I bought my first bikini.
I, like millions of other women, am self-conscious and have never owned one as a child - never mind as a teenager or as a young adult.
Of course, those were the years (the younger ones) when my body was in its best shape and stretch mark-free!
But unlike millions of other women - I was raised to cover my stomach because I don't have a belly button. I am confident and sure that my parents meant well and didn't want people to stare or ask me questions I simply didn't know the answer to!
I honestly had to do a Google search for "no belly button scar" and got "gastroschisis" - I honestly can't read my doctor's hand writing - so I knew it started with "gastro". Sad but it's true - doctors handwriting is really difficult to read!
So what does it mean?
It means that I was born with my stomach open - not like a hernia - but my actual stomach on the outside - was wide open and my organs were hanging out.
They rushed me to the OR and tossed them back in and I got a lovely scar that I am finally - FINALLY - comfortable with sharing.
Having being born in the 80's - my doctor confirmed that it should've been picked up in the ultrasound but for some reason, it never was.
"You were quite the surprise delivery! I'll never forget it!" my lovely doctor told me when I finally gathered the courage to ask her during one of my prenatal appointments with the V-Man.
I also asked if I could carry and deliver a child as naturally as possible, and she confirmed it should be fine.
(I haven't had any issues regarding my scar and any of the pregnancies or deliveries. Funny enough, the Finnish doctors and midwives thought I had a C-Section gone terribly wrong! And yes - I have stretch marks.)
When I was 18 and getting my first tattoo, the lady asked me if I wanted my belly button pierced instead - because I brought a friend and was so nervous about the pain of a tattoo.
I laughed my head off and said that wasn't possible but let's get on with the tattoo. She was a complete stranger and I showed her my stomach quickly and she thought it was beautiful. She wanted to tattoo birds and vines and flowers along my scar and I felt like it was a kind of nice way to embrace it, out of my 18-year old budget and it would somewhat tarnish it - when I really just wanted my Aquarius symbol tattooed on my back.
I also remembering going to my boyfriend's house after school and telling my Dad I would be home by 9pm and he asked what we were going to do.
"I'm getting my belly button pierced!" I yelled up the stairs and my Dad - God love him - he came rushing with his face flushed red and told me I was NOT allowed to go to my boyfriend's house and I should come straight home.
"But Dad...I don't have one to pierce!"
He looked at me strangely, told me to be home no later than 9pm and walked away while I cackled out the door.
So yes, I can and do get a crack out of it every now and again.
It took a lack of tankini's (a 2-piece bathing suit but tank top) and not many nice options of a single piece bathing suit - for me to finally cave and get a bikini.
Sure, I could've gotten a bikini and thrown on a t-shirt and had horrible tan lines or had to deal with a wet t-shirt all the way home...
And of course, living in Finland - the wonderful sauna - I've never had issues with going with my husband or my girlfriends and that's because nobody looks at you. They just talk or sit silently and enjoy the steam.
That and my friend I usually go with on Friday evenings - also wears glasses - so we couldn't see each other if we tried. :P
But - I'm tired.
Not just because I'm a mother - but I was simply tired of hiding my body AND trying to find a suitable bathing suit that wouldn't be too revealing, would be comfortable enough, fits etc.
Of course - I have some rolls and tightening up to do - but I'm finally confident and happy with myself and my body.
I'm not implying I want to be a stripper or porn star any time soon...so to my dear parents - don't freak out if you read this! :P
Turning 30 opened a new chapter in my life (not just the upcoming "Cougar" status aka turning 40) - in which I simply do not give a sweet
I've parted ways with negativity - negative people and those associated or reminded me too much of them and events.
I've opened up my mind to new experiences and things and continue to just try to be the best person I can be and go from there.
I'm learning to do things for ME - and I don't mean using the bathroom and taking a shower...
I'm studying at a Finnish cooking school and finally doing something I've wanted to do since I was 18.
A friend, much wiser and older than me - and has their own set of scars advised me that it's a part of me. It's not going to go away or change -so instead of hating it so much - why not love it?
How can I possibly expect my children to be proud of their bodies and brains - if I am not confident or proud of myself?
So if you have scars, if you have stretch marks - they're a part of you. Be proud and don't be ashamed.
Either fork over a ton of cash to try and get rid of them via laser treatments - or just try to embrace them as best as possible.
It can always be worse and just try to take it a day at a time. That's all anyone can ask of you - and of you to ask of yourself.
You're beautiful - inside and out.