Wear the Damn Suit

swimsuitI woke up feeling bold.

Its summertime. Each day after another is a record-breaking temperature. My point is, it’s hot and I have a 4-year-old and he wanted to go to the beach. So we compromised and went to the beach.

This took some planning. Not just the logistics of “What do I need?,” “Which beach should I go to?,” or “How would I handle solo-ing the beach with a wild man?” It was more me having to give myself the pep-talk of a lifetime… or so it felt.

In case you missed it, I struggle with my body image. I struggle so badly that I don’t even want to be in pictures, just about ever. It takes a pep talk, my Lexapro, and maybe liquid courage to help. But here I had my 4-year-old, who LOVES to be outside and has been a water baby since day one. We don’t have a pool (and neither does my neighborhood), and we usually reserve our boat trips for the weekend. However, he needed to run around, and I needed a reason to put my confidence to the flame (thanks, April).

The beach. The dreaded beach. I live in St. Augustine where everyone knows everyone (or at least, used to). I bought a one-piece swimsuit that made me feel covered where it mattered, but it was uncomfortable in others. I had a two-piece tucked away in my drawer, toward the back. I made a mental note of where it was in case I ever needed or wanted it ever again.

I took the two-piece out the night before and I stared at it for what felt like hours. Have you ever seen a movie with a very intense interrogation scene? That was me with this stupid bathing suit. I knew I wouldn’t put it on and look like a young Britney Spears, but I at least didn’t want to look like the Michelin Man trying to rock a two-piece.

After a lot of back and forth, I sat down on my couch in silence, and I started to let my mind wander. It is hard being my size. Although I’ve lost about 20 pounds over the last six months, it doesn’t always feel like I have. That progress is sometimes hard to actually SEE when you have body image issues like me. I continued to fight my mind… until it hit me.

I was being selfish. At this moment, I was being selfish. I was denying my son a day of fun in the sun with crashing waves and sandcastles because of my own self-confidence, or lack thereof. It’s important to feel comfortable in the skin you’re in, but at this moment, it was even more important to create memories with my son. After all, how many summers do we have with our children? If you do it right, and make time for them, doing what they want to do, then you’ll have countless summers with them. This was an opportunity for me to overcome my own (albeit deep-rooted) issues, to do something special with my son. And we had an absolute blast.

*Cue the movie about emotions and the “core memory” unlocked.*

I never thought I would be writing this. Never. If you’ve ever read anything I’ve written, you would know that I am the least confident person in the world. I have severe body image issues, a lack of confidence, and a fear of judgment. I’ve written quite a few articles about it, in case you need to catch up.

But you see, today was different. I woke up feeling bold. So wear the damn suit. Your kids and your mind will thank you.

Brittany Hutto was born and raised in a small (but fast-growing) town in Florida. She married her high school sweetheart and is the mother to the most kindhearted and adventurous little boy named Mark. She earned her bachelor’s degree at the University of North Florida where she majored in Public Health and Health Education. She served her community during her time working with underserved populations. After a complex pregnancy, she and her husband welcomed Mark to the world at 27 weeks and 4 days. She stepped away from her career to become a stay-at-home mom so that she could take her son to his many specialist appointments, therapies, and surgeries. She works tirelessly to ensure her son is happy, thriving, and meeting every milestone. Brittany enjoys many activities with her family. In her free time, you may find her reading a good book, spending time with her family out on the boat, DIY projects, and giving back to the local NICU. She currently manages her own blog which invites you to come along on her and her son’s journey from complex pregnancy, to the NICU, and every diagnosis and surgery in between. Brittany also manages a program called Mark’s Mission which gives back to local NICUs. She is an advocate for NICU support and research and is a current student pursuing her Master of Public Administration with concentrations in Nonprofit Management and Health Care Administration at the University of North Florida. Her dream is to establish Make Your Mark as a non-profit organization to give back to more local NICUs and serve as a resource for local parents with children who have superpowers.


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