This is my first summer as a “normal” person. I was fat in elementary school and remained fat until I turned thirty. Every year I felt a creeping fear when we moved into the summer, because it meant the swimsuit season was coming. Few things caused me more concern about my body than the idea of wearing a swimsuit in public. The thought of squeezing my fat body into a lycra and walking along the beach was worse for me than killer clowns or nuclear war. I was afraid that people would understand how fat I really was when I saw my beach body. There were many magical thoughts that allowed me to believe that a pair of jeans could hide an extra hundred pounds. (Alert: everyone already knew how fat I was because they have eyes)
As I lost weight, my fears around the swimsuit season began to change. I no longer worried that the modest tankini would highlight my size. Now I was worried that everyone would understand that now I have a Shar Pei body if they see me in the bottoms of my bikini. Unlike hundreds of pounds, loose skin can actually be hidden by clothing. To put on a swimsuit would mean to destroy the illusion that I was just a normal person who did not spoil his skin, becoming a fat third class. I really wanted to hold this illusion.
Then our family trip to the beach occurred. I love the beach. I did not want to deny myself the simple pleasure of playing in the ocean. When vacation came, I put on a modest one-piece suit and got ready, walking along the beach. No one watched. No one indicated. No one said a word about my saggy ass and sagging hips. The terrible reality of my new body was revealed, and the world did not end.
I spent years talking about weight loss because I was afraid of loose skin. I have now lost the equivalent of a small adult woman in fat. There is a lot of loose skin on my body. Some of them can be strategically hidden with high-waisted pants and sleeves, but in swimsuits everything is on display. Although my body is far from perfect, I still think it looks better now than 119 pounds ago. Of course, there are stretch marks and cellulite, but these things were also present when I was 22 years old.
I bought a bikini this year. I will only wear it in my yard, but at least I no longer worry that the world will end if my neighbors see my bare belly. One day, I could feel comfortable enough to wear my bikini around people. But now I'm going to share these photos with a bunch of Internet strangers in the hope that it will help you overcome the fear of losing skin and losing weight.
NSFW: swimsuit photos