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swimsuit shopping, bathing suit shopping, not caring what other people think

The Moment I Stopped Caring What Other People Think of Me

by Deborah Cruz

It happened sometime this week, I stopped caring about what others think about me. I don’t know why or the exact moment when but maybe there is something to exposure therapy.

I used to hate going to the pool or beach in my bathing suit. It’s always been uncomfortable because I’ve always been uncomfortable in my own skin. I’ve never been truly happy with what I see in the mirror and then suddenly, I believe it was Wednesday … I just stopped giving a f*ck. It was like I just couldn’t be bothered to worry about it any longer and it was like a million-pound weight was lifted off of my shoulders. I could breathe again.

You see, I have daughters; beautiful, smart, funny, amazing daughters and I’ve got to be the example of self-love. I’ve always known this and I’ve given it the old college try but my default is self-deprecating. But those little girls’ eyes they are always watching. I can’t hide how I really feel so I have to change the story.

I’ve always made a conscious effort to change and be free with my body in front of the girls. Even though it is counterintuitive for me but I do it because if they see Mommy (appearing to be) comfortable changing, or dancing around the room in her panties and bra or just normalizing nakedness then I’m showing them that it’s okay. That our body is just the skin we live in, it doesn’t define us (even if in my brain I was scrutinizing every single bend and reach). I was faking it ( and not as good as I’d liked) until I made it.

Then a couple weeks ago we were at BlogHer and the girls came with me and instead of spending my free time drinking in the lounge it was mandatory that I lounge in the pool with my girls and I couldn’t refuse because “I don’t want my friends to see me in a bikini ” because WTF does that teach my girls about female friendships? Especially since they had met so many of my friends and thought they were amazing. So I did it!

Disney, swimsuit shopping, bathing suit shopping, not caring what other people think, summer

I walked all over Disney world in outfits matching shirts my tweens because the oldest wanted to. I let go the thought that Joe some stranger I didn’t know might think I was trying to reclaim my youth because I was dressed like my girls. And I fumbled all over that lazy river with my family, jumping and bending and falling all over that tube and I didn’t care who saw me because my daughters were smiling and laughing with me and every time I caught the Big Guy looking at me, it was with those adoring eyes; like I was the sexiest thing in the pool. In that moment, nothing else mattered. I got over myself. I’ve realized something, I have a tendency to get in my own way a.lot. I never needed a bully, I did just fine all on my own.

That was a 10-day trip of just letting stuff go. Then all this past week, at home, I took the girls to our clubhouse pool and by Wednesday I realized I didn’t care who looked at me or what they thought. I realized, I’m just as awesome as my kids think I am. Slowly, I’ve been finding myself letting go of the expectation of who I think I’m supposed to be and am beginning to love who I am because damn it, I’m pretty awesome.

By yesterday, I was bathing suit shopping with my daughters. The 3 of us together in the dressing room as the Big Guy waited outside the dressing room. We were laughing at how terrible some of the suits looked and looking for the redeeming qualities in others.

swimsuit shopping, bathing suit shopping, not caring what other people think, summer

Honestly, I even tried on one that we affectionately referred to as my “GLOW” outfit, complete with a Hulk Hogan pose and I died laughing doing it. (Sorry, not sharing that pic because the boobs made it look a bit indecent.) There may have even been some boomerang shenanigans in one of my suits. The thing is there were no tears, feeling of disgust or anger. It’s just a bathing suit (a piece of clothing) and it has no power over me. I think this was the first time in my life that I actually knew that.

The Big Guy was astonished when I came out with a smile and a suit. I even sent him pics from the dressing room to get his thoughts. He was expecting the usual dressing room self-loathing funk that usually settles over me like thick fog whenever I go into those little rooms but I just couldn’t be bothered with wasting time on this nonsense. I have memories to make with my girls and too many have already been wasted with me tugging and pulling at my clothes. Too many years have been wasted hiding behind a number. I’m curvy and I kind of love that I can appreciate that now.

swimsuit shopping, bathing suit shopping, not caring what other people think, summer

That’s when I realized, that we’ve just got to own that shit. It’s our body. It’s our story. It doesn’t matter if we feel too big or little, short, tall, fat, skinny, ugly or pretty. None of us is perfect. We all have our struggles with something, physical or mental or both. Life is hard enough without being our own worst critic. We have to get out of our own way to happiness. We all deserve happiness. It starts with acceptance.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to be healthier. That is doable. But healthy doesn’t necessarily mean a certain weight or BMI, those are guidelines. Healthy is a way of life, not a number. It’s crazy, I’ve never questioned how smart I am. I can quantify that with my I.Q. score and degrees and no one can ever take that away from me but somehow, I’ve never felt that same sureness about my body. I’ve always given the power to others and I’m never doing that again.

Wishing to be taller, shorter, built differently, having a different face, or body parts will just serve to make us feel less than because we can’t change who we are. Sure there are surgeries and diets but why? Who are we doing it for? Believe me, I’ve spent 30 years learning this lesson the hard way. The person on the inside, that’s the person who counts. You matter.

