“OK, so what’s the worst thing you’ve ever said to yourself about your body?” our video producer, Vicki asked me, instructing me to look straight down the barrel of the camera.
Standing there in the most beautiful swimsuit I’ve ever worn – a navy one piece, cinched in at the waist with a lace-up detail on the bust – I knew the answer.
You’re disgusting. A pig. A fat pig.
Raise your hand if you can’t think of anything you’d like to do less than wearing a one-piece in front of your co-workers? Well, I did it.
It was on a Monday morning not unlike any other. I was minding my own business in the staff kitchen (by which I mean I was making toast) when my boss asked me if I’d like to be in a video we were filming with body positive swimwear brand, Swimwear Galore.
Before my brain had the chance to send a message to my mouth to ABORT MISSION, it blurted out ‘yeaaaaaaaaaah sure’ in that high pitched voice you do when you’re not entirely sure you believe what you’re saying.
Then, I must’ve passed out or something, because what felt like moments later I found myself in a one piece that I can’t entirely remember putting on (must’ve suppressed that memory) standing in front of multiple cameras with a bloody bright light shining on my bod.
I was putting on my ‘I’m so fine’ face but inside I was packing it. I felt hot, red, pale and clammy. I had all of the thoughts.
Will my thighs be in the shot? I thought my boobs looked better in this when I tried it on, or was I imagining that? Why didn’t I tan? WHY? Will my double chins show? Did I say I definitely don’t want my thighs in the shot?
But I pushed all of them aside because I was determined not to let the voices inside my head stop me from putting on a smile and dancing around pretending that I’m one hundred percent OK with how my body looks. I’m not, never have been. But boy, was I ready to put on a convincing performance.
???? Soz in advance for soppy post about self esteem etc ????A few weeks ago, my boss @miafreedman came across me minding my own business in the staff kitchen and asked if I’d like to chuck on some bathers and be in a video that’ll likely be seen by thousands of people. After the word ‘YES’ somehow came out of my mouth, I must’ve passed out because suddenly, I found myself in this lovely one piece from @swimweargalore with a big camera pointed at my bod. I have never felt more uncomfortable and vulnerable in my bloody life. But I did it, and no one died. If I said I’m now magically 100% comfy in my body and all that, I’d be lying. After all, this Boomerang is cropped above my thighs for a reason. But I love this little vid, and I look happy ☀️☀️ So cheers to @mamamiaaus and @miafreedman for pushing me out of my comfort zone ????????
Only it didn’t go that way. Because that question – “What’s the worst thing you’ve ever said to yourself about your body?” – felt like a punch to the stomach.
Thinking about the answer to that question made me sad. Sad that I could so easily recall the horrible things I say to myself after I’ve eaten a whole box of BBQ shapes, or gotten stuck in a tight-fitting dress in a sweaty, humid change room. But also ashamed, because it’s fine for me to say them to myself when no one’s around to listen, but sharing that would mean owning up to the fact that a large portion of my day is spent loathing my body.
As soon as the words left my mouth – You’re disgusting. A pig. A fat pig – I realised just how damaging my negative self-talk is. Saying them aloud made them real. I’d never talk to a friend or loved one that way. Not even a stranger on the beach, trying to have a good time with her kids but feeling just as sh*t about herself as I do.
Taking those words out of the privacy of my own head and putting them under the shining light, it showed them for what they truly are. It’s not me that’s disgusting. It’s them.
After years of punishing herself and her body, The Body Image Movement founder and creator of Embrace, Taryn Brummfit, realised living captive to these kinds of thoughts isn’t living at all.
“I never felt like I was very present in my life because, even when I was playing with the kids, I was always so consumed with how I looked, or if I was dieting, I was consumed with what I was eating or not eating, if I’d been to the gym or not,” the mum-of-three told Mamamia.
“It’s not our soul purpose to be at war with our body, that’s not what we’re here to do. Remember that every breath you take is one closer to your last so make every one count.”
LISTEN: More from Taryn about how trying to have ‘the perfect body’ didn’t make her life perfect with Mia Freedman on No Filter (post continues after audio…)
This is why initiatives like #OwnSummer are so darn important. To see everyday women who may or may not look like you wearing swimsuits and looking happy.
“Life is way too short to be at war with your body. Sitting on the sidelines isn’t fun. But, jumping into the ocean or doing a bomb in the pool is,” Taryn said.
“So just try it, it’s a choice. Try for one day to see what it feels like to let it go. [Body image] is like a muscle, it builds the more you use it. It’s not like you’re going to do one swimwear photo shoot and unconditionally love your body and be free of all your insecurities, but what will happen is you can build on that.
“Next time you’re tempted to say no to something, with curiosity think about saying yes and challenge yourself.”
Sure, getting off the bench and onto the track isn’t easy, but it’s not a race. Your life isn’t a race. You’re not in competition with anyone else.
So please, put on the swimsuit that makes you feel good. Choose your favourite colour and get a tan if you want. Or don’t, that’s fine too.
And then take your body to the beach and enjoy it. Then do it again, and again, until you can smile about it, and mean it.
You can check out a bunch of pics of women with epic personalities looking content in their Swimwear Galore cossies in the gallery below…