I spent all of today in a bikini. On a boat. On the Aegean. I am so ridiculously happy. It’s hard to describe how relaxed I feel. It’s like I’ve been a square peg trying to fit into a round hole, but finally I’ve found that square hole – AND I DON’T CARE ABOUT IT. I am OWNING being a square peg, no need for any place to fit into. The only important thing is that FINALLY I feel like I fit into my own skin again.
Until today, I’ve had a really hard time showing my shoulders, not to mention my entire body. And we’re in Bodrum, this lovely little resort/fishing/beach town, where everyone is walking about in shorts and tank tops and sarongs and NOT CARING that they’re showing skin. It’s hot out, so fewer clothes are needed. No need to be ashamed of your body.
I understand that for Muslim women, covering yourself isn’t about being ashamed of your own body – it’s about modesty. But for me, an American who believes in modesty, but also believes in shorts during 43 C weather, all that covering up really has made me ashamed of my body. In Iraq, I would get glares if I wore sleeves above my elbows, or skirts above my knees. People would stare at me uneasily if I showed up in public with damp hair. All that negative attention directed toward my body felt, well, personal.
But NOW. Ah, my body is my body. Anyone can look and judge as they may, but it’s my body and I can do amazing things with it. I can swim, and dive off a boat, and wear a tiny swimsuit confidently. Once again I feel comfort, not conflict, in my skin.