Bikinis in Winter

Back in July, I did something completely normal; I wore a two-piece bathing suit. I started this blog a few weeks earlier because I didn’t want to start with that post. I thought it would move mountains. I wanted to exist Before because I thought the experience would make me new After. I found what I started to write at the time:

Yesterday, I wore a bikini on the beach for the first time in my life. Yes, it was high-waisted enough to feel safe for me. Yes, I have been planning this for months. No, actually, it wasn’t a big deal. I didn’t feel free for the first time in my life, I felt like me with 4-6 inches of belly showing. I’m glad I did it,
Now as 2017 shuffles off to good-fucking-riddance I find myself beset on all sides by weight loss schemes. The great all-seeing eye of retargeting knows that I’m getting married and is specifically showing me options to lose weight for my wedding. This insult cuts into me, excavating my most private fears, and pouring cold acid down my hopeful thoughts.
The worst part, though? The worst part is that I don’t know what I want. Yesterday I bravely lifted my double chin and told my co-workers, “joke’s on them. I’ve already bought my wedding dress and it’s a size 22.” I meant it, at least mostly. But there was a flicker of a moment after I said it when my armor fell. I saw them shift on their feet and avoid eye contact. It was infinitesimal, but it was there.
I left work at lunch and drove to the mountains with my love. A few of our favorite people joined us and last night, as the temperature dipped just into freezing, we sat in a hot tub under a misty, starry sky and I watched my big belly float to the surface in my bikini. I drank cold beer and slipped my neck under the water for warmth. I laughed to wake the moon.
So, I’m not perfect. I don’t always reject the subjugation of my body that is perpetrated upon me. But I wore a fucking bikini, and I know what it means.
I acknowledge that the consistent and brutal mental and physical attacks that fat bodies suffer are part of a larger system of oppression, which is only more cruel to people of color and gender-nonconforming people. I know that I am an imperfect warrior in this battle. I know that non-compliance is otherness with teeth.
Every moment that I let my love caress the roll of fat on my side, every red lipstick and too-tight dress. Every mini-skirt, every day without spanx, I am defiant. Sometimes I feel as if I’m slipping under the waves, but at least I’ll be wearing a bikini and a grin that says, “fuck you, I sure fucking am.”

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