As an AZ native, I never go to the beach unless we’re traveling out of state. So I took this past beach experience with gratitude and watched with joy as the waves crashed.
I was surrounded by laughter, music, and the cawing of nearby seagulls. There was a group of college boys behind us playing with a handball while a family to our left brought a whole table for board games set up. Sitting in our chair on the shore was beyond relaxing, I was in my happy place.
The only dreaded thing about beach days is swimsuit season.
Every girl’s nightmare is not looking your best while out in the waves where *gasp* cute lifeguard boys will be. Newsflash, cute lifeguard boys are A. there to keep you safe (and not in the Prince Charming way) and B. Usually have girlfriends anyways.
Now, this whole season I’ve been scrolling through Instagram and Twitter seeing girls in skimpy suits posing in the most stereotypical way. But some part of me still wants to be one of those girls. I’m still working on accepting that these girls I see on social media and I are not the same person.
When I look at photos of myself at the beach, I see a short, trying-too-hard wannabe. I know that’s not what I am, but sometimes our teenage self-judging thoughts get the best of ourselves. After I took this picture, I immediately saw and criticized the shorts tan line and the overly-pale skin. Too big of a chest size and too short to be in a bikini.
And though I know I’m better than these thoughts, better than the negativity that haunts the social media feeds, I still see those details.
So my Nearly Normal guide to the beach has now turned into a motivational article, much to my own surprise.
As college comes closer, and my trip to the east coast comes to a close, I’m getting ready for the big changes in my life. Self-acceptance is no exception in this case. I know my self-confidence will only grow as I attend my first month of classes. With the fitness center right next-door and amazing food options in the Barrett dining hall, I’ll be able to extend my experiences and hopefully realize the true beauty of who I am. Because self-acceptance is not nearly as simple as saying “I love myself.” It is so much more. Self-acceptance is knowing who you are and what you believe without caring what others think about your decisions. Self-acceptance is a wonderful feeling I hope to encounter within my first few months at ASU.
So while the days at the beach surrounded by bikini-clad models and lifeguards are endless, the days that we judge ourselves off of what others look and feel are soon coming to an end. Self-acceptance is within our reach, all we have to do is work towards the finish line.
Sunglasses: Banana Republic, Bikini top and bottoms: Dillard’s