Growing up, I was very insecure with my body. I got bullied a lot for it when I was younger and got bullied until I was about 16. I hated showing my body publicly. I avoided beaches for five years because I was afraid to show my body and feared getting judged.
But, something happened last year. There was a day last summer where the heat index was over 100 degrees and I was riding my bicycle. I remember it being quite humid as well. But I was sweating really badly and had to do something because my tank top looked like I had just gone swimming in it. It was so drenched. It was in that moment, I got to a stop sign and rolled my tank top straight up. So, I looked like I was wearing a crop top of sorts. It was the first time I had shown any part of my chest in my community since I was about 14. Even then, that was for the pool. But I did like 20 or so miles with the makeshift crop top and nobody made faces or looks of disgust at me so I grew comfortable and would do it for the remainder of the summer when it would get over 90 degrees. Having my shirt like that allows wind to hit me in the chest and helps me stay cooler and less likely to overheat on hot days. It’s almost like a throwback to cutoff shirts of the late ’80s – early ’90s that men wore to gyms. Except I can unfold and bring it back to being a functional shirt when I’m done.
In 2017, it became more common for me to dress like that. I even brought skin tight short shorts out for riding as well. It’s all in an effort to help people who struggle with body positivity on a personal level. There are people who know I put so much time and effort into cycling every day, and I wanted those people to see that even after all these years I still do not have a perfect body. It does look a lot better than what it had in the past but it is still far from perfect. I wanted those people to see that and I wanted to go vulnerable.. because I know there are people struggling with body positivity like I once did and are afraid to display themselves publicly like I was.
Confidence and positivity in yourself is so important. It’s how you carry yourself and other people notice that about you. Go out there and be you. Go to the beach even if you think your body is imperfect. People who judge on trivial things like that are miserable people and are dying inside. Don’t let that insecurity hold you back. Go out and have some fun and the time of your life.