Words by Jada Gordon
Illustrations by Katie Herchenroeder
There’s a moment of the year that I, along with other people, seem to dread: the time where Spring is heading to Summer. The heat comes in, clothes become shorter, and limbs are out on display. For those who deal with body image issues, the time where the “summer body” or the “beach body” has to be “snatched” is shoved down people’s throats.
This season becomes a particularly annoying, physically and emotionally taxing time. Trying to find one piece bathing suits that don’t expose too much, sarongs, and cover-ups that actually cover up can be taxing. The inner and outer insecurities that are tied to the pressure for a “perfect summer body” linger all around. It is hard not to become fixated or completely shut down.
With the social media movement of Body Positivity, people are becoming more comfortable in their figures no matter what. A “Summer Body,” people are professing, is any figure. It’s not confined to thin and lean figures that we are conditioned to believe is the standard. Although this body type is included in the movement, it’s praised along with the various shapes that tend to be left out. Body Positivity, as a movement, is simple in its message but complex in the bodies it covers in representation.
Fat bodies, skinny bodies, bodies in physical transformation, disabled bodies, etc. have found a home in the Body Positive movement – with more people stepping out of their comfort zones, finding what they love about themselves inside and out, and loving themselves. So with Summer around the corner and Body Positivity being in the forefront, still not everyone may be completely comfortable with sharing their figure. So the question lays, how does one become or stay Body Positive in the summer?
*This article does not have all of the answers, however, yet it has simple tips and advice to not just survive but thrive in the Summer.*
Doses of self-love
As overused and cliché as the term “self-love” has become, it resonates and is a great remedy for gaining and maintaining confidence. It’s the basis of the Body Positivity movement and should likewise be the basis of anyone looking to be and do better. Confidence comes from the inside and goes outward, so a sound, loving, and confident mind, body, and spirit from within radiates to the outside as well. These things are indeed easier said than done. It takes will-power and effort to execute or find things that make you feel better. However, it’s the little things that sometimes help us love ourselves a little bit more. Things like self-affirmations, mantras, books, being active, etc. If it makes you happy, go for it.
Do and wear what makes you comfortable
Comfortability is the key to anything you do or wear. If you wear things that make you feel comfortable, you will likely be comfortable. Wearing clothes in the summer for a person who does not fit into the “typical” standard was, and often still is, difficult. However, with social media, demands for more inclusive clothes sizes, and more independent clothing brands catering to more body types, there’s a market for all body sizes to thrive, feel, and look good. Therefore, find shorts, crop tops, bathing suits, etc. that you feel your absolute best in – regardless of judgment or outside criticism. Your clothes are for you and the Summer represents the perfect opportunity to show off and wear items that help you be your best you.
Support from loved ones
Having a supportive, understanding, honest, and loving group of people around you is essential. The friends that will love you enough to be constructive and honest but not critical and destructive with your permission is helpful to being Body Positive, especially in the summer. Sometimes we all need a second opinion when we wear or try things on and having a support system that rallies around you will make you feel much better. When you have friends and family that will be courageous with you, it really makes an important difference. Friends, family, and loved ones help shape who we are inside and out. When you have a small or large group of people who love you and want to share this journey with you, it might make you feel a tad bit more confident to flaunt your beach body and love every part of you in the process.