Swim suit season. Who else usually dreads the summer months because they just don’t like being seen in a bathing suit, or as my almost two year old niece likes to call it, a “baby soup”? Summer has always been a time in my life where I usually stay covered up in clothes despite the high desert temps because I was completely self-conscious of my body. I talked about this life long struggle & how last summer it didn’t affect me as heavily in this encouraging blog post. But this summer has brought a whole new level of stresses & worry because I am honestly the “biggest” I have ever been in my life. I’ve adjusted to that reality & am okay with it & know that when I’m ready to tackle a lifestyle change, I will. I mean I love my body & I love the truth that it carries me from my day to day & allows me to live my life, literally. But that doesn’t mean I still don’t get self-conscious about how I look, or ya know, get nervous when I’m asked to do a swimsuit photo shoot at Lake Tahoe.
I am confident. I love me. I dress my body & make sure things fit me properly. I wear cool trends like crop tops & palazzo pants, & am unashamed of what I look like. But modeling in a swimsuit? I was nervous beyond belief, but was up for the empowering challenge I knew would ensue the day the shoot finally came. What was I mostly nervous about? One, I knew I would be wearing less clothing than most shoots & would have to bare my arms which I have honestly always hated. And two, I had no clue who the other models in the shoot were & therefore was extremely worried that I would be standing next to girls who would judge me, my looks, & sadly, my “size”.
On the morning of shoot I showed up at the salon where hair & make up were to be done, nervous as hell knowing I was about to meet the other girls who I was supposed to act like I was friends with for the day in order to make the photos look & feel “natural”. I love doing photo shoots & have mentioned that before & I am honestly really comfortable in front of the camera, but this time I had no clue how the day would turn out. I was self-conscious & putting pressure on myself & I was judging other women who I hadn’t even met yet because I was afraid that they were going to judge me. Turns out, the other models were two of my blogger friends, Caitlin & Ashley, & once I realized that all my worries totally went away.
Are Ashley & Caitlin “smaller” than me? Yes. Have they ever judged me or made comments about my “bigger” size? No. They’re my friends. They are strong women who also are self-conscious about parts of their bodies & selves too. They didn’t tear me down, they didn’t eye roll at me trying to “model” at my number 18 size. They love me for me, they love me despite all my worries & concerns. As we modeled in our swimsuits I knew the fact that I was “bigger” size than them, but I didn’t smile less because of it, I wasn’t in fewer pictures because of it, & they didn’t once make me feel like less than because of it.
I’m a girl who was probably considered “plus-size” as a kid by society’s standards, & have turned into a women who never meant to get even curvier & more “plus-size”. But I am me. I love my ass, I like that I am melon-gifted. I have a shape that is, if I’m being honest, quite bangin’. I have a hard time finding clothes to purchase in local boutiques, but I would not trade my body for any other body in the world. I love who I am. I have days where I want to hide it, & I have days where I want to flaunt it. No one should ever make you feel like your body isn’t beautiful & capable of living a great life. I love doing photo shoots, & I will never let the “size” & look of my body deter me away from doing something that fills me with so much joy. I am proud that I am able to think this way.
My friends never judged me for my size that day. I was comfortable in my own skin because I was comfortable with who they were & how they have always made me feel as their friend. Accepted. If the models from that day had happened to be strangers instead of familiar faces, then I still should have not given one single fuck & shown up loving my body for what it is & rocking the shit out of that photo shoot like I know I am able to do. My advice: you need to love your body & surround yourself with those who will do the same.
Friends don’t judge. Real women shouldn’t either. Be open & honest about your body image struggles with the people around you that you can trust. Odds are, they struggle with something similar. No one sees themselves as perfect, & they shouldn’t because no one is perfect. Work on loving yourself. Work on giving yourself & others compliments. Work on showering yourself with grace, which is undeserving love, when you see something in the mirror that is new. And before you know it, no matter what you see looking back at you, you’ll eventually only see the sexy, valued, confident, capable, & worthy woman that you truly are & have always been. I mean, if I hadn’t shown up that day, if I had said no to this photo shoot, if I had let my fear of judgement get the best of me, then I wouldn’t have these badass photo of myself on the beach & I wouldn’t be encouraging you on this topic today.
Always know that you are beautiful no matter what your clothing tag says.
– abbey kay
*brought to you by a girl who thinks the word “plus-size” shouldn’t exist & neither should the terms “bigger” or “smaller” when relating to women’s bodies because every body is unique & measurements shouldn’t be the thing we use to define them
Photographer – AB Photo
Stylist – Wildflower Events