Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Bikini Kill

To mark the hottest December day in 11 years, it's time to face one of my own personal demons.
I've had a two decade-long hate-hate relationship with my belly.
And at age 44, I'm calling "last orders please" on this body-part hatred.
Time for a bikini shoot.

Last time the mercury hit 39 degrees in the month of December, was 2001.
Number 3 Son was a bouncing nine-month-old scallywag and The Stylist was several weeks off becoming a human bean.
It's been more than 20 years since my tum's seen the light of day.
Four HUGE babies resulted in weird stretched-out tummy skin, a distorted belly button and a phobia about showing off my torso.
I show my belly off to the kids who, like most children, have always been fascinated by any kind of body "weirdness", before they recoil in horror.


First-time belly exposure calls for a killer 1970s bikini.


Hell, I can't believe this is happening.
I'm actually showing you the part of my body I fear the most.
I know I'm not the only one to "fear" their body parts.
It's familiar terrain; the earliest I can remember the feeling was at age 13.


I have stretch marks, pocked and stretched-out skin, a distended belly button and other "flaws".
But there is an opposing point of view.
I also have beautiful, funny, joyful, healthy children who are encouraged to explore their talents and be fearless yet cautious.
I will always have someone to cuddle until the day I die.
They will always have a mama who loves them despite their flaws.
No BODY is perfect.





It's so easy for us fling positive phrases about like "love your body" or "it's the beauty inside that counts".
But concerns about our body are fuelled by edited images, before-and-after celebrity and diet pics.
They creep in and viciously chip away at our self-confidence.
Today's revelation is hopefully one small step for womankind:).



Silk scarf, bracelet, vintage lace slip and 1970s bikini - thrifted
Necklace - gifted by Helga "Hot Body" von Trollop
Earrings and shades - Etsy
Arse-squeezes all round me-thinks!
Desiree xoxo

79 comments:

trish donovan said...

What an inspiration. Thank you for your honesty and bravery. Our kids don't care what our tummies look like. They teach us a lot that way.

Lynne DeVenny said...

Virtual standing ovation and a BIG GO GURL! I love that you did this post, and I still think you are perfect. You are such a stunning beauty, and so fierce and fearless in your beauty, that I actually feel relieved that you'd be nervous about anything on your awesome body. I have the exact same tummy almost (yay me I have something like Desiree!) but only one human ever inside, although fate delivered another small human to my keeping years later.

I haven't worn a bikini since right before I was pregnant, and every two piece bathing suit I've worn since covers my belly. I'll be 50 in a minute and sometimes think, "No one wants to see THIS in a bathing suit." But heck, maybe they need to. Or I need to. If you start a bikini meme, I'm in trouble because it's winter here...lol.

Misfits Vintage said...

GORGEOUS BEAUTIFUL STUNNING EXQUISITE AMAZING MARVELLOUS SPLENDIFEROUS WONDERFUL PERFECTION!!!!!!!

The bikini is KILLER and SO ARE YOU!

Sarah xxx

Joanna said...

Good for you!!! Kudos on your awesome body:))

Helga! said...

ARSE SQUEEZES AND A BIG TONGUEY FOR YOU,MY DARLING!!!
Rock the hell on! A body is beautiful for what it is capable of! You are one hot,sexacious broad,o YEAH! Digging that bikini,baby! And your funky sunnies,AND your funky,clever,productive,lucious BOD!
Love and Lustipops!
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

MistressCatgirl said...

Props to you and your curvacious body. You are such an inspiration. You dress how you want ans love every minute of it. I wish I had an inkling of that in me.

Forest City Fashionista said...

I am sending you a huge hug and an arse squeeze for this awesome post. We all have parts of our body that we dislike (I am very self-conscious of having no butt or hips) but better to embrace it and face it. I think you're beautiful, as is that tummy that sheltered your fabulous kids for 9 months. Rock on in your bikini, sweetie!

Kittee Bee Berns said...

I think you look killer.
xo
kittee

List Addict said...

Good on you! You look awesome. It is so true that doctored and unrealistic images become our conscious and unconscious dictators. And yet I find it interesting, in this comment-heavy virtual world, how many people continue to say that real, even, eek, god forbid, not perfect bodies are more beautiful. Look at comments on Pinterest for Marilyn Monroe. There is no way she would make a modern 'beauty'. Are we aiming for what we don't even think is beautiful just because we see it so ... I'll stop talking. You're a star!!!

Bethany said...

