One hot and humid afternoon at the age of 16 I remember riding the school bus home after a steamy day at school. The bus was not air conditioned so us older kids would resort to shoving the windows fully open, to allow the wind to blow across the beads of sweat that would form on our foreheads.
It was this particular afternoon I had a conversation with a girl who had beautifully tanned skin. It was skin I wished I had. I found it incredibly unfair to be given the skin I had and I often wondered why I couldn’t tan easily, like most of the girls at school could.
This particular girl looked at my white as snow legs and then up to my face and said, ‘Bec, you would be so pretty… if you had a tan.’
The comment didn’t make me feel sad because I believed what she said. I knew I would be prettier if I had a tan but I didn’t get a say in the skin I was given.
How I wished I had dark skin. I envied those with darker skin because black/dark skin was gorgeous and hid all types of lumps and bumps. White skin highlighted all of mine.
Unfortunately tan creams just didn’t seem to ‘stick’ to my skin, and when I would apply those gradual tan creams, it was easy to see a misapplication because I was so white. After a few tan cream disasters I resorted to being white, than strutting around with apricot elbows and orange knees.
I eventually got over my skin and just thought ‘it is what it is’, so I would wear the most ugliest rashies and boardshorts to cover my whiteness whenever I’d go to the beach or the pool. My swimming attire protected my skin, but it definitely did not look cool on.
At the end of year break up in year 11 (or it could have been year 10?), a few of the grades were taken to a large community pool to swim and have fun. I sat out of the pool in my free dress clothes because all the girls were in their string bikinis and I had packed my black rashie and black bike pants to cover my ‘horrible’ skin. I was too ashamed to walk out in my ‘swimming attire’ and pulled out the rookie excuse that I wasn’t feeling well and had my period. I remember sitting in the hot sun, watching everyone have fun in the water and felt sorry for myself for not being ‘pretty enough’ for the pool.
Over the years my struggle to go to the beach and not worry about what people thought of my skin has been hard to get over. I’d hate church camps that involved swimming. I missed out on a lot of swimming fun because of how I viewed my skin and the way I looked in togs.
I’m not sure when my attitude towards my skin and body changed. Maybe when I realized I didn’t want to miss out anymore? And being married to a man who adores my white skin and voluptuous curves. This has definitely helped me get over my self-conscious issues.
So with that history in mind, sharing full length pictures of myself in swimsuits on Instagram and Facebook was probably a ballsy idea, but it was another step forward for me to accept my body and skin. I wanted to share the pictures to help other women to embrace the skin and body they’re in.
I was asked to review Sirens Ship the Shop service and I happily accepted my mission because I was in need of new swimwear. My body shape has changed dramatically after having three babies and my skin is no longer white and smooth all over, it’s covered in tiger stripes and creamy custard. I’m no longer a size 12 but a size 16.
For $199 plus shipping Sirens Ship the Shop service allows you to choose 5 swimsuits. You get sent the 5 swimsuits to try on at home and keep the one you love the most and send the other 4 suits back. Or if none suit you or you need a different size you can exchange for the right suit or get a refund. This service is fabulous for busy mums, like myself, who find it hard to go shopping for swimwear with their kids in tow.
I couldn’t choose between the swimsuits. I tossed between two and then Jacob threw a spanner in the works by telling me he liked the other two suits.
So I resorted to social media and shared my photos with the community that follow me online, to get a decision on which swimsuit to keep.
The fifth swim suit was a bikini that did me no favours, so I’m only showing the 4 suits that were in contention. I’m wearing a size 16 in all the swimsuits shown.
The first swimsuit I tried on was this Lizzie Parisian Stripe swimsuit with tummy control. I thought that this would be the one I would keep, except I wasn’t sure about the straps and the outer line did show my bumps.
The second swimsuit was the Grace French Navy Polka Dot. I liked it but I felt the polka dot was too overwhelming on me.
The third swimsuit was the Grace in the Lights of Vegas print and I loved it as soon as I put it on.
The fourth swimsuit was the Vivian Two Piece Tankini which was really tight around the tummy area, but I really liked the feminine frill.
In the end, the Grace in Lights of Vegas got the most votes and I ended up keeping it, which I will wear to the beach this week.
After having three babies and losing time worrying about my white skin and crying over my stretch marks, I’ve come to accept my skin as beautiful and needs to be shown off no matter what size or colour I am.
Life is incredibly short and often I’ve worried too much about what others think. I’ve done it for so long, and the only person it hurt was myself because I ended up missing out.
The thing is most people don’t care what you look like on the beach and even if they do, you’re most likely never going to see them again.
Buying good quality swimwear like Sirens (which has been designed to fit and flatter all types of women’s bodies, both curvy and petite) is the first step to accepting how you look in swimwear. If you’re in ill-fitting swimwear, you’ve lost the battle before you’ve started.
I’m really excited by my new swimsuit and can’t wait to join Jacob and the girls in the pool and on the beach this summer.
I’m making up for lost time now and nothing is going to stop me strutting out on the beach in my new Sirens swimsuit.
How do you feel in your body? Do you tan really well or do you have white skin that burns like me?
BONUS: All Styled by Bec readers can receive free shipping by typing styledbybec at checkout. The free shipping finishes on December 15.
Disclaimer: I was gifted this swimsuit as part of the review and trial of the Ship the Shop service. All opinions are my own and this is the only way I will buy my swimwear from now on.