Beach Please

By Chanda Alicea

“The beach is gonna get whatever body I give it!”

We’ve all seen those memes. We’ve all felt that way. Well last Saturday, that’s exactly what I did, and it wasn’t easy. We enjoyed a great weekend get away in San Diego with a designated beach day. To be honest, I’d been so great about not stressing about this day since I knew it was coming. I have a swimsuit that I feel somewhat comfortable in. It’s a 2-piece ensemble, so the fact that I own anything resembling a bikini at this point is a big step for me, and I know I am not alone when it comes to this topic.

 The beach day finally arrived, and I was so excited. At least I thought I was. Who wouldn’t be ready to spend the day by the water and relax? It was a day to experience something with my daughter that she had not yet done up to this point in her life. How could I not be excited when it was all she had been talking about for weeks!

As excited as I was, I noticed while we were getting ready to depart our Air B&B, my anxiety was in full swing, and it was winning, not just mentally, but physically. My chest hurt, heartburn came a calling, and I was so nauseous, that I thought I was going to throw up. All my fears and doubts were suddenly taking over my every thought. “I can’t wear a bathing suit in public!” “My thighs are too big. I’m not really comfortable with how I look in a bathing suit in front of a whole bunch of people. Everyone is going to judge me.” These were all the things I was thinking. All these ridiculous thoughts, when truthfully I knew that every single person on the beach wouldn’t be staring at me full of judgement. My mind however was playing tricks on me and telling me otherwise.

 I went back and forth between whether or not I should wear my entire bathing suit or just keep it in my comfort zone of my bikini top and workout pants. I took my swim skirt with really no intention to wear it at that point, but as a parent, there’s the always lingering thought of “just in case.” But when we arrived at our destination, the only thing I could think of was how disappointed my daughter would be if I did not put my swimsuit on and get into the water with her. And that thought alone won out over everything. It immediately silenced every doubt and fear I had about putting a 2-piece suit on and heading out into a public place to enjoy the day with my daughter.

And that is exactly what I did. The only worries I had that day, were making sure she had enough sunscreen on. Along with making sure that we didn’t wade too far into the water since the current was pretty strong, as well as moving far enough down the shoreline so when we were pushed around by the waves while we were sitting down that we didn’t get scratched up by all the shells in the sand. Every single negative thought was gone. I’m sure someone out there probably had some judgmental thought about my body, but I was having too good of a time to give it any thought. I didn’t really get to relax and laze around in the sand, because #momduties, but that’s totally fine. The time I did spend on the sand was taken up by watching 1 seagull claim its territory by some people who were eating. I’m quite sure the seagull was patiently waiting for food to drop so it could eat some and he confronted any other birds that came into his vicinity and immediately chased them away. Clearly, I’m amused by the small things, it was probably more entertaining than it should have been to watch this bird be a jerk to all the others, as well as notice that the people eating by it had taken notice too.

Other than that, I was in the water listening to my kid squeal and scream with delight about how much she loved the beach and I truly believe she’s a mermaid at heart, because had she not been hungry, there would have been no stopping her from staying in the water. We had the best time, we made amazing memories and as difficult as it started out, having such an amazing little girl helps me kick out the negative and keep nothing but the positive. She helps me without even knowing it.

It’s amazing to me as a parent, how much influence our kids have over us. How they can help us with battles unseen and guide us through things that we otherwise might not be able to overcome. When the thought of possibly disappointing your child is something you can’t fathom, it can help you in ways you never imagined. I have the body I have for the time being, it’s a work in progress, and while I am not always content with it, I am comfortable in my own skin. I am going to brave the big scary and show you pictures from that day to show you that if I can do it, you can too. I am going to end this on a super sappy note and say that on the day that I had to battle my anxiety and fears, love was on my side in the form of a 7 year old girl and she helped me win.

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