I realized something pretty eye-opening recently, being the mom of daughters has given me the gift of self-love and acceptance. You see I’ve always measured myself against other women and someone else’s impossible standards and I always fell short because when you’re pursuing someone else’s dream, you’ll never get there. You’ll never be truly happy.

My daughters have made me realize that I am the only standard of measurement that should count and no one else’s opinion of me should matter because being my best me is all that matters. Hmmm, the students have surpassed the teacher. I taught them that shit and I firmly believe it… for them but now, I believe for me too. The only standard I need to measure is my happiness.

swimsuit shopping, bathing suit shopping, not caring what other people think, summer

My happiness matters and it has nothing to do with how I look in my bikini or how I think other people perceive me (because believe me, I’m way harder on myself than anyone has ever been on me). It’s about feeling good enough and when I see myself reflected in the smiles of my daughters’ eyes… I am fucking amazing to me and nothing else matters!

Now tell me, what’s amazing about you? What is the one thing you love about yourself?

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Doria 2017/07/04 - 11:59 am

I LOVE this!!! I struggled with an eating disorder when I was younger and body dysmorphia my entire life (largely due to my parents’ issues with eating and their own bodies) and I vowed never to push these things onto my guys. I’m trying! I remember reading something once that said something along the lines of, “Your kids won’t remember how you looked that day, just the fact that you were all together” and that stuck with me. It’s easier for me when we travel to care less, but I’m still working on it <3

Franc Ramon 2017/07/04 - 12:09 pm

It’s really important to just be comfortable with who you are and not mind what people may think. Confidence can really be a great equalizer.

Jen @ Lita's World 2017/07/04 - 12:10 pm

Beautiful post!! Thank you for sharing!! Like you, it’s taken me years and years and years to believe these truths myself though I’ve been preaching them to my daughters and friends all this time. It’s awesome when we can actually feel inside what our brain has been expressing externally. Thanks again for sharing and celebrating that moment!!

Christy Maurer 2017/07/04 - 7:46 pm

Your suit is adorable and you rocked it. I feel the same way. I never used to go out without makeup, but I’m so much more comfortable just going out au natural now. Who cares what other people think!

Maurene Cab 2017/07/04 - 11:44 pm

Sounds like a great realization! You can’t really please all people. So, why not be yourself, right?

lauren 2017/07/05 - 9:14 am

Love the suit and the cover up is to die for! I’m not a mom yet, but this reminds me that my job in parenting is to give my kids everything, and I can’t do that when I’m judging myself. I just read a killer book from a coach about how to combat the voice in your head that keeps you down (she named her inner voice Hilda)… I think the book is called Hilda by Coach Jennie.

My Teen Guide 2017/07/05 - 9:43 am

I agree with you. I never donned a bikini before, even when I was still single. I use one piece suits always. I used to have no confidence at all, wearing a swim suit but once I learned to love my body, I can now confidently walk in my swimsuit. I don’t mind the stares. They are just jealous. 🙂

Sarah Bailey 2017/07/05 - 9:51 am

I love this post and one day I hope I can do the same! I must be so freeing to not care and just work it! You look amazing as well 🙂

wicklessusa.com 2017/07/05 - 1:01 pm

What an inspiration message, I applaud you for not caring what other people think. You should be comfortable in your own skin. Your smile shows your confidence.

Jennifer G 2017/07/05 - 1:05 pm

I LOVE that suit. You look fabulous. I am looking for a new suit and you know what, you’re right… I need to stop giving a damn what other people think and get the one I want.

Leigh Anne Borders 2017/07/05 - 5:29 pm

I LOVE this! I have tried to put myself first and not worry what I think others think of me. They are not what matters Kudos to you! You are an inspiration.

Lauren 2017/07/05 - 5:56 pm

This is so true! It’s always important to remember that it only matters what you think of yourself. Great article

Debra Hawkins 2017/07/05 - 7:52 pm

I love this post! For the longest time I was scared to get in the pool with my kids, because I didn’t want to be in a swimsuit, my kids don’t care how I look in a suit. So neither do I!

Neha 2017/07/05 - 11:04 pm

What I think is the only important thing is, just do what you love and be comfortable in what you do and want to do. Never ever mind what others say or think as that only upsets our mind and may come in the way of having fun. You are looking amazing in the suit. So just rock it! 🙂

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Kristen Hewitt 2017/07/07 - 7:35 am

YES! Amen! The SAME thing happened to me a couple of weeks ago. Good for you!

Aimee 2017/07/08 - 11:08 pm

I’m not even sure how I stumbled across your blog but the whole time I was reading this, I was like “Yaaassss!!!” This is exactly what I blog about and how I’ve decided to live my life after years of self loathing, dieting, and being the token “fat girl.” This is such a beautifully written post. Thank you for sharing 🙂

Dori Owen 2017/07/10 - 6:24 pm

Best blog I’ve read in maybe forever. “We’ve got to own our shit” Damn straight! You’re giving me the courage to expose my shaky pudding thighs!!! Love this.

Deborah Cruz 2017/07/11 - 3:27 pm

Thank you for your awesome words! Damn straight we’ve got to own our shit. Girl, show those thighs! They are your thighs and they get you from A to B. They work and that makes them beautiful. Embrace it. Forget about everyone else and just do you!

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