Heather L. Barmore
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    Change In Action at Babble Voices


    Bikini Madness

    "It took me a long time not to judge myself through someone else's eyes." ~Sally Field

    Do you watch Girls? If so, do you remember the episode where the girls of Girls head to the North Fork for some R&R and Hannah spends the entire day in that green bikini? I have watched that episode from start to finish 19 times and it was around the 11th viewing when my friend Ali posted to Facebook: “I cannot stop thinking of Hannah’s green bikini” and I popped up out of my constant recline (what? Whenever I’m home I lose all ability to sit up straight) and said “YES” which deserved all caps because I realized that I had to watch that episode over and over not because of the writing or the storyline or empathy on the progression/regression of friendship as an adult but because homegirl wore a green bikini for an entire episode. Never mind my questions on comfort and chafing but a woman who is not a size two rocked that bikini all over Long Island and I wanted to give her a high five through my TV screen.

    Obviously, I’ve seen a woman in a bikini before. I’ve even seen a larger woman in a bikini before and you know what my thought is? Get it, girl. Will I be putting my ample ass into a bikini? NO. Because AMPLE. I tell myself that I shouldn’t be in a two piece bathing suit. I don’t have the body for it. I can do yoga every day for the rest of my life and while I will always be able to bend over and place two palms on the floor I will never be lithe and graceful. I look at photos of myself or take a peek in a full-length mirror and say that perhaps I should do all a favor and stay away from anything that shows my mid-section. My body is very apple shaped, everything goes straight to my stomach; no one needs to see all of that.  So, when Ali mentioned Lena Dunham in a green bikini my natural response was this: I AM BUYING ONE.

    And then I had an outer body moment where I was like, um, what? Who said that? And then I add exclamation points and went directly to the Forever 21 website and PURCHASED A BIKINI. And then it arrived and I was still like, this is not happening but we know F21’s return policy, or lack thereof, so I found myself the not-so-proud owner of the bombshell top in neon coral and the retro glam bottoms in black. And then I put that sucker in my bag and brought it to Miami because why waste a perfectly good bathing suit even when you are going to a place known for it’s supremely beautiful people. I don’t know what they put in the water there but no one’s thighs touch in Miami and all the men have muscles and a six pack. As I said; exactly as advertised.

    When you are a woman of plus size the idea of putting your body in a bikini is less than appealing. I had to take a klonopin before putting on my bathing suit because what would the others think. I, a woman who normally doesn’t give a damn as to the opinions of others suddenly found myself reverting to my 11 year old self. The 11 year old who deemed herself fat so she swam in a giant t-shirt. Always with the t-shirts in the pool and on the beach. People ask if I ever wore a two piece as a child and I honestly have no idea because every photo is of me in a giant tee but no pants. That’s how I spent my summers. Then there is the natural comparison to one’s stunning and hot friends. Somewhere, my traveling partner Jumana is reading this and she’s going to be embarrassed that I referred to her as hot but let’s all be real here: She’s like a size 2 and I am like a size 2X and there would be no way on God’s green earth that I would be wearing a bikini next to her.

    I’m sure you’re now wondering what I did with that bikini and all of my pent up fear and anxiety and the body issues that I thought I had long gotten over:

    I wore a bikini. That’s what I did.


    SPOILER ALERT: I survived the ordeal. Though it wasn’t the profound, liberating experience with other women admiring me from afar and giving me a thumb’s up while I strutted my stuff on the beach. I was a woman in a bathing suit on a beach with other women and men in their bathing suits on the beach and we were all trying to forget our daily lives and remember what the sun feels like. I had read and heard about all of these other plus size women - including dear friends - who put on a bikini and have this grand epiphany about their own body image and women and the human experience and so, I thought I’d put on a bikini and discover the meaning of life. Instead I discovered sun burns and that it’s far easier to go to the bathroom when wearing two separate pieces as opposed to a one piece.  I’ve had Tuesday afternoon’s more exciting than wearing a bikini. I wore it, it looked cute, I took it off, the end. And then I purchased another one.

    TL; DR I am fat, I wore a bikini. I went about my day. How mundane this story is of a plus size woman wearing a bikini is possibly the greatest discovery of all.

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    Reader Comments (13)

    You are absolutely beautiful. Thank you!

    April 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

    A) This is awesome and B) you are so right about the peeing. I have all one-pieces. Either you can stretch out the crotch with the side-pull and hope you don't piss yourself or you can try to wriggle back into a wet swimdress. It's hopeless.

    April 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRita Arens

    It looks like the perfect suit for you! I live 2 miles from the Atlantic Ocean and never put on a swimsuit when I go there. I haven't allowed my size 18 self to even look at swimsuits online, much less try them on in a mall dressing room. I know it's a shame to live so close to the beach and not give myself the freedom to enjoy it. . .I deserve to enjoy it. Thanks for inspiring me today!

    April 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDee

    One word: GORGEOUS! Thank you so much for sharing this. I'd much prefer a two-piece for practicality reasons (and to get the tummy a bit tanned) but OMG the fear factor. You inspire me!

    April 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLara K

    Thank you thank you as I struggle with another diet....

    April 17, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterjudy

    This makes me think of that meme that's going around, that ends with, "How to have a bikini body: put a bikini on it." And I have to say, between that bikini and that yoga pose, you are just rockin' it.

    April 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

    You. Are. Awesome.

    And inspiring.

    It's about damn time we stop hiding and let ourselves out into the sun.

    You're the bomb and you're beautiful!

    And the only thing plus size about you is your courage and your awesomeness!

    April 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea

    Love this post and the pic of you in your bikini. I'm getting one for the summer! I think we're all overdue to let go of the fallacy that we must be devoid of cellulite and have a concave belly in order to wear a two-piece. It's time we accept ourselves and others, and move on with our lives!

    April 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterErica

    Well done & well said. A new fan here!

    April 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCarleen

    Love love love this- mundane or not- the issues or non issues around bathing suits are something that I found myself nodding along with.

    April 18, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterelena

    I love this so much Heather. And I have to say, you look voluptuous and womanly and kinda hot in that photo. It's more than the boobs, it's the confidence. You wear it well.

    April 19, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermom101

    I don't know this posture but I think it should be called Heather Is Bad-Ass. You are gorgeous!

    April 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJenny

    Love this post. Sometimes not being noticed can be very liberating!

    July 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca

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