, and bikinis for days.
I’m not going to lie: sometimes, I feel like I stick out like a sore thumb with my soft belly, SUPER jiggly thighs, and wide hips. The only thing that connects me with my white, Irish family is the glow of sunburn visible across the lot of us.
Women today find themselves comparing their bodies to the bodies of women on TV, women in magazines, and women on social media. It’s easy for us to put defenses up when we keep comparing ourselves to people we don’t know (celebrities, models, etc.) that are digitally altered in print or online, but what happens when we are confronted with people that we know?
How many of us find ourselves comparing our bodies to the bodies of our friends? Our sisters? Our cousins? It may not be something that we think about until it’s time for us to be in a swimsuit with them on a beach, with our bodies on display.
It’s unrealistic to say, “don’t compare your body to anyone else’s!” Because DUH, we all know that that’s what we should avoid. It’s just important to remember that everyone is insecure about something, and dwelling on these insecurities (especially on vacation!) is a recipe for disaster.
So for the rest of this summer, whether we are in a swimsuit or not, let’s try to avoid negative comparisons, and just appreciate differences. No, it won’t be easy, but we have to start somewhere.
And me? I’ll be starting on a beach, with a beer in my hand.