Dear Lesbian Big Sister,
I don’t have a “summer body” AT ALL, and the thought of putting on a bathing suit and going to the beach makes me want to hide out in a dark room for the next three months. Do you have any tips on overcoming summer bathing-suit anxiety?
Sad Summer Lesbian
Dear Sad Summer Lesbian,
You are not alone! Women across the globe, regardless of their size and age, are wracked with soul-crushing anxiety about innocent trips to the beach/pool. Do you know how many times I’ve fervently prayed that it thunderstorms the day of that fabulous lesbian pool party, just so I can avoid the trauma of the bikini? Do you know how many amazing beach days I’ve self-sabotaged because I felt melancholy over the way I look? Too many! Until last summer…
One mid-July’s afternoon whilst sipping on a glass of rosé at a poolside drag show in Fire Island, I was struck with a life-changing realization: Everyone around me was having fun. They were all laughing and connecting with another, while I stood alone, isolated in a prison of insecurity. So, I went out on a limb, and decided that instead of focusing on my incessant body shame, I would meet someone new. I struck up conversation with a tourist from Australia. I asked her questions about her life. She told me stories about the lesbian scene in Sydney and we both exchanged coming out stories. Before I knew it, 45 minutes had flown by and I hadn’t thought about my “flawed” body once!
For the rest of the summer, I used this coping mechanism as a tool to help me combat my bathing suit anxiety. When the voices in my head began to taunt me, I silenced them by chatting with someone new. If I was alone, I would focus on the beach. Even though I grew up on the beaches of Long Island, I hadn’t ever truly noticed how sparkly the Atlantic Ocean looks when it gleams in the sunlight. I’d basically been blind to the epic beauty of the beach because I’d been obsessing over my “summer body” since adolescence! So I started taking in her beauty, instead of obsessing over my body. Once Labor Day weekend rolled around, I realized the whole notion of a “summer body” is bullshit. After all, isn’t a “summer body” just a body in the summer? So, you already have a summer body, darling. Now stick your toes in the sand, strike up a conversation with a kind stranger, take in the sea-salt air, and plug into the gorgeous moment. Because, really, the gorgeous moment is all we truly have.