It is that time of the year where we are not only inundated with ads about how to achieve a bikini body, but also how many women seem to ‘find the courage’ to go out and dip their exposed skin out there.
The problem with using the terms ‘find the courage’ is that it feeds this idea that only women of a certain size are allowed to be confident and enjoy this sunlit occurrence. That if you don’t fit to that sculpt and you decide to go out there and have fun, you are achieving something worthy of recognition. The more that we endorse this idea, the more that we promote there is something wrong with us in the first place.
But let’s get this done with.
Yes. I do have insecurities. There’s no denying. You can schedule an appointment for me to discuss them to you. For the longest time, I do have mouse traps when the talking comes near the body topic. I have arms not proportional to the rest of its parts. I don’t have a fine complexion. Uneven skin tone is there. My jaws are too edgy. My legs are too buff for a woman my size. My feet overly shows off its veins. Etcetera.
I am too tight in certain places, loose in others. I have my hair in my face, tries to move it, fails, sighs as if my whole life is an exasperation.
All I have is my smile.
But I learnt not to care, hmn, more on acceptance, rather. ‘Wala ko labot ya’, I say.
But you see, I do have moments where I wonder how would it feel to be confident enough not to worry about how people would say, and about how friends would react about this sudden ‘adjustment’ they see in my Instagram feed.
I get a little cross when I hear remarks like,
‘Iba ka na talaga.’
‘Ay di ma bang bang.’
‘Lain naman guid ah.’
I am not particularly pertaining to myself, for the record, I just don’t get the idea of pointing the obvious and making it look like it’s a bizarre thing to happen.
You recognize that? That is progress. Life is a progress. We evolve.
This photo is special to me. This is the very first time I ‘exposed’ this much of myself in public. And this has a lot more meaning to me than what appears to the eye, than showing off, than telling people that I have travels and I’m living a good life (I don’t), even than feeling sexy. For the love of God, it’s not about those things.
This photo is my awakening. This photo is my freedom. It made me nervous, too conscious at the beginning on what other people might think and say not knowing that every other person around doesn’t give two cents about anything that I do or will do, too intimidated by supermodel like bodies I see from the corner of my eye, but I took that leap and took off my shirt. I gathered enough confidence to pose for a photo. And I smiled. There goes my holding back, insecurities and shame, I took it off and I managed to smile. It made me break through that mental barrier I hold dear for so long. It made me feel free. It made me feel beautiful.
And it’s one of the hardest things to do, but once you realize it, you get this new sense of… freedom. Not the feeling you get after the last bell on the last day of school, not that. But more like you see the world for all it’s worth, for the first time.
I finally achieved that dwelling affirmation wherein I don’t require other people’s approval to do what I want and I think that is awesome. At the moment I felt that I have overcome the fear of judgment that took me into a mental tailspin all my life. I am free.
At the most pregnant of pauses, where everything happens all at once, the possibilities and hesitations, balancing precariously in these split seconds like accidents waiting to happen. I am free. At least, at some point, it felt like that.
So what now? I will strike a pose because I can, knowing that I only have limited time on this earth to feel the sun kiss my skin. And because the weather said so.
One Time Only.