When I traveled to Thailand for my honeymoon last year, I knew that I’d be experiencing a whole new world. A world that seemed so magical to me from afar. I dreamed of traveling to Thailand and put it on my list of “must go to” places. As you know, I’m a big believer in writing down intentions and desires because somehow when you write them down, they become reality.
So, my dream was realized in 2018 when my husband and I flew half way around the world to this far off destination. My time in Thailand was everything I hoped it would be, but what I came back home with was an unexpected bonus.
An Unexpected Lesson…
You see, during our trip, I was handed an “aha” moment that I couldn’t have planned for. My husband and I were in Phuket, right on the beaches of the Andaman Sea, when he pointed something out to me. As we were walking hand-in-hand across the sands he said, “Wendy, do you realize you are the only woman here wearing a one piece bathing suit?”
When I first heard his question, I internally got defensive. I thought, “Yeah, so? I like one piece bathing suits. I’m comfortable in them.” But as I processed his question and began to really look around me, not just at the glistening crystal blue water but instead at the gorgeous display of people, I realized, he was right!
I really was the only woman (and there were A LOT of women on the beach) who had chosen to wear a one piece bathing suit. Regardless of age, size, color, body type, markings, or whatever, women were openly sharing their bodies with the world around them. Very few, if any, even wore “cover ups” as we call them in the U.S.
Just that term, “cover up” took on a new meaning to me as I realized no one, except me, felt the need to wear one on the beach that day.
Now, I forced myself to turn inward and explore why I chose the one piece versus a bikini that I had packed for the trip. Sure, one pieces are comfortable, but why are they any more comfortable than a two piece bathing suit? I had to really sink into that question and explore the true reasons for my choice.
The truth for me was, a lack of self love and self acceptance. Somehow I fell victim to shaming my own body over the years.
As I became evermore aware of what every single person was wearing that day on the beach, I experienced feelings of anger and frustration, which quickly turned into immense love, admiration, and peacefulness once I investigated my own thoughts.
I was angry and frustrated that I was raised and lived in a culture that admonished bodies that weren’t similar to that of a model or athlete. Media outlets rarely showcased an untouched, unfiltered version of a woman’s appearance. Instead, a certain “type” of woman was regularly cast in a role or selected to appear in advertisements. And that type wasn’t my type. Insert body shame here.
I know most women can relate to these feelings because I hear women comment on their own appearances all the time. Whether we’re consciously aware of it or not, we compare ourselves to others around us. Do we fit in? Are we good enough?
Well, I have adopted a new perspective on how I feel about my body thanks to that day on the beach. The other women who proudly displayed themselves without a care in the world (at least it seemed that way) taught me to accept myself.
From That Day Forward…
You can guess what bathing suit I chose to wear for the rest of my vacation, right? Yup. The bikini. Why not?! I no longer felt self conscious. Instead, I felt FREE! I celebrated the body God gifted me and enjoyed life without the stress and angst of worrying about what others thought of me. It was glorious!
So, thank you Thailand for delivering a life lesson that was completely unexpected yet much needed. Thank you ladies on that Phuket beach that day for proudly displaying your bodies and showing me that we’re all beautiful.
You might be wondering, do you still wear one pieces?
The answer is yes, I do. When I feel like it. I don’t wear them to “cover up” like I used to. Now I wear them for certain functionality, if needed. I also wear bikinis without a second thought as to what others might think of me.
I have such a different appreciation for my body and I owe it all to my husband’s question that allowed me to open my eyes to the beauty around me and within me. Thank you, dear.
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