By JULIE CROSS
I thought long and hard about sharing that post on social media. I mean, I’m 46 and wearing a bikini for goodness sake! But then it hit me. I remembered who I am and what I stand for and I realised that I simply had to press ‘post’. “Well if it just inspires one woman today,” I thought, “If just one woman decides to own her body, love herself up and live her life without the fear of what everybody else thinks, then it will be a good thing!”
Fast-forward 24 hours – 128,000 likes, more than 7,000 comments and thousands of shares later I realised that seeing a 46-year-old proudly rocking a bikini resonated with more than just one woman! It has touched so many, and this is how it all came about.
Julie wearing her bikini, and owning it.
I was at the beach the other day and I walked past a group of young people in my bikini. One of them commented under her breath, “I think she is over the bikini!”. I made the comment that she would love to have a swim but didn’t want to subject the public to her body in swimmers. These were people she would never see again in her life, yet she gave them so much power over her.
In effect, complete strangers dictated whether she would have a swim or not, seriously impacting to make new memories and enjoy every moment. And that made me feel so damned sad, because at the end of her live I am sure she will look back and be a little sad that she didn’t seize the moment and go for that swim.
After all these years discussing body image through my work as a motivational speaker, after all the events and forums, after all the work that so many wonderful women do, speaking, writing and empowering on this subject we still need to have the conversation. So sad that we still need to be reminded that we are already good enough. Just as we are!
It is not about judging the people who judge but loving them. On any other day it may have been me doing the judging, because I too have been affected by the marketing that gently and subliminally coerces us into believing that we are not good enough unless we look a certain way, wear certain clothes of a certain size, or live in a certain suburb. It takes discipline to catch your thoughts and remind yourself that you don’t have to buy into that fear, we are all miracles and we are all enough.
We look at a newborn baby and we immediately see a miracle, we look at those fingers and toes like it is the first time we have ever seen fingers and toes. We delight in their healthy rolls and cute dimples. We don’t look at a baby and say, “Well look at you, you are a complete mess, and with those dimply thighs life is going to be tough!”
And then when we were two we looked into the mirror in the nude and delighted in our bodies. We also looked at others without judgement. As children we were courageous and fearless and we moved through the world with confidence. But at some point it all changed. That marketing started to work its magic and we began buying into comparisons and chasing the elusive ‘perfect’ body. Since that fateful day we haven’t ever felt good enough.