Summer is officially here, so, naturally, I’m stressing about my complete and utter lack of a bikini body. Instead of looking forward to my weekend at the lake, I’m rummaging through my clothes trying to find the shorts that are just high-waisted enough to cover my muffin top and for the dress that’s so loose you can’t even tell I have boobs—never mind any stomach rolls.
I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t self-conscious about the way I looked; everything was always a little too long, a little too big, a little too soft. I refused to wear clothes any smaller than size large for fear of being hugged in all the wrong places, and I couldn't sit down without awkwardly wrapping my arms around my non-existent six-pack. I didn’t hate my body, but I didn’t smile when I looked at myself in the mirror, either.
I always kind of assumed that was something I’d grow out of—as if I’d reach some magical age where all insecurities would just fall away and I’d stop worrying about the way my thighs looked when I sat down. Or maybe I just figured that once I grew up, I’d be married to someone who'd have to love me whether I had big boobs or not.
Being a twenty-something is hard—but being a twenty-something with body image issues sometimes feels impossible. We are constantly berated with Instagram “models” lying topless on beaches and Victoria Secret models walking around New York City in nothing but a bra and a pair of jeans. In the age of Tinder and first impressions, anything less than DD’s and long blonde hair means swiping right on people you never thought you would just to get a match and an ego boost.
The worst part of it all isn’t even that we’re unhappy—it’s that the reason behind it all is desirability. Why are smart, beautiful, independent women suddenly convinced that they’re fat and ugly just because some frat boy at the bar didn’t check them out as they shimmied past them? Why am I counting down the days to my next serious relationship so that I can stop worrying about what the next boy I bring home is thinking when I take my shirt off? At the end of the day, a naked woman is a naked woman, and that frat boy would be damn lucky to be looking at her topless.