Break the Rules & Wear What You Want

I love clothes. I love shopping. I admit that I enjoy it more now that I am at a weight in which I feel more comfortable. But, there is still one shopping trip that I continue to dread – swimsuit shopping!

Yes, in my part of the world, it’s swimsuit season. I know a lot of women dread shopping for a swimsuit. When you google swimsuit shopping, things that come up are “best slimming swimsuits” and “best tummy control swimsuits.” It’s all about looking “good.” It’s all about body image. And then, it’s all about the struggle – which occurs because of “the rules” or societal pressures to be youthful, thin, unwrinkled, and never flabby.

I’m here to tell you that it’s OK (and actually important) to break the so-called “rules.” It’s also ok if you want to follow the norms, but you should never ever feel ashamed about how you look (…or shame others).

…​it’s OK to break the so-called “rules.”

I was in Target yesterday and there was a mom talking to her very young teenage daughter about how awful swimsuit shopping is. It’s already started for her; sadly, it probably started when she was in elementary school.

Even though I wasn’t happy with my own weight, I never made remarks about it around my daughter. I knew a mom who would constantly comment about her daughter’s weight throughout her entire life and compare her to other girls. It made me so sad (and mad actually).

And, lately, I’ve been hearing a lot of women shaming others, not necessarily a particular person, but other women in general. And, all of this has me pretty fired up.

We beat ourselves up because the “rules” of society that say we have to look a certain way and that prohibits us from being happy with ourselves. Women get down on themselves up for many reasons and weight is oftentimes at the top of the list. It just sucks for us – as women – to buy into that and promote that judgment or shame.

Common Sayings That Shame Women 

Some things that I’ve heard recently (from women) are:

  • Just because it comes in that size doesn’t mean you should wear it.
  •  What about those women at the beach who should NOT be wearing a bikini!?!
  • There are clothes to cover up those bulges ya know.
  • There’s an appropriate way to wear leggings.

Like I said, this stuff gets me fired up. I think that we’re all “brainwashed” to believe that people (mainly women) need to look a certain way, and so that’s where these remarks are coming from.

I don’t believe they are coming from a mean spirit or lack of compassion. But, because we were “trained” to believe these things, we don’t realize that making these statements is insensitive and actually closed-minded.

Plus, people don’t want to step outside of the norms or break the rules, for fear of being “put out of the group.”  

However, my point here is not to judge a woman for wanting to be thin or look a certain way, but to remind us that a person’s weight is personal and it may be based on her choice as well as many other individual factors.

And most of all I want to remind YOU not to judge YOURSELF for being where you are at this particular point in time. Maybe you want to put on some weight, maybe you want to add some muscle tone, maybe you want to lose 50 or 100 pounds, but that is your personal decision to make and your self image is not something that society’s standards should dictate.

Quotes for Inspiration to Break the Rules

I found some really great quotes about body image to share and delve into, to help you and me both, so that we can stop judging ourselves, stop making assumptions about others, relax, and just wear what we want!  

“You are still you whether you are 190 or 90 pounds.” –michellekpoems.tumblr.com

Inside – who you are, how you feel about the world, and how you participate in this world and treat others – is the same. Think about it, if you’ve ever carried more or less weight than you do right now, have your values been different? Have you been a better person because of your size?

“Worthiness does not have prerequisites.”–Brené Brown

This is one of my big truths – your worth doesn’t change with the size of your body or how you look. Everyone – EVERYONE – has the same worth. When you were born, did you come into the world any different from any other human being? Circumstances, situations, incidents, DNA, ethnicity, culture, and gender determine a lot in regards to how our lives turn out, but none of that changes our worth.

“Health is different for every body at a different size.” –Crystal Renn

Just because someone is larger does not mean that she is sitting around all the time eating junk food or going through the drive thru every day.  It also doesn’t mean that she isn’t athletic or doesn’t get in more steps than the woman whose weight hovers around 110. It doesn’t mean that she can’t go to the gym or practice/teach yoga. (Have you seen Jessamyn Stanley???) 

