Shalom! It’s me! Your favorite blogatrix. I hope you’re swell.
Summer is kind of winding down and this is the first time in forever that I will not be returning to school. I have an overwhelming desire to buy pens and notebooks but I know deep down I don’t need them. It’s vaguely heartbreaking. No more sitting in classrooms on the first day watching a teacher struggle to read difficult names, no more meeting new roommates or ‘back to school’ events. No more trips to the bookstore to buy $80+ textbooks I won’t even crack open once. Well, OK the last one I won’t miss so much. But even though I’m glad I’m through with finals anxiety and flashcards, the thought that I won’t be *forced* to learn something is a little scary.
And I do learn stuff all the time because a part of my job is dealing with daytime television. Meaning that I watch the news all day, every (other) day, the good, the bad, the ugly. And recently, a fixture of the news cycle recently has been the “fatkini.” Because if it’s one thing the news absolutely gobbles up like half-priced Cronuts on Columbus Day, it’s portmanteaus and people’s weights. And being mad about stuff.
For those who don’t know. A “fatkini” is like a bathing suit – BUT, here’s the twist. The person wearing it is OVER a size 10.
The real question people (and terrible commentators on the Internet – who I sometimes forget are people) seem to be asking is “IS THIS GLORIFYING OBESITY?” and here’s the answer. No. It’s not a splashy answer – but that’s that.
Selfies of ladies and others in bikinis is not causing obesity. The food we eat does. The poverty level in our country does. The lack of funds for activities for inner-city children does. The removal of gym class or recess in public school is.
We may have a health problem in our country but a girl posing at the beach is not affecting any of the above. If anything, the *fatkini* (can I please stop saying that now?) is helping people. And here’s why.
I never used to wear a bathing suit in public between the ages of 10 and 23. Because I felt I didn’t *deserve* to wear one. I didn’t look *good* enough in one. I would wear T-shirts and basketball shorts. Mini- skirts. Tank-tops. Sometimes even sweatpants or jeans. I would bake in the sun, hot and sweaty, uncomfortable. Happy in the knowledge that I may be dying of heat but at least no one was potentially laughing at me. I would sit on the side while other people swam (I couldn’t get my hair wet because you *know* that would dry frizzy). If I hadn’t shaved my legs or underarms, forget it. I may as well have stayed home. If I had someone say “Here, look at me! I’m wearing a bathing suit and don’t give a fuck!” or a magazine photo spread with girls who looked like me playing volleyball without being weighed down by extraneous layers Would I have joined the rest of my friends playing marco-polo? Would I have taken a few laps in the pool without the crushing distraction that someone may be looking at me? Who knows. Maybe I would be healthier and more active in the summertime.
When you put on clothes and think “Hm, I need to start eating better or I need to start running on the treadmill,” that’s fine. Those are healthy goals. But the next thought had better be “But today, I am going to the beach/pool/waterpark/getting ice dumped on my head for ALS and there’s nothing I can do about my body now except enjoy the sunshine.”
Someone recently posted a quote on Facebook that said “Your body isn’t your masterpiece, it’s your paintbrush.” Your body isn’t what will survive in 120 years. What you do with your body will. The money you raise from running a marathon that goes to breast cancer research. The happiness you bring to your friend’s wedding by dancing with her. The hugs you give to your grandparents. Your body does a hella lot of good. Use it.
So summer’s winding down but that’s not excuse to get all those winter sweaters out. Go out and enjoy what warm sunshine we have left. In whatever you deem to wear.