Aw, you're beautiful. :)

And you have the best legs ever! I swear!

Frannie Pantz said...

You are seriously one of the coolest chicks and bad ass mamas on the planet right now. You are beautiful and funny and have a kind soul. This post is amazing. I've always been self conscious about my itty bitty chest. And my big weird feet. I think this is the best post I've read in a while. Thanks desirae!

Jana Faith said...

You are fantastic! I seriously love the bikini, the little skirty thing you wore over it, the scarf - your amazing attitude! Thanks for being a brave, bold inspiration.

The Style Crone said...

Absolutely beautiful in every way! You have inspired me, as usual, and I admire you for sharing your personal thoughts and feelings regarding body part 'fear.' Thanks for taking this step for womankind!

Willow said...

You are looking absolutely fabulous in that bikini.

I definitely agree with you about the idea of beauty, and the body image that edited images give us.

This was a great post and I really enjoyed reading it.

Punk Glam Queen http://ideefixemon.blogspot.com said...

Smoking hot sister! XXX

Trees said...

You look amazing - to hell with perfect! Rock on!!

Frocktasia said...

Dearest Desiree,
I don't think it is 'one small step for womankind'I think it's a bold and brave one you've just taken for all of us...you keep on paving the way and being tremendously inspiring, THANK YOU!
Reading your post I'm thinking to myself...someone to cuddle for the rest of my life or a potentially smooth skinned tummy...no contest really, eh?!
No Body is "perfect" that is why 'Vogue' and 'Elle' et al have an army of image editors to hand, creating pure fantasy with their airbrushing wands.
When I was younger I applied a lot of importance to surface gloss but after befriending a wonderful woman who had been disfigured in a car crash and spending a lot of time with her my personal definition of words like 'beautiful' and 'perfect' changed forever and I started to look beyond the superficial appearance of people and I'm forever thankful to her for opening my eyes.
I love this post and I love you, you are PERFECT!
Lot's of love,
Jennie...xXx

ParisGrrl said...

I would take you over a photoshopped model any day. You rock, and your purple bikini does too!

Vintage Bird Girl said...

I must admit I have tummy issues too. It's probably my least favourite bit, but who cares really. My 'Capalaba Roll' is proof that I LOVE my food, & I won't deny myself just to have a flatter belly! You look amazing, & I wouldn't even notice any belly imperfections until you point them out. Xx

pastcaring said...

Oh Desiree, you wonderful woman. You look as beautiful as you always do in that fabularse lilac 70s bikini. Cool and stylish and sexy and fun. That's you.
And your tum is part of you, isn't it, in all its glorious ability to grow babies. Most of us have bits of our body we like less than others, and it has to be OK to acknowledge that, otherwise we aren't being truthful. It's also true to say that much of the time, when someone says they hate their belly/arse/legs/nose/whatever, the rest of us look on and wonder what they are making a fuss about, it looks OK to us! I am as guilty of it as anyone, and it takes a deep breath and courage and humour to get over it.
Thank you for being so fucking fabulous! Those human beans you grew have one great mama! xxxx

edie pop said...

Thank you for being such an inspiration for all us: you are gorgeous,wonderful and amazing!!
I love that our beauty is a sort of book each one with a different story to tell, tattoos, stretchmarks or wrinkles are just the words of our own story.
I like your liliac bikini and you!
Love xxxxx

two squirrels said...

Oh Desiree your tummy is the beautiful canvas that was left after creating the amazing master pieces that are your wonderful children.
You truly are one of the most inspiration and gorgeous ladies ever.
Thank you so much for sharing.
Sending a very big squirrel hug and love from V

Melanie said...

I couldn't put it better than two squirrels above, so I shall just say you are a beautiful inspiration xxxx

Anne @ The Frump Factor said...

Hoorah! How I love the idea of photographing and posting that which we fear most. Even though I'm not quite ready to do this myself, I'm going to bask in the happy feeling that you've given me with this post. You look fantastic, too.

Vix said...

Good for you. You look brilliant and who doesn't have a few battle scars?
When I'm wearing a bikini I'm having too good a time to give a toss about worrying about what anyone else looks like in their's. xxx

tralala said...

I love you D.
You're BETTER than perfect xxx

Miss Magpie said...

All I want to do is hit the LIKE button on this post!

Vintage Coconut said...

