I wear a one piece swimsuit. I didn’t always, but after kids I just thought I would spare the world from seeing my belly. After a week holiday on the beach in southern Portugal, I realize that I am the only woman in a one piece swimsuit.
I remember reading an article in a US blog last spring about not being embarrassed to wear a swimsuit on the beach and enjoy life with your kids. I am never embarrassed to wear a swimsuit because I really love to swim and I wouldn’t deny myself or my girls the pleasure of having a swimming partner. Here, in Portugal, the women not only wear swimsuits, they wear bikinis and they embrace their shape. Some women should, “put that stuff away,” as my eldest daughter says, but they don’t. They walk the beach letting all of their parts hang out. You see caesarean and surgery scars, stretch marks…nothing is too much. I will admit at first it is overwhelming. Scary even. Now, I wish I could live as uninhibited.
Not caring about your ‘jiggly bits’ as Bridget Jones calls them, must be freeing. Unfortunately, it is occasionally carried too far. We saw a lot of fully naked older men and way too many boobies. Pippa claims that “tinkle berries” should never be seen in public and I would have to agree.
You won’t catch me sporting a tiny bikini any time soon, but I will admit that I really appreciate the self confidence and positive body image that the Portuguese women have. Unlike North America, young girls are not striving to look like the Kardashians or the next great super model. They are hanging out at the beach as themselves with their parents and grandparents and isn’t that beautiful?