My four aquacise teachers have all been women of different shapes and sizes. Additionally, there are so many things that contribute to a person’s body weight in addition to food and exercise – DNA, illness/disease (mental and physical), medications, ethnicity, culture, etc.

And finally, “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

Don’t let society (media) dictate who you should be – or what you should wear – based on your size or shape or how you look. Do what makes you happy – and most importantly  – be yourself!

be you, wear what you want

Societal Rules We Need to Break

  1. You can’t wear something if you are large, flabby, big-boned, large-breasted, small-breasted, too hairy, over a certain age (you get my point).
  2. You can’t be proud of your body if it’s over a size 8 or a shape that isn’t what’s shown in magazines.
  3. You aren’t healthy if you are over a certain size/BMI.

How Can We Break These Rules?

  • Buy that dress you love in bright red!
  • Wear the leggings!
  • Wear a low cut top – whether you have large breasts or small breasts!
  • Wear a short skirt if it’s that’s what you like!
  • Wear men’s clothing if that’s what you prefer or it fits better!
  • And go ahead – get that super cute 2 piece swimsuit – if you feel good and comfortable, get it and wear it! But if you prefer the swim dress – get that one instead – or get them both! Who says you can’t?

Remember – what others think about you is none of your business – in other words – just don’t give a f&%@!

Those Times When We Should Follow The Rules

Ok, so there are times when I believe you need to follow the rules. Those are times when it could hurt your career (wear professional looking attire to an interview and follow the dress code at work), impact your life negatively (you probably should dress conservatively or “dress up” for a court appearance if you ever have to go before a judge), and in situations where what you wear would be highly offensive to someone’s culture or religion.

You may need to give in sometimes and wear something you wouldn’t normally choose – if doing so would cause an unwanted/unnecessary conflict in a relationship. 

One thing this blog is about is finding a calm within. Being harsh with yourself or judging your body are not really going to get you to that point. A sense of calm can be attained, on the other hand, though loving yourself and appreciating your body – your uniqueness.   

So, if you’re dreading shopping for a swimsuit, remember these quotes and for even more inspiration, look for others and find your favorites. You can and should buy what you like and what makes you feel good. If you think you won’t feel good in anything, consider whether that is because of “societal rules” and think about breaking those rules – for YOU and for OTHER women!  (And, please – watch what you say – it may be shaming others or hindering them from being themselves.)

This post might stir up some feelings in you – let me know what they are. Let’s talk about it!! Leave a comment or send me an email!

~Lisa
    Lisa@MidlifePursuits.com


This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Wow, Lisa … this is so spot on! And amazing timing, as I’m currently working hard to change my self-talk when it comes to my body and appearance. I’m tired of obsessing about my size, and although it’s not easy to change decades-old habits of thought, I’m determined to do just that. The good news is that now that I’m in my fifties, I feel like I have so much more perspective and self-confidence than when I was younger, which is making it easier to question the body messages our culture gives to women. Bravo for speaking out so boldly on this important topic!

    1. Thrilled to hear that you are working on reframing thoughts on size and appearance! It certainly can be hard to change ingrained habits and automatic thoughts. I’ve been doing the same thing and noticing when I go back to those appearance judgments. It’s not good for me, other women, girls, or society! Thank you so much for your comments and sharing your own feelings on this subject!

  2. I wear what makes me feel good and when I look in the mirror my confidence shows. It has taken me many years to get to to this point. I have worked hard to maintain my health so that I can feel good about what I am wearing. Society does not play any role in what I wear. They say you should not wear jeans after 53 – WTF. I will be 57 next month and plan to wear them as long as I am comfortable!

    1. LOL – I 100% agree! Everyone should have this same confidence! I am getting better, but have to admit I still worry what others may think sometimes. Thanks for your comment, Kim!

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