Des you are Gorgeous!
I too would gladly give up a perfect tummy ANY day over the love and happiness a child can bring. (Obviously I plan to do so) Although I am not trading in a perfect tummy mine has some excess taco fat! *LOL*
My Mom once told me that having kids was the best thing she ever did and she would never trade it for the world. (She wears a bikini proudly at 49)She said she knew if she never had kids she would end up being a lonely old women. And that we (My Brother and I) keep her and my Dad young!

You are awesome and look hot in your killer bikini. One day when I am a brave girl like you I will debut my "Hated body part" ----> Thighs <---- *EEAAAK*

Lots of <3 from CANADA

thorne garnet said...

Good for you, you're beautiful. And so are your children, the lucky monkeys for having an awesome Mom.

lovesjetlag said...

I've an enormous scar due to a messy C section when my son was born and lots of fat I've never managed to lose after my son was born..so I'll never wear a bikini again but your post is such a solace, you know if I did so in Italy everybody would be utterly disgusted, they make you feel so self conscious, Italians are so image conscious or rather obsessed that even bold people give up and hide behind a one piece swimming suit

menopauselsupermodel said...

Standing and clapping and WOO-HOOING!!!
You look AMAZING in you bikini!!

I have never worn a bikini. Me getting the nerve up to post pictures of myself fully clothed in the past year was a HUGE step for me.

Franca said...

so proud of you!

Cristi said...

Desiree,
Your bravery and fearlessness is really such an inspiration...thought I'd follow suit and finally say Hello!

Love your blog and am the same age, so I long to see women who follow their own style and give judgement the bird.;)

Your beautiful children are truly amazing-so worth any warts or wobbles! The Stylist is such a little Darling, she is lucky to have such a great Mum!:)

Loo xx from Jumbles and Pompoms said...

Well done Desiree. You look as stunning as ever. Your children are so lucky to have such a beautiful and inspiring mum. xx

Krista said...

GOOD FOR YOU and your BELLY!!! You are such a brave girl and I love that you did this post. You are a lilac bathing beauty! It's so important that we love each other but we can't unless we love ourselves first! Stretch marks are a small price to pay for a lifetime enjoying your kids. I have scars on my belly too but they are from having my uterus shredded like discarded paper and pulled out through a hole. They bother me Desiree, I hate them, they remind me of something that makes me sad. I wanna get to where you are, I wanna move past my scars and into appreciating what I have been through. I'm working on it and this post helps!
Iloveyou!
XXOO

Vanessa, Take only Memories said...

LOVE your sunglasses! Great bikini as well! Love that you posted these shots!

Vanessa, Take only Memories

Annie said...

A beautiful post by a beautiful woman. You have lovely kids, and they are lucky to have you. Thank you for the inspiration Desiree xxx

janiece said...

Wow. You're fantastic!

Aminta Paiz said...

Spain is so cold right now... I wish I were there next to you :D

Aminta

Miss Simmonds Says said...

Maybe I could learn to love my belly too! Well done, I totally understand your fear but you've go nothing to worry about, you look gorgeous. Love these shots and the colour of the bikini!!

Here's a perfect Bikini Kill quote for you:
That girl thinks she's the queen of the neighbourhood, well I've got news for you.... SHE IS!!!!!

Meghan Edge said...

Beautiful bikini and you look beautiful in it! I also really love your lacey slip as a bikini cover up.

The Grande Dame said...

Aaahh I love this post!! I wish I had more words of wisdom like this to read every day so I could get over some of my own body fears and dislikes. I laughed so much at your kids fascinated/horror reaction to your tummy.
You look AMAZING in this bikini - the colour is so pretty and suits you perfectly - and with the silk headscarf you're a dream.

delia hornbook said...

Beautiful and stunning, kind and caring, a wonderful mother the list could go on and on. Brave for showing and sharing your tummy the bit you hate HELL YES, but embrace it and love it the way you love life, your husband and your chidren. Its a part of you and you are beautiful inside and out. I have 2 huge scars on my tummy coming up from my groin to my tummy from having both of my hips operated on. wearing a bikini i hated to begin with but now i hardly notice them after all they tell a story about my life ;-). But there is something else i hate about my body and its held me back and controlld my life in so many different ways no one knows so i understand how you feel. You are one gorgeous lady, big hugs dee xxx

Bella Q said...

I love you. This means more than you know- your gorgeous woman.

Erica Louise said...

You look utterly amazing, go D! x

Emalina said...

You have an incredible, gorgeous body, and I'm so glad you've got the point where you can appreciate it for not just that fact that it brought you your wonderful children, but for its sheer beauty and health. What a wonderful post :)

CityScape Skybaby said...

