Confession time: I haven't owned a bathing suit since high school...maybe middle school. When I did own one, I constantly covered myself with t-shirts and sometimes basketball shorts at the pool and beach because I was so self-conscious about my body. Fast forward to a few weeks ago when I suddenly realized I didn't own a bathing suit and I'd be leaving for Haiti in less that a week. Instead of making time to buy a suit, I procrastinated until the day before I left, on a two show day, to try and rush and find one. Apparently no one carries swimsuits during the off season except for Nordstrom and Target. I bought a suit from Nordstrom that was really cute, but it cost me half my soul, so my mom (God bless her) graciously bought a whole bunch of options from Target for me to choose from while I was at the theatre. Honestly, I didn't like the way any of them looked, but I chose this one piece because it covered me up the most and made me the least self-conscious.
Now fast forward to last week. I took a boat to the beautiful Amiga Island in Haiti. After taking this picture I walked the length of the island a second time (it's a very small island) and procrastinated getting into the water, because I didn't want to take my wrap off. I finally said to myself, "what are you afraid of? It's a body Lauren. A freakin' body! Nobody cares about what you look like and if they do, so what?!?? Get in the damn water!" And I did. And it was great. I don't remember the last time I've been swimming. I can only swim to save my life so wading equates to swimming in this case, but I'm angry that I let my insecurities stop me from swimming for so long.
In these pictures I still have on my wrap and I'm in a one piece, but it's a step in the right direction. Honestly, I didn't want to post pictures, because I didn't like the way my body looked. I preach body positivity ALL the time, but it's still something I struggle with daily. The only way to overcome it is to confront it head on, so that's what I'm doing. And before you jump on me and tell me I'm skinny (people do it all the time), I'm aware that I have no hips and long legs, but I hold weight in my abdominal area. I have the coveted apple shape, so a few extra pounds go a long way on my belly. Hence why I stray away from bikinis and anything that hugs my stomach. But that's beyond the point! Body image insecurities come in all shapes and sizes. My weight has fluctuated my entire life and there's never been a time when I was 100% comfortable with my body, but I'm working towards loving my body more every day.
The point of it all is I wore a bathing suit in public and I'm proud of myself. It may not seem like a big deal to some, but it's a huge deal for me considering the fact that I haven't worn a swimsuit since high school...maybe middle school. I plan to go swimsuit shopping soon, because I will definitely be spending more time at the beach and at the pool. I've really been robbing myself of something I thoroughly enjoy for too many years.
What insecurities are holding you back from doing what you enjoy? I challenge you to tackle them head on. Earlier this year I posted a blog entitled "Do It Afraid," and I'd like to make that the theme for 2017! Whether it's an insecurity holding you back from living your life or fear stopping you from making a bold career move or trying something new, I challenge you to #doitafraid in 2017. A lot of times we turn small insecurities into huge monsters in our heads that are scaring us from moving forward. Let's break down those walls that are holding us back and live the lives we deserve to live! I hope your 2016 was filled with growth, discoveries, and love, and I pray that 2017 brings you progress and peace. Blessings my friends, and I'll talk to you soon. Much love.
I'm Lauren, aka Just Du Pree, and I want to thank you for reading. This is a space where I share my very personal journey healing from eczema and topical steroid withdrawal (among other things), life lessons I've learned along the way, and occasionally the thoughts of an awkward Black girl (no Issa Rae). I'm a performer and filmmaker, so if you feel so inclined, pop over here to see what goes on in my mind on the regular. If you like what you see, you can stay up to date with my work here. Much love, friends!