Because I don’t want you to suffer the near fate that I did (my brain melting over and leaking out of my ears) I’ve pulled out some of the key points of the article below to give you the gist. (You can read the article in it’s entirety here.)
“I am writing to share the perspective of a woman who is fighting for her marriage. And for that reason, I want to tell you that I don’t need my husband to see your boobs…I don’t blame you for being confident enough to let the world see how good you look in front of the waves with your coozie and ballcap and barely anything else. But I want to tell you that it’s a stumbling block in our marriage.”
“When your bare shoulders and stretchmark-less bellies and tanned legs pop up, I not only worry if my husband will linger over your picture. I worry how he will compare me to you. As I wrap myself into his arms at night I wonder if he is seeing you there instead of my mess of a body left over from the pregnancy…I wonder if he wishes I looked more like you than who I really am. And then the insecurity monster comes back to bite at our relationship again…me, begging for affirmation, and him tiring from saying the same thing over and over.”
But she’s not judging you.
The first time I was forwarded this message I was angry. As a woman who can have cleavage in a turtleneck, I’m not immune from the glaring wives and wandering eyes. And that’s not. my. fault. I might have worded a quick response of perhaps we should all result to footie pajama pictures and burkahs on the beach, so that we can shield your husband’s eyes from things like cleavage and thighs. I was venting. (And apparently turning into quite the rhyming machine.)
But once I looked beyond my own righteous indignation, I saw the sad, shallow, crux of the issue. This woman, her body insecurities, (despite her husband’s apparent countless attempts at affirmations) and her projections on you, the hapless bystander in a string bikini. And to a point, I get it. I’ve compared myself to the barely there bikini wearers as I rock a belly covering and booby hoisting one piece. I’ve pondered the effect the hotdogs and cold beers might have on my lake physique. (And I’ve chosen the hotdog nearly every time.) We’ve all been there girl.
But here’s the thing…
You’re a beautiful woman Lauren. Just the way you are.
But by telling others to cover up, chastising women for being proud of the bodies they’re in no matter what they look like, and by placing the oneness on others for your own insecurities doesn’t solve your problem. Because the problem isn’t within the other women. It isn’t within your husband. The problem, honey, is inside that sweet little noggin of yours.
Of course, women can be tough on one another, but the truth is that we tend to be the harshest critics on ourselves. When I look at your photos, Lauren, I don’t see a “mess of a body.” I see a beautiful, healthy woman. A woman whose body shows the marking of being strong, a body that’s brought another life into the world. And that’s awesome. And beautiful. And something to be proud of.
So instead of seeking out the affirmations of others, worry about loving yourself, and loving the body that you have. Because then it won’t matter if you see another woman in a bathing suit, or if your husband is a human male and catches a glimpse of Instagram cleavage. Because your husband married you. Clearly he thinks you’re pretty awesome. It’s just time to see that in yourself.