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This is My Swimsuit Style

Photograph by María José Ovalle

I'm thrilled summer is here, but right after the feeling of total excitement comes serious panic. Every year it's the same story — I try on a dozen swimsuits only to end up leaving the fitting room crying because of the way I look.

Swimsuit anxiety is REAL and it happens to women everywhere. However, for three years I have been working on my swimsuit confidence and I am truly OVER wasting my summers away wishing I was 30 pounds lighter, regretting all those times I could have worked out, sulking under the shade, wishing the sun could melt my fat away (for real!) and refusing to partake in poolside and beach fun with friends and family.

O-V-E-R it.

The reality is NO one cares what you look like. NO ONE. Really. We do this to ourselves — we tear ourselves apart when it comes to our bodies and wallow in self-pity.

Despite struggling with my weight all of my life, I'm a self-confident woman with good self-esteem. But when it comes to wearing a swimsuit, all that boldness and "I can do this" attitude is nowhere to be found. All of the demons of the past find their way back and I become a very miserable person. And for a long time I've known it to be true for many other women as well.

However, the reality is NO one cares what you look like. NO ONE. Really. We do this to ourselves — we tear ourselves apart when it comes to our bodies and wallow in self-pity.

I won't tell you that I LOVE how I look. I don't.

But I do LOVE myself. I like who I am, what I've accomplished and I'm confident enough to laugh at myself and not worry about what others think — but it's something you have to work at.

I know I need to eat better and work out. In fact, I'm back at my Tae Bo and Zumba classes this week after seeing what I REALLY look like. And just a few months ago, I was in much better shape — but right now, today, this summer, THIS is what I look like and I refuse to beat myself up about it and you shouldn't either.

Photograph by María José Ovalle
What sort of negative message will I be passing on to my children, both my son and daughter, if I refuse to wear a swimsuit because I can't get over my own insecurities?

This year I made a conscious effort to transfer the usual self-confidence I have the other 10 months of the year and bring it out when I most need it — starting with the #MySwimsuitStyle challenge I decided to create, asking moms (and all women) to post a photo of themselves in their swimsuits. I figured, once someone sees me — gordita, round hips, cellulite and all, but HAPPILY wearing a swimsuit, they will find the confidence to do the same.

Especially as a mom, I can no longer deny my kids when they ask me to come play with them in the water. What sort of example am I setting for them? Besides, I found that many of our body insecurities stem from our moms. Not that I'm blaming moms solely for our sense of self in a swimsuit, but many of the women who've participated so far have said to me that they grew up with a mother who was overly critical of herself and her body, and that same insecurity was passed on to them. That made me realize something important. What sort of negative message will I be passing on to my children, both my son and daughter, if I refuse to wear a swimsuit because I can't get over my own insecurities?

Are you ready to take the first step toward self-acceptance and body confidence?

Jump in, make a splash and join us! Blog about your story and include a picture in your swimsuit (don't forget to smile!) or simply share a picture to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram showing off your swimsuit style and include the message of "self-love, not self-loathing."

Be sure to use the hashtag #MySwimsuitStyle so we can find you! Every mom and every woman deserves a chance to enjoy the summer in a bathing suit!

Photograph by María José Ovalle
Explore More: summer, style, fashion, tips, body image, mamá a mamá, estilo y belleza, Latina Mom
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