As a 45 year old mum of four I can totally relate to this post Desiree, though I really think you must see your stomach as far worse than it is, because you look great to me. My bug bear is my boobs, I think my stomach has held up pretty well considering all it's been put through over the years but my boobs not so much. But like you say, we wouldn't have those four extra people to love without these bodies and the work they did for us and we're really very very lucky to have that. This was a great blog and you're a beautiful lady and a great mum. xx

triskelos said...

Desire, this post is amazing! And you are amazing too.
You have the perfect body! And you are my hero!

Rosalind said...

I absolutely love the fact that you've chosen to respond to an area of body insecurity through honesty and then through vibrant celebration of that very bit. I feel similarly about my spinal surgery scar and my still lopsided/twisty ribs and shoulders - exposure and celebration is the best way to embrace them as part of me. What an inspiration you are.

Rosalind said...

I absolutely love the fact that you've chosen to respond to an area of body insecurity through honesty and then through vibrant celebration of that very bit. I feel similarly about my spinal surgery scar and my still lopsided/twisty ribs and shoulders - exposure and celebration is the best way to embrace them as part of me. What an inspiration you are.

Style Sud-Est said...

Bravo lots of courage you have there darling
You are lovely!

Highland Fashionista said...

You are an inspiration. And you know, your stomach does not look to other people the way it does to you. Funny how we all see our own flaws in such a harsh, cold light. You look fit and healthy.

Patti said...

You are so fabulous! Thank you for doing this - you'll never know how many of us are going to be nicer to our bodies today. What a gorgeous woman you are, and fearless to boot.

Rhia said...

Yaaay! Let's spread the joy of imperfectness! We all have our issues I guess, the trick is to accept our own bodies as they are, in their lovely imperfect shapes and sizes. Besides, perfect is boring. It's much more interesting to have some variety.
Thanks for being so brave and posting this!

gracefully50.com said...

I'm humbled by this post today. Bravo!
I LOVE your apposing point of view...children, this is what it's all about! You are pretty perfect, imo!

Tamera Beardsley said...

I applaud you with a tear stained face.

Thank you.

pao said...

Well you hit the nail on the head with this one, Desiree. And thank you. Body image issues? yep. Hiding them as best I can. yep. While still being in denial. yep. Ashamed of being ashamed. yep. You have taken a giant step for womankind and I hope I can keep up in any way at all.

blackpantysalvation.com said...

HOOOORAH! Love the scarf too.
Have you visited www.shapeofamother.com?

Debbi@SheAccessorizesWell said...

What a beautiful, brave, amazing woman you are. I think you are marvelous and I also applaud you!

Vintage Curly Girly said...

You are beautiful and you have a GORGEOUS body - all of it! You look SPECTACULAR in your purple bikini!

Catherine @ Not Dressed As Lamb said...

Desiree, I don't think I'll be saying anything that hasn't already been said, but I just want to say you are AWESOME and your attitude totally rocks...!

I have plenty of bits of my body I don't like, and it would take a gun to my head to show them off on the blog! It goes to show (from the comments that you've been left) that to others, the bits we don't like are often admired by others.

And although we don't all necessarily have to show off our bits on the bloggesphere(!), we should learn to love ourselves more. There'll always be someone who thinks you look wonderful. As I do I about you :)))

Catherine x
http://notdressedaslamb.com

No fear of fashion said...

Applause. I am all for honesty. So I have told my story of plastic surgery and bodyshapers.
You have even more "balls", showing off pictures.
I salute you brave and lovely woman.
Oh and I have a compliment for you tummy: it is flat!

Jan Graham-McMillen said...

You are my hero forever! (BTW, did you know that Hero ... of Hero and Leander mythos ... was a woman? Always infuriates me that women are reduced to "heroine".
Yes, you're our Hero!

Jeannee said...

Yay for Desiree! LOVE the purple bikini, plus the glasses and the lacy 'cover-up' ! Your belly signifies that you have birthed four gorgeous individuals, and is definitely something you should be proud of!!! To not be proud of such is like when pregnant women call themselves fat - they're not! they're making a human, for pity's sakes! Celebrate women!!!

Huli said...

fantastic post...you're absolutely gorgeous in your bikini!

Sue said...

Awesome!!!!

Maya Topadze Griggs said...

You go girl! <3

xx
Maya

Babes in Thriftland said...

This is awesome! Good for you. I wish I looked as good as you in a bikini. So glad you had the guts to do this post :)

A Woman Of No Importance said...

Let me say, you are brave and you are beautiful to show your weaknesses in this way - You are too gorge for words, by the way! Too, too gorge for words, but I have managed many words - Tant pis! You are an inspiration and deserve a medal - The words you wrote about having someone to hug until you die were so beautiful - Sniff...sniff... Mwah, big kiss, big hug xxx

Lakota [Faith Hope and Charity Shopping] said...

You really are gorgeous all over, brave and beautiful and still really slim. Given what my own two BIG babies did to me, I think you look incredible after four. Am also not massively thrilled with my stomach post babes, whilst I'm getting it flat again it still has wrinkles and my once beautiful bellybutton will never be the same again. So I feel that pain mama! That said, I put my bellybutton ring back in today (I've had the piercing 18 years, but not worn it since first pregnancy) and kind of felt like me again. Boy1 freaked - he was totally grossed out by the whole idea! Can't wait until he's an Emo kid begging me for a lip-ring, I'll be reminding him of his vow to never get anything pierced!
xxx

Joni said...

Remember, someone always has it much worse. ;) I had twins amongst a total of 4 kids. My stomach is stretched out way beyond any kind of repair. I once went into a plastic surgeon to inquire about a tummy tuck and after viewing the "after" photos I ended up walking out white as a ghost. No way, much too painful and the scar is much worse than you'd imagine. Let's celebrate what we do have, style, sass, and fantastic everythingelse!

WendyB said...

You go, girl! I never liked my belly, even as a kid. Though, oddly, in my 30s I started wearing a bikini for the first time since childhood, and I still do it. I felt it was more flattering than a one piece. Those are so hard to fit!

Love Flow said...

OK girl, you have totally inspired me now. I am 47 and gave birth to 3 huge babies, so I totally get the belly hate, hate, hate. It's the first thing I see when I look in the mirror when I'm naked.

My man absolutely loves my body and tells me constantly. The first time we saw each other naked I was totally verbally dissing my body. He grabbed me by the hand and marched me to the nearest mirror and said, " Now look in the mirror and see what I see."

I'm working on it. :-)

I have been taking belly dancing lessons for the past 6 months and finally just the last to times I've gone to class have I actually bared my tummy. My class is all woman, and still it took me that long!!!

You have inspired me to get over myself and do a photo shoot in belly dancing clothes baring my flabby, stretch marked, belly. Not only am I gonna take pictures, but I'm gonna post them on my blog. Not quite ready to scare all my peeps on Facebook!! :-)

Llara G said...

I take my hat off to your bravery. Bravo. The more people who get their bodies out, the more bodies (in whatever shape, size, colour etc) just become normal, regardless of what they look like. Good on you! xx

wait until the sunset said...

Okay so (if possible) you just became even more awesome in more awesome book! This is a wonderful post and I am inspired and humbled to read it. Sending love and cuddles through the computer to congratulate your braveness and body acceptance!!

Last orders on this table too please!!!

Susan Partlan said...

Desiree, you are so beautiful and brave! I hear you about the body fear -- I've got plenty of my own. What Vix said about battle scars makes a lot of sense. She's written about this before too. It makes sense, but alas, I'm not as brave as you two beauties. xoxo

Fashionista said...

Hello Desiree, I lurk around your blog a bit, mostly because I love seeing what you've worn to the shops today. Not to mention your op-shop treasures make me sigh with envy.

You look fabulous but I know it is not easy to get ourselves into a bikini, all those worries about bits! I once had a older neighbour who cracked out the bikini in a regular basis and looked fabulous (mostly confidence in herself did that). One day I was bemoaning my lack of confidence in doing the same, and her answer was, 'but you will never look this young & beautiful again, so when you look back at photos you will go wow, look how young & beautiful I was'. And that is so true.

Have a lovely day.

mumzy said...

Good for you.... You are one cool lady & your beautiful belly is badge of courage for birthing 4 babies... I had 5 kids by c/section & believe or not I don't have stretch marks (luck of the genes), but I do have a honkin big vertical scar from my belly button down to my knickers...You look in great shape, unlike me who has a couple of rolls & no waist..., but when I am covered up, I look quite good!
Love your blog, your inimitable style & your guts!!

Debbie Baker Burns said...

This post is very, very, very inspiring to me! And from the looks of the comments, you've inspired quite a lot of us. Debbie @ ilovemylemonadelife.com

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