The camera takes a first exposure of your physical self and a second of your energetic overlay.
This weekend just gone, I found myself in a Topshop changing room, with a handful of bikinis littered around me. The harsh lighting highlighted parts of me I'd really rather forget about, the tiny cubicle serving to make me feel like a bit of a lummox.
The swimsuit I'd opted for was a pineapple print two-piece, with a cupped, balconette style top with a tie-up halter neck. I'd gone for my usual top size, and after pulling it on I was most displeased to see that the cups hung off me, with my boobs collected at the bottom of them like two tiny flesh-colored puddles.
It's not news to me that I have small boobs. I know that I'll have a hard time filling anything out these days. But looking at myself, I thought about how it had looked on a model I'd seen, her bounteous mounds spilling over the top. And for just a second, I didn't like myself much.
JUST FOR A SECOND, THOUGH. Because I then thought, "GET A GRIP. THESE ARE YOUR TITS. DEAL WITH IT."
Swimsuit angst rolls around every year, and every year I seem to have a new reason to look a bit crap in one. After losing nearly three stone, my bum is smaller but now flappy. I don't care, I think I look all right -- but then the bikini comes on and suddenly I notice that it doesn't look quite like it did on the mannequin.
The funny thing is, though, that I love my body. My body is my body, and I've always got on with it. I may have not liked my arms before, but they were strong arms that could hug people and lift up my cat. I might have not liked my bum for a bit, until my boyfriend loved it enough for both of us and I realized it must actually be quite decent. I thought I had "sausage fingers" once, but those fingers typed and help me communicate with people all over the interwebz.
Even more than I like my body, I like being naked.
Standing there in that changing room, I realized that I'll never really like myself in a bikini, unless I get one custom made for me. There will probably always be a gap where I can't quite fill out a top, or the bottoms will ride right up my bumcheeks, meaning I have to fish them out every half hour. They get sand all in them. They're annoying. Bikinis are a BALL ACHE.
And so, the most sensible option is to of course become a nudist.
There's no finer feeling in life than running around a beach at midnight with no clothes on. Every holiday we go on, if possible, we always do a sneaky skinny dip. The place we go to in Florida is always really quiet, so we creep out late at night, leg it on to the beach and drop our towels.
Running and running and running with the sand beneath our toes, the sweet breeze kissing our nether regions and laughing laughing laughing and skipping into the sea, giddy like children.
We don't care if we look good or bad, or too fat or too thin or flat chested or flappy-of-bum. We care about the freedom and the feeling that we are not restricted by anything.
I don't feel flat chested, because a bikini isn't telling me that I am. I can't feel my bottom eating up my bikini, prompting me to wonder whether I should have gone for a different size. No self-conscious fiddling with material and wondering if it's sitting right. I'm just me, the bare bones of me, and I like it.
Of course, we only do this at night when we couldn't possibly offend anyone with our bits out. What if we were to actually find a nudist beach and settle in for the day? Would it feel the same?
According to social networking site truenudists.com, there are tons of nudists near where I live. I am intrigued. NUDEDUDE1000 looks interesting. I wonder what it is about being naked that he likes?
I've had a think about what things are more fun to do when you're naked. These are:
- Walking around near your partner
- Eating pizza
- Eating in general
- Watching TV
- Writing xoJane articles
So everything here is pointing to the inevitable truth that I should in fact just bite the bullet and become a naturist.
Have I missed any off? Are you thinking of becoming a nudist too? Or maybe you really are one and want to share your experiences? Do you hate bikini shopping too? COMMENTS BELOW!
Naked all day, every day on Twitter: @Natalie_KateM.