Dear Green Bathing Suit Girl
“Dear Green Bathing Suit Girl” is the viral letter that tells us that it doesn’t matter what we’re like. It doesn’t make a difference if we’re characterized by being clever, creative, intelligent, cultured, caring, perseverant, or hardworking. The most important thing is looking pretty, attractive, and modern.
This is why we hide. This is why we hide the marks of our life, our stretch marks, our extra pounds, or our bony frame. This is why we are crafty with our t-shirts and seek to look “prettier” and to Photoshop our reality.
Jessica Gomes has reflected this perfectly in her letter Dear Green Bathing Suit Girl, a text that we’re bringing to you in this space as an invitation to reflect and be your healthy inner voice and that of your children.
The viral letter, “Dear Green Bathing Suit Girl”
Dear green bathing suit girl:
I am the woman lying on the towel beside you. The one who came with a little boy and girl.
First of all, I want to tell you that I am having a really nice time with you and your group of friends, during this little span of time in which our spaces touch one another and your smiles, your “transcendental” conversation, and the music coming from your stereo invade my air.
You know? I freaked out a bit when I realized that I do not know when I went from my life being there where you are and being here where I am: from being the girl to being “the lady next to her,” from being the one who goes out with friends to the one who goes out with her children.
But I am not writing you about any of that. I am writing you because I would like to tell you that I have paid attention to you. I have seen you, and I could not help but to see you.
I saw you be the last one to take off your clothes. I saw you get dressed at the back of the group, surreptitiously, and taking off your t-shirt when you thought nobody was watching you. But I saw you. I wasn’t watching you, but I saw you.
I saw you sit down on your towel in a careful position, covering your stomach with your arms.
I saw you put your hair behind your ear, bowing your head to reach it, maybe so as not to move your arms from your casual, but extremely well calculated position.
I saw you stand up to go get in the water and swallow nervously because you had to wait there, standing, exposed, for your friend, and you had to once again use your arms as a shawl to cover yourself: your stretch marks, your flabbiness, your cellulite.
I saw you weighed down by the fact that you could not cover everything all at once while you were moving away from your group, just as surreptitiously as you did at the beginning when you took off your shirt.
I don’t know your discontent with yourself had something to do with the fact that the friend you were waiting for was spreading her long mane over a back that was only missing some Victoria’s Secret wings. And all the while, you were there staring at the ground. Looking for a hiding place within yourself, from yourself.
And I would like to be able to tell you so many things, dear green bathing suit girl… Maybe because before I was the woman who came with her kids, I was there, on your towel.
I would like to be able to tell you that I have really been on your towel and your friend’s. I have been you and I have been her. And now I am neither of you – or maybe I am still both – so if I could turn back time, I would simply choose to enjoy things instead of worrying – or boasting – about things like which of the two towels, yours or hers, I prefer to be on.
I wish I could tell you that I have seen you carrying a book in your bag, and that whatever stomach you have at sixteen will probably lose its smoothness long before you lose your head.
I would like to be able to tell you that you have a precious smile and that it is a shame that you are so worried about hiding yourself that there is no time left for you to smile.
I would like to be able to tell you that the body that you seem to be ashamed of is beautiful just by virtue of being young. Hell, it is beautiful just for being alive! For being the package and transport of the person you really are and being able to accompany you in everything you do.
I would love to tell you that I wish you could see yourself with the eyes of a thirty-something-year-old woman because maybe then you would realize how much you deserve to be loved, including by yourself.
I would like to be able to tell you that the person who will really love you some day will not love the person who you are despite your body, but will adore your body: every curve, every dimple, every line, every freckle. He will adore the map, unique and precious, that your body draws, and if he does not, if he does not love you that way, then he does not deserve for you to love him.
I would like to be able to tell you that – believe me, believe me, believe me – you are perfect the way you are: sublime in your imperfection.
But what am I going to tell you if I am just the woman beside you?
But you know what? I came here with my daughter. She’s the one in the pink bathing suit, the one playing in the river and covering herself in sand. Today, her only care in the world has been if the water could be very cold.
I cannot tell you anything, dear green bathing suit girl…
But I am going to tell her everything, EVERYTHING.
And I will tell my son everything, EVERYTHING, as well.
Because this is how we all deserve to be loved.
And this is how we should all love.
There is another life beyond the mirror and the anticellulite creams
Our well being is being compromised when we run away from looking at ourselves, from exploring and recognizing ourselves in our own body, our own figure as women. We are not what an anticellulite cream does to us. We are ourselves, loving and knowing every inch of our body, understanding the reason why there is cellulite there or why our ovaries are waging war on us.
We are not safe from ourselves if every time we look at ourselves in the mirror, we scold ourselves for the fat on our thighs, for those hairs that are poking out, for our lack of curves, for our cellulitis, or for our wrinkles. We have to create a safe space inside us for our body, instead of punishing and humiliating it.
We are much more than what we believe we are. The person within us includes much more than our intellect can ever understand.