By Cheryl Mattox Berry
The beach, where bodies are on full display, is one of the few places where women don’t seem to be concerned about how their body looks or who’s looking at them. Who would’ve thought that fear of body-shaming doesn’t apply to bodies on the beach.
I had that epiphany while biking my favorite route on Hollywood Beach. I saw mature women in skimpy bikinis and revealing two-piece suits sashaying along the broad walk, sitting in cafes or soaking up some rays on the sand. No one bothered to cover surgical scars, bulging bellies, pancake butts and sagging boobs.
All the angst that women have about their bodies is apparently left behind when sun-worshippers hit the beach. Funny how we spend hours searching for the perfect bathing suit and coverup to hide our flaws, then get to the beach and see that women with just as many – if not more – imperfections are exposing more flesh.
When I moved to Florida in 1988, I was shocked to see retired French Canadian women wearing swim suits that I thought were more appropriate for younger women with tighter bodies. Now that I’m of a certain age, I’ve become one of them. I don’t care what other people think of my body.
Don’t get me wrong. I still work out, watch my calories and try to stay in good shape. However, I no longer agonize over not being at a certain number on the scale or not wearing a certain size.
I’m finally comfortable in this body.
If someone is at the beach criticizing how I look, she’s missing the whole point of being there, which is to get away from it all, including the expectation of others.
“Free your mind… and your ass will follow.” – George Clinton, singer