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A few weeks ago, I went on an adventurous trip to St. Kitts and
Nevis Island. As my plane approached the gorgeous blue waters, kissed by the
green rainforest, a feeling of anxiety started getting to me.
There it was on
my itinerary: snorkeling.
My ultimate fear had just been
presented to me in the form of an amazing experience. You see, the reason I
went into panic mode was not because I have a major fear of sharks, which I
learned I don't—but because I was out of excuses for not finally wearing, for the first time, my 3-year-old, brand-new Trina Turk swimsuit.
It sounds silly that a shark attack would be less concerning
than exposing my #MomBod, but when you haven't worn a bathing suit in three years,
that moment becomes a dreadful one. After the birth of my last kid, I got some
stretchies that had stopped me from wearing a bathing suit again.
tried one-piece swimsuits, but I've just felt out of sync with my body ever
since. I think it goes beyond acquiring those war scars. I have not felt
the same because I had not accepted that I am not the same.
I am not that 22-year-old anymore, the one who could bounce back in a week. To be honest, I've lost interest in her. She reminded
me of who I wanted to be but was not any longer. She had dreams and goals and
was ready to eat the world.
This new Dee has a pile of laundry to be folded,
lunch to cook and homework to do. She doesn't have time to
experience the world, to take time for herself as she used to, or to prioritize
her looks over making dinner. She is too caught up in the daily routine to stop
and take a hard look at herself. Too busy to find the determination needed to make a
Here is the thing with body image: You don't need to be 300 pounds overweight to feel insecure or unattractive.
However, there in that sparkling ocean, surrounded by
mountains and rocks, something inside of me broke. That part of myself that I
had been dragging around for three years, in fear of public scrutiny, simply broke.
was able to feel free again.
Free to enjoy something wonderful without worrying
about anyone looking at me. Free to swim to the fishes, search for turtles and not think once about whether people noticed my scars. I went into that water, and
I felt like myself again for the first time in way too long. I felt like
that 22-year-old girl who dyed her hair red because she dreamed about being a
I was able to breathe again. I let go of my fears and accept that
this is how I look now.
Here is the thing with body image: You don't need to be 300
pounds overweight to feel insecure or unattractive. The way you feel about
yourself has nothing to do with the way you actually look. That's how messed up
our minds get when it comes to our own reflection. We see something that, most
of the time, nobody else sees to the extent that we do. Our low self-esteem
plays with the accuracy of our shortcomings and flaws, making us see them worse
than they actually are.
Heck, there was a 60-year-old grandma in the boat rocking a bikini, so why couldn't I achieve the same?
These stretch marks are awful; God knows, I would not
mind getting rid of them. But they are also a testament to my life. They're a page in my story that has led me to be who I am, because
nothing is more difficult than accepting who you have become and letting go of
who you used to be.
In that moment, surrounded by fish and coral, I knew I
could change my situation. I knew I could help myself look better, and in turn,
feel better. Heck, there was a 60-year-old grandma in the boat rocking a
bikini, so why couldn't I achieve the same? I just had to admit, it was not
because I couldn't, but because I did not have the motivation to be disciplined