08.23.12 Beauty

Beach, Breasts, Bikini

Beach, Breasts, Bikini

BY Kim Jackson Reeves

It has taken me quite a few years to love my breasts. They developed too early, causing boys to try and grab them in grammar school. They cause back pain. They can never go braless in public. They make it difficult to sleep on my stomach, which is the position I MUST be in, in order to fall asleep. And most recently, they became a real problem while shopping for a sexy bikini to wear to the beach.

Before walking into a boutique that sold nothing but bathing suits, I knew I wanted to try on bikinis. Sure, my confidence level wasn’t exactly at an all-time high, but I had been working out a lot and although my stomach has always been my problem area – I was choosing to embrace it. And apparently expose it!

As I looked through the many racks of two-pieces, a twenty-one year old salesgirl named Becky came over to me with a sad look on her face and said, “Those are for A-B cups, what size bra are you?” When I answered a 34 double D, which I don’t think is THAT big, she said, “Oh, no – you should be looking over there” and motioned with her hands that I could only choose from “here to here.” And those few suits were not, in my opinion, hip or stylish. Awesome.

In my head, I was thinking something like, “Yeah, would you wear this hideous suit that costs $300??” “Probably, if you had monstrous breasts like me, not your perfectly perky, twenty-something breasts.” But I kept looking and Becky stuck to my side. I pointed to a bikini that was pretty nice and she said, “Nope, that doesn’t come in your size.” “How about this one?” This, she said, as she held up another less than desirable suit. “Are there any decent bikinis in this whole damn shop that I can actually squeeze into?” I thought. And then I began to feel insecure about my whole body, not just my breasts. Amazing how that can happen.

As we got to the cool two-piece section, my sister Patricia came into the boutique. I had helped her pick out a suit the day before and she came to return the favor. I started to get excited because after a few more minutes of looking, we found about a dozen bikinis that I really liked and – MIRACLE – actually came in my size.

Would I like the way they looked on me? That remained to be seen. And by “seen,” I mean ME, in the dressing room, in a bikini, in front of this twenty-one year old salesgirl and my 49 year-old sister, who looks amazing in any suit. So, into the dressing room I went.

When I tried on the first bikini, which was hot pink with these sort of orange squiggle stripes (this season’s all about a pop of color, right?), it fit great, BUT I didn’t like it. I said, “It’s not right. The horizontal lines on the top make my breasts look enormous,” to which Becky replied, “Let’s see it.” So, I pulled the curtain open and remained in the stall, waiting for their reactions. Becky immediately said, “You look amazing.” At that point I thought, “This girl must be blind because to me, the lines make me look way bigger than I am.” I tried to convince Becky, but she wasn’t having it. Patricia on the other hand, saw the light and agreed with me that the top was not flattering.

Writing this now, I can’t help but wonder, who really saw me? Did Becky want to make a sale or was she being honest? What a shock to think she really thought I looked good. Or even bigger shock…that I actually DID look good.

When I tried on the next suit – an orange top with gold accents and a black bottom w/similar gold accents – the top was okay, but the bottom was too skimpy. Then, there was the turquoise one, which showed too much side boob. And the orange and turquoise printed suit that looked good, but I wanted to look GREAT. Ugh.

As I tried on the next few suits, something interesting happened; I started making my way out of the stall and into the dressing room hallway to get Patricia and Becky’s opinions. Becky even commented on the fact that I was getting bolder. And I had to agree. I was feeling confident. But out of all the suits I tried on, I really didn’t think any of them looked that much better than the one-piece I already owned. That is until I put on the solid black bikini top with a striped black and off-white bottom. The top fit nicely, making “the girls” look kinda sexy and the bottom covered enough of my ass. As I put it on, I said, “I think this is it.”

When I came out of the stall to show Becky and Patricia, they agreed with me. Hallelujah!! I was thrilled, but at the same time couldn’t help but wonder…how could a piece of clothing make me this crazy?!?!??

Confidence is something that you either have or you don’t. And most often, that confidence develops in childhood. When I was growing up, some of the words that were occasionally used to describe me were “big-boned,” “chubby,” “husky.” But, I look back at photos of myself as a baby, toddler and teen and in my opinion I’m really not overweight. At the time though, I believed those words and they became the weight I carried. In college I was definitely heavier – probably 15 pounds overweight because of all the fried food and beer. Towards the end of college, I started to go to the gym. Once I saw results, I began to feel good about my body.

This crossed over into my adult life. I’ve pretty much been at the same weight and size since I left college. It does take work, though. I walk every day, cycle about 35-40 miles a week and kayak when I can. And I eat a mostly healthy diet. I have discipline, but I’m not maniacal about it. When I want dessert, I eat it.

I’ll never be super skinny and to be honest, I don’t want to be. I like my curves and my full figure. Although my confidence has definitely grown over the years, it’s amazing to me how it only takes one round of bathing suit shopping to put me right back onto that shaky ground.

It’s a daily battle to not allow the critical voice inside my head to dictate how I feel about myself. None of us are perfect, least of all me and we really weren’t made to be. That dimple on my right thigh that won’t go away no matter how many miles I cycle, my bingo arms, my soft tummy, my boney feet and of course my big breasts – it all makes me exactly who I am.

That Saturday, I woke up psyched to go to the beach and yes, I did think of the bikini. I was excited and nervous at the same time to see my husband’s reaction to it. After I showered, shaved every hair in sight and slathered sunblock all over my entire body, I put the suit on and tied those strings around my neck so tightly, that I’m surprised any oxygen got to my head. Those girls were not escaping!

I went downstairs and did a spin for Jon. He was on the phone, but managed to raise his eyebrows and gave me a cheeky smile. When he got off the phone, he said he loved it. I was already feeling good, but his reaction made me feel even better.

We met about twenty or so family members at the beach and I wore that bikini with confidence. It might have taken me a while to remove my cover-up, but eventually I did and I felt GREAT! And that’s all I ever really wanted.

When I look back on the whole exhausting shopping experience, what’s most interesting to me is, I had the same body walking into the boutique as I did walking out, but how I felt about my body went from shaky to self-assured…all because of a silly bikini.

Featured image via Stagshop on Flicker

Producing television was my passion until I decided to pursue a second career in floral design. If I’m not in class at the New York Botanical Garden or writing for A&E Biography, you’ll find me cycling in the green mountains of Vermont, walking on the beach with my dog, Lucy or on my couch hogging the remote from my understanding husband. For me, life’s all about balance.


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