Most of the time, I’m a pretty confident girl. Like many people, I’d like my belly to be flatter, my arms to be slimmer, and my thighs to not rub and chafe when I run, but it’s not all that often that I feel terribly intimidated. I mean, I’m active, (I think) I’m funny, and I tend to get along with the majority of the people I meet. What’s there to be uncomfortable about?
Well, apparently, when you put me in a bikini around a beach full of gorgeous female pro beach volleyball players who are wearing bikinis half the size of mine, I get a little intimidated.
Okay, a lot intimidated.
Last month, I attended the Corona Light Wide Open beach volleyball tournament, and since my husband works for Oakley (a sponsor of the tournament and some of the players), we ended up spending more time with some of the pros than we normally would have. It kills me to say that my initial reaction wasn’t one of awe that these men and women were so accomplished at their sport (although I totally came around to that after watching them play). My reaction was, “Whoa, I can’t wear a bikini around them. I’ll look ridiculous.”
And yes, that is coming from someone who trained her ass off to accomplish a major race just a couple of months ago. Someone who’s a huge believer in feeling good in your own body. Someone who encourages other women she meets to love their bodies and be proud of themselves. Apparently, that’s harder to do when surrounded by women who are over 6 feet tall, strikingly beautiful and ridiculously, amazingly fit. Like, their thighs never, ever touched. Who knew?
Fortunately, these women were as fabulous to chat with as they were to look at, and before long, I was chatting with one of the players, Jess Gysin (yes, that’s her in the picture), about nutrition. She’d taken the year before off to rehab her knee and realized how much she’d relied on her training to keep her in shape. I’m pretty sure my jaw dropped to the sand because, well, the grass is always greener, you know? I guess I assumed that someone who looked like her and wore a bikini for her job would have it all figured out. But nope, beach volleyball players, at least the ones I talked to, are human, too.
Bottom line—this was a great wake-up call for me for a few reasons. First, it doesn’t matter if you’re a size 2 or 12 or 22—if you love yourself, other people are going to like you, too. I don’t think any of my pals would consider me a better friend if I had a smaller waist. And also, people like the athletes I met—hi Jess and Christal!—well, they work and work and work for those bodies, and even though their job is to be in the best shape possible, they’re still figuring things out.
Do you find that your self-confidence wavers depending on the situation? What do you do about it? —Kristen