tan lines

Today I was the first day back to work, and as I was pulling on my khakis I noticed something.
Tan lines.
On my backside. My much lower backside.
And I’m used to tan lines.
Tank top, bathing suit back, and even the horrible knee sock soccer referee lines I sported back in college.
But these particular lines haven’t shown themselves since I was a teenager.  And for good reason.

I have never been too into my body or appearance. I work out regularly, but I rarely try the new fad diet. I spend more cash on coffee than I do clothes. The seasons change more often than I get my hair cut and a single tube of mascara can last me years.

Ignoring something is not the same as embracing it. The truth is I could lose a good 20 lbs. I wish I knew how to put on eye liner the right way. I’d get a massage weekly if I could afford it. And I’d rather have a pelvic exam than go bathing suit shopping.  Or wear one in front of people. And if I have to, I am covering up my pasty white thighs that are too big. And the hail damage in back and those huge painful varicose veins complimentary of a few pregnancies.

And speaking of bathing suits. I have the typical solid black one piece mom bathing suit that is supposed to hide the fact that I’ve had 2 c-sections and about 200 too many cheeseburgers. But it doesn’t hide my backside, for that I usually leave on a pair of shorts.

But July changed that.
My knees were killing me so I decided to give them a break and swim laps between runs. You can’t swim laps in shorts. And besides no one is going to notice my thighs while I’m wearing a swim cap and goggles. I had no idea that a mile in the pool is the equivalent of about 70 laps. So by the time I was done more than just my muscles were sore. And secondly, I spent most July weekends at the lake with old friends. Friends from high school, from college and camp. And the conversation and the company was easy and comfortable and the rest of me started to feel that way too.  And I peeled off my shorts before hopping in the water. They were getting in the way anyways. Filling up with water and slowing me down.

These parts of me that I am less than proud of and usually keep hidden away burned a little their first time in the sun. They were not used to being seen and were more sensitive. But eventually they tanned and freckled like the rest of me.
The imperfections are still there. Despite all the miles I’ve both run and swam this summer.  But they are tanner.

And I learned in the right company. With people that know me and love me, I can expose parts of me that I usually keep covered up. My thighs. And my heart.
And sure, sometimes we get burned. But sometimes we get a tan.