Being back on the East Coast has put a slight dent in my body positive summer plans of bikini-ing it up any and everywhere, however, I made the conscious decision to be honest about exactly where I was at in my two-pieced coming out experience. And, as I looked around me on the beaches of Maine full of womyn wearing cover-ups, I decided to create this 5-Step process of confident bikini rocking. Yes, it is cheekily titled “easy” with the understanding of how truly difficult it can be, but after you read this, my hope for you is that it is just a little bit easier to free your tummy and thighs for the best summer of their lives…and yours!

[RELATED POST: #DropTheTowel This Summer!]

Step 1

After purchasing a bikini that you love (for me this just had to be the first summer of two-piece freedom) – even if you’re still learning to love yourself in it – wear it around the house and in-front of the mirror as much as possible! In other words, familiarize yourself with your second skin for the summer, and by all means feel free to do as many indoor laps as you like to continue getting comfortable in your own skin – they don’t call it your birthday suit for nothing!

One meditative practice you could try is to stand in the mirror as you lovingly touch the parts of your body you’ve been taught to hate and may have spoken negatively about before, while this time you affirm them with positive statements, gentle touch, and self-witnessing. It is of course totally ok if this feels too difficult at first: self-love is an individual journey for us all. We all deserve to walk our own path at our own pace! Yes, it’s true that being supported by our loved ones is always helpful if possible, but if not possible there’s is always my last recommendation related to this self-love practice I’m suggesting: music. I’m not talking about today’s watered-down Top 40 – I’m thinking back to some serious Girl Power circa classic Missy, Mary J, and Destiny’s Child (see below and press play).

 Step 2

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Once you’ve had this somatic (mind-body) experience of integrating the concept of your body (in all its’ glory) being in a bikini, now it’s time to implement this tremendous work you’ve done outside of your own living space. Breathe. This next step can be quite scary and often complicated for us all, and can certainly require some scaffolding of personal safety and support (unless you prefer to fly solo, which is cool too – do you). One way to enact this scaffolding would be to invite some body positive friends to join you in the experience and go to a beach, pool, lake, park, or the free-reigning fire hydrant down the block – whatever you have access to or wherever you’re excited to explore; a place where you can close your eyes right now (go ahead, feel free to try…well once you’ve read the rest of the prompt of course) and envision yourself feeling most comfortable wearing your bikini with no cover-up or towel to hide you. For some this may be their beloved childhood beach retreat, while for others it may occur on vacation somewhere new! The point is to start allowing those parts of yourself you’ve never let see the light of day, begin to bask in the glory of the sun and summer breeze. Sink into your surroundings and breathe them into your very core as you dare to take up the space of your entire body.

 

Step 3

After you’ve allowed yourself to fully sink into the experience, and perhaps given your nervous system a chance to return back to homeostasis from the adrenaline rush of being outside in only your bikini, it is time to move on to your regularly scheduled more low-key non-swimming beach, pool, or lakeside activities. Do not forget the importance of doing this or belittle it in any way – allowing your body to physically do the same things in your bikini that you would have if you were in your longtime one-piece or cover-up is an important somatic factor to integrating this experience into your daily life. It’s like proving to your mind and body that you can put your sunscreen on or read your favorite magazine (yes, we will ok the use your devices if you’re pulling up WYV) all while wearing your bikini, and even though society has made us feel like we are somehow defying the laws of nature by doing so, the world absolutely does not come crashing down all around us…even if it feels like it will. Trust me, I virtual pinky promise you!

Step 4

You can now move from your more reflective and sponge-like state of brave existence in the space to moving around the space in whatever fashion you feel fit. Some of you may be good and ready to attempt a cartwheel – those are the readers that have already released the fear of falling flat on their faces because they know the power of rising again. Other readers may have a few anxieties or fears reappear at this point and that is totally ok too! To those that would still find the act of taking a beach walk or jumping into the pool inaccessible, I would encourage you to keep taking those baby steps. Actually, scratch that – keep taking those BABE steps!

Maybe it looks like shedding one extra layer than usual, or keeping your cover-up on until you’re ready to release it, but still rocking it confidently in your own unique way. I have found truth to the expansion of the statement: Fake it ’til you make it. To me this means to begin embodying self-love and body positivity confidence even if you’re not totally feeling it…yet. No, I don’t believe in forcing yourself or being fake, but only your authentic self can bring to fruition what you’d like to reflect into the world, and that may be hidden under layers of societal shame. The more you believe in this confidence yourself, living it and breathing it, the more real it will become! (*If you did happen to have a negative experience at the hands of another’s Fat Phobia, you now know that you can survive it, although I am sorry and resonate with this experience, and hopefully hold the truth that it was their shadow being projected upon your body.*)

Truthcaste from the east coast: I'm having a harder time being fully body positive here with so many womyn who look the same style & lack of diversity wise and most of them sticking to cover-ups no matter their size…working my way back up to walking around in only my bathing suit – reclaiming spaces one inch of tummy and thigh at a time and being bravely authentic about exactly where I'm at in this moment! This is exactly what #FuckFatPhobia is all about & a major part of why I started this campaign – please join me in wearing your voice against the mainstream! #effyourbeautystandards #WearYourVoice #honormycurves #goldenconfidence #losehatenotweight #ThereIsNoWrongWayToBeAWoman #selflovingyogis #ThickThighsSaveLives #curvesreign #radicalbodylove #alternativecurves #boldncurvy #bigarmnoharm #bigandblunt

A photo posted by Rachel Otis (@somewhere_under_the_rainbow) on

 

 

Step 5 

*Reflect and Repeat Steps 1-4 As Needed!*

(and don’t forget to #FuckFatPhobia when capturing yourself doing so and splashing it on social media!)

my first #FuckFatPhobia homework assignment: replace whatever societally installed image may occupy your brain concerning what a "beach or lake or pool body" looks like and replace it with your very own already gorgeous self! remember: everything that you already are is enough – myself and @wearyourvoicemag see and honor your whole-bodied radiance, which is how this campaign to challenge and combat the societally pervasive disease of Fat Phobia was born – please join our movement & start hashtagging away (you could be featured in an upcoming article of my favorite submissions thus far)! Photo by: @triple_f_soul #FuckFatPhobia #WearYourVoice #effyourbeautystandards #curvesreign #losehatenotweight #bigandblunt #bigarmnoharm #boldncurvy #alternativecurves #goldenconfidence #honormycurves

A photo posted by Rachel Otis (@somewhere_under_the_rainbow) on

 

 

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