Sunday, November 06, 2005

Triangles and String

I'm back! Sunned and rested, and not looking forward to going back to work tomorrow. 'Tis always the way when holidays end, more's the pity.

So, the big news is that I did go diving. It was OK, I got into the wetsuit without any major dramas, and I didn't. It didn't blow me away like it does some people, but equally I'd do it again, if I was somewhere where there was something spectacular to see. I'm not like my dad who would dive in the North Sea in November just to get out there and dive, or who would spend time training people for the love of it on chilly Thursday nights in the local pool, but I'll probably do the course slowly so that when I go to Australia (in many many years time at this rate) I can ve there.

One thing I did notice though, was that weight does matter. One of the customers diving with me was a very chunky guy, only a teenager but very big. Now there was nothing malicious in the way he had to be treated, and there was never any suggestion that he couldn't dive, but he did have to be treated differently. He couldn't use a "normal" weight belt, and he had to be watched even more carefully in terms of how much air he used. My sister (who is, as we've already established, roughly my current size) felt nervous about diving him without assistance from another instructor because if he'd got into difficulties it would have been hard for her to support or rescue someone who was probably a good 6 or 7 stone heavier than her. He dived, he enjoyed it, and there weren't any problems, but it did hammer home how much easier life is when you're not massively obese. You can sit on planes, put the tray down, wiggle around in the seat. You can dive using normal kit and without having adjustments made for you. You can do things without worrying about your weight rather than finding a way to do them despite it.

The other big news is that the triangles and string bikini made a public outing. It's only triangles and string at the top, with smallish but all the way round bottoms rather than the tie at the side things. And actually, there were two bikinis, I discovered another one lurking in my wardrobe in Spain which I'd bought two years ago in a fit of hopeless optimism.

I admit that I mainly wore the top because my top half is far better than my bottom half. I'd wear the bottoms, but under a skirt, or a sarong, or anything else I could find to disguise the bits of me I'm less comfortable with. But I wore it. And I took the opportunity to reassess my body.

A beach holiday is good for lookng at other people's bodies and realising that they come in all different shapes and sizes, and that none of them are perfect. Well, not many of them anyway. When I was obese I tended to think that thin was thin and lovely, and fat was fat. But there are so many more variations than that. There are the skinny framed but flabby people, the chunky but toned people, and so many other combinations. And it became obvious that the one thing that determined whether they looked good in a bikini wasn't size, or flabbiness or anything like that. It was confidence, and the belief that they looked good, or that it didn't matter.

There are two distinct groups of people I usually see. There are the tourists, white pasty flesh usually, and lots of shapes and sizes. And there are the Canarios, also in lots of shapes and sizes. But the Canarios have that look that says they were born in a bikini, they were fortunate enough to be born into a fantastic climate where you can live on the beach after school or work, at weekends, all summer, and where you can and do walk along the sea front in a bikini as a matter of course. Wearing a bikini seems to be a birthright rather than something to stress over or worry about, and they pull it off, with an almost 100% success rate.

Their bodies aren't necessarily any better than some of the tourists, but they just pull it off so much better. It's confidence, and that's an important lesson.

I always wore a bikini, even at my heaviest (and judging by some of the evidence of copious amounts of lardy flesh, I'm not alone in this - not that a one piece swimsuit hides it much better anyway). Not necessarily a particularly revealing one, but a bikini. But it was always doomed to failure because I was constantly aware of the fact that it looked awful. It probably did, but I never really had the confidence to hold my head up high and be proud of it anyway. My bikini wearing was always more apologetic, as if I felt like I should be preceeded by an advisory notice as I lumbered towards the pool.

But now, why the hell shouldn't I wear one. My body's a long way away from perfect, and maybe it will never get there. But really, how many bodies round the pool or on the beach are perfect? There are bulges and wobbles all over the place if you actually look. Does it matter? Not at all. I'm proud of my body now, and if it wants to show itself off, then why the hell shouldn't it? And maybe one day I'll have that confidence that disguises any imperfections and rises above it.


Blogger SkinnyME said...

Wecome back YP! I'm glad you had a good time :)

6:40 PM  
Blogger Haloranch said...

Amen to your confidency YP. You're so right in saying that it's the confidence in how you carry yourself that counts more than the shape of your body.

I admire black women, many of whom have ample proportions and yet dance with wild abandon and confidence. They look great despite the fact that most people would consider them obese.

Thank you for your well-written blog. I enjoy reading it.

5:21 PM  

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