The other day I was sitting on a bus on the way home, and as I opened up my filofax to see what time Boo needed to be at the groomers, the woman next to me stopped her phone call to whack me on the shoulder to tell me, and everyone else on the bus, how lucky I was to be going to Barbados this weekend.
Kinda rude actually, but something so, so true. I am super duper lucky and spent all week beside myself with excitement, googling photos of the beach, counting down the minutes and packing and then re-packing my suitcase.
But, I have also had the inevitable waves of panic that come with being a woman: am I 'beach body ready?'. And in a word, the answer is no.
Because as good as my intentions were, and as hard as I tried over the last few weeks to get in shape, pizza just seemed more appealing and in recent days the thought that has been an overwhelming presence has been along the lines of 'what's the bloody point?'
My body is my body, I can't change it, so rather than stressing about it, I'd probably do better to accept and embrace it. Right?
Easier said than done probably. All of my summer clothes have been dug up and I spent last week manically trying to pull my body out of it's winter hibernation period. I haven't so much as seen the sun in the last six months and really, when it's cold outside, removing body hair just seems ridiculous; why remove free insulation?
I went out for lunch with a couple of friends for lunch on Thursday and, despite getting on a flight to bikini land in less than 24 hours, I did what I should have been doing all along and put the guilt and panic aside to order the biggest burger that I could find, on the logic that no, I'm not beach body ready, but I probably never will be and I'm putting my body onto a beach tomorrow whether it's ready or not.
And as I sit right now, outside my hotel room at 6am (thanks jet lag) in a bikini, I couldn't be happier.
Because this is the first year that I have come on a summer holiday, genuinely relaxed in my own body, not caring that I wobble, that things bulge, that you can see the second helping of chips that Franks and I helped ourselves to. I am instead stupidly grateful for my holiday and plan on enjoying it with with stomach rolls ET AL.
We spend SO much time freaking out about this. Everywhere we look, companies are asking us questions along the lines of 'are you beach body ready' and we end up in a terribly tizz.
But really. What is beach body ready? What is a bikini body? Well. As far as I can see, it's a body in a beach, on a bikini. And I've got me one of those. So everything else is totally rendered irrelevant.
Whatever shape your body is, you'd do well to remember this too. As we come into summer, don't let yourself fall into the trap of self-hatred, forced on us by the media, you're NOT too fat for a crop-top, yes, somethings really do taste as good as skinny feels (I think... I've never been skinny) and yes, I can tell you, with absolute certainty, that you ARE beach body ready.
And writing this, I feel empowered. I feel totally confident for the first time ever because I am so happy to show my insecurities where to stick it. For the first time in my entire life I am sitting, right now, in JUST a bikini, with last night's roast pork proudly sitting between my bikini top and bottoms.
So if you're planning a trip in the next few weeks and pondering what green salad to order next, stop right there. You're perfect just the way you are and I reckon the beach deserves to see you in all of your glory... don't deny it that.