Still, he had never seen what I actually looked like before. For a long time, I kept the pictures from back then hidden in my desk like a stash of crack. The first time he saw one, it was an accident during a dinner date.
"Whoa! Is this you?!" he screeched in disbelief, staring at my debit card. I had offered to pay for our sushi that evening and slipped my check card to the server before I scooted off to the ladies room. I came back and the server had returned my card. A spicy tuna roll turned in my stomach when I realized my double-chinned face was pictured in the corner of the card. No make-up, a sloppy ponytail and a greasy grin, my boyfriend stared at the picture in shock.
"Yep, that's me. I used to be... big."
I was mortified, but later I showed him a few more pictures. In every case, his reply was always the same: "You're beautiful."
Each day I strove to see myself as he sees me, but there were some days I just didn't, especially when they involved trying on bikinis. I was incredibly nervous about being naked on my honeymoon, but I realized I had to accept my figure or I would never enjoy sex.
As I tried on bikinis that day in the dressing room, at first I thought the enemy was my floppy breasts and scarred tummy. But then I realized that the real enemy was the voice that tried to convince me that those things kept me from being beautiful and sexy. It's the voice that speaks to us in our weakest moments as women, telling us that until we look perfect, we'll never look good enough. Lingerie Men Love
I got myself dressed, grabbed the twelve bikinis on their hangers and walked out of the stall.
"How did they work out?" Pamela asked.
"They just didn't fit right," I said as I handed them to the clerk.
So, no, I did not take home a bikini that day. Part of me wanted to sulk and complain that my belly couldn't be bared on the beach. But as I walked away from the fitting rooms with my best friend, I did something I should have done back in fourth grade when I hated my furry eyebrows: I stood up to my enemy.