A few years ago it was my good friend Shona's birthday and she wanted to go to a spa for the day and stay over at night. As it was her 30th birthday, I could not say no, but I was dreading it.
The whole process and (to be honest), the thought of walking around wearing a swimsuit, did not appeal at all. I bought a swim dress which eased my nerves a lot and steeled myself for what was ahead. I cared so much about what other people thought back then. I worried that it would ruin the day for me.
It turned out to be a revelation. By the end of a day of relaxing, laying back in the jacuzzi, steam rooms and swimming a few lengths in the pool, my mind was calmer and clearer than it had been for a long time.
Fast forward a few years and I am now a member of my local thermal spa. I started by going a few times with my friend and then one day, I decided to go it alone for the first time. This was a huge thing for me, but my mind became so clear and calm every time I went to the spa, that I knew that I needed to try.
Each step that I accomplished sounds so small, but for me, it was a huge leap. Going on my own in the first place, sitting on my own in the jacuzzi, getting a cocktail, having a meal midday. The first few times were hard, but the calmness in my mind that followed was worth every step.
Do you like my new swimsuit? It is the first swimsuit that I have worn in 15 years. Probably more. I have finally gotten to a place in my life where I accept my anxiety issues and am in a better place in my confidence that I have ever been.
Previously on this blog I have posted many photographs of myself. My dresses that I wear 24/7 do not hide the fact that I am fat, but have always been flattering, cut to diminish size sometimes and whilst always honest, have never left me feeling completely exposed.
Today, here I am. I have a belly, I have wobbly thighs. This is me. Exposed.
I own my body, in every form that it takes. My legs are thinner than they used to be due to walking my puppa, but do I care if my body does not change further? No.
My body is my own and I accept it whether I remain the size I am now forever, or lose weight. My weight is unimportant to me. My self worth, my self confidence and my happiness mean everything. I am happy.
Now I can sit alone and not feel exposed. I can sit and have a meal or a drink and not wonder if people are staring at me. All I care about is that I can go to a place where I can put my feet on the side of the pool and float, looking at the stars in the ceiling above and reach calm. Wipe my anxiety filled head and feel like me again.
This is a massive step for me, showing myself so exposed on this blog; and it makes me happier than you will ever know.
Last shot of the puppa who wanted to be involved in the photographs today and for someone so cute, who was I to deny him?
*This swimsuit was gifted to me by UK Swimwear but all opinions are my own