I tend to have a little panic attack at the start of August. Because summer is my most favorite season (yes, even the 98 degree days though I am a person with air conditioning privilege) and I start to get sad that it’s going to be over soon. A lot of years, I also get sad that I haven’t crammed enough summer into my summer. Some of this is legit PTSD. In 2014 and 2016, my daughter Violet spent long stretches of spring and summer in the hospital and we entirely missed those seasons. I’ve been greedy about them ever since.
Other years, my August sad-panic is about whether we did enough summer-y things, which, for me, really means how often did we get in the water. Pools, oceans, lakes, rivers, I’m not picky. I didn’t learn to swim as a little kid because I got a ton of ear infections. And then by the time that resolved, all of my body image stuff had hit and I… actively avoided swimsuit-based things. For a long time. In fact, I did not learn to swim until I was 32 and pregnant — and realized that I did not want to be the mom in the big shirt on the side of the pool.
A word about that big shirt: I do not think body positivity is about getting everybody into a bikini, or even a swimsuit. We don’t owe the world any display of our bodies and for a lot of people, the swimsuit thing just isn’t an interesting goal. But I do think body positivity is about not letting your feelings about your body hold you back from choosing the bigger life. A lot of good adventures start with putting on a swimsuit. A lot of great moments with your kids, too.
So I took swim lessons in my third trimester from a very sweet 19 year old at a local gym pool, who was terrified I’d go into labor at every lesson (I did not). And then, in 2015, I trained to swim a mile across the Hudson River. Reader, it was glorious. (And a little filthy.) This year, my water goals have been way more low-key: Go to our local pool a whole bunch and then to a lake in Maine later this month. It’s felt like one of the most summer-y summers we’ve had in a long time (lack of hospital time also helps). So if this is something you’re struggling with this year: I know where you are and I’ve been there. But consider this your gentle pep talk — it’s only August! We still have time! Let’s get in the swimsuits, so we can get in the water and choose the bigger life.
PS. #NotAFashionBlogger, but I do get questions about where my swimsuit is from, so it’s this one in size 14. YES I HATE THE NAME MIRACLE SUIT. But it is such a very comfortable and adorable suit.