Monday, June 4, 2012

Bodies at the Beach

I went to the beach last weekend. I’m not a big beach person, but it’s nice to go every now and then. Interestingly, this very blog came up in conversation twice, and neither time was I the bringer-upper! Though I must admit I had my 15 minutes of fame when my friends found out I am an official (if not frequent) contributor. I promised them I’d have a post inspired by that weekend, so here are some thoughts I had about bodies and what it means to have a body--while at the beach.

The good: bodies are beautiful things. I saw beautiful female bodies and beautiful male bodies. I saw them in all shapes and sizes (and a few different colors). The most beautiful ones were the proud bodies. We often think of pride as bad, and we generally should, but there is of course a good side of pride too. The people who enjoyed their bodies and didn’t worry about whether they were right and just smiled and played and swam and tanned and laughed--these were the most beautiful. I saw some people with “better” bodies by some modern standards that weren’t as beautiful as the proud, happy bodies of my friends. I put on some weight towards the end of this last semester, so I was worried about whether I would be proud of my body, but I decided (with some help from this blog) to just go with it. I decided to be happy with my body. And for once, that stupid positive thinking idea worked! :)

The bad: sunburns. I mentioned above seeing bodies in different colors, and sadly one of those was deep tomato red. Some of my friends were slightly less happy (read: in more pain) with their bodies on day #2 because of a dearth of sunscreen on day #1. I was paranoid about getting sunburned so I sprayed and lotioned sunscreen over every inch of exposed skin, but I was struck with something even worse than a sunburn: a combination of a sunburn and realizing that in a few years I’ll start officially balding. Yes, my hair has apparently started to thin enough that the top of my head got pretty burned. I knew it would happen eventually, but it kinda hit me this weekend, ya know? I’m going to get a receding hairline pretty soon, and then who knows how long until the combover is initiated. (I hope to resist that aspect of it for decades, at least.) Yikes.

I think the first part, about being happy, proud, and confident in one’s body, can help me with the second. So maybe I’ll have a half-halo of hair or none at all soon. Nothing I can do. My body will still be beautiful. I might have to convince some women I try to date, but it will be!


  1. Love this, Austin! Yes, few things are better than seeing a person (male or female) who is comfortable and happy in her or his skin. I remember feeling that it gave me permission to be comfortable in mine. So I have made that a goal in my interactions with others and with my