Let's just be real here — for most women, baring our bodies in the bright sunlight of a sandy beach
brings with it a certain level of … anxiety. (If you're this
writer, this comes in the form of a mini-heart attack.) Despite what the magazines would like us to believe, not all of us
sport perfectly toned stomachs that were absolutely made for bikinis, or
legs that can run along the beach without showing signs of so much as a jiggle.
And while yes, we all need to realize that THIS IS OK, it's not
always easy to throw on a bathing suit and just put all your insecurities
And it's even harder to do so when the biggest critic of your beach body isn't even you — it's a total stranger.
Yep — after years of self-shame and five
babies, all Tannis was looking to do was put away her body insecurities and just have a relaxing day in the sun. But as she later came home and wrote on
Facebook, it was anything but.
Here's her open letter to the people who left her mortified:
"This is an open letter to the 2 guys and 1 girl who decided to skip work today in Sherwood Park where they were building a house, but instead decided to come to Alberta Beach to relax in the sun, enjoy the water and some beers.
"I'm sorry if my first attempt at sun tanning in a bikini in public in 13 years 'grossed you out.' I'm sorry that my stomach isn't flat and tight. I'm sorry that my belly is covered in stretch marks. I'm NOT sorry that my body has housed, grown, protected, birthed and nurtured FIVE fabulous, healthy, intelligent and wonderful human beings. I'm sorry if my 33-year-old, 125-lb. body offended you so much that you felt that pointing, laughing and pretending to kick me. But I'll have you know that as I looked at your 'perfect' young bodies, I could only think to myself, 'What great and amazing feat has YOUR body done?' I'll also have you know that I held my head high, unflinching as you mocked me, pretending that what you said and did had no effect on me, but I cried in the car on the drive home. Thanks for ruining my day. It's people like you who make this world an ugly hateful place. I can't help but feel sorry for the women who will one day bear your children and become 'gross' in your eyes as their bodies change during the miraculous process of pregnancy. I can only hope that one day you'll realize that my battle scars are something to be proud of, not ashamed of."
Yay, Tannis! We couldn't have said it better ourselves.
As for the "laughable" and "imperfect" body that Tannis dared to reveal that day on the beach? The one that's brought five babies into the world? Here it is, for all to see.
Stories like these make us so angry. But we have to hand it to this mom for turning it all around and using it to empower herself, and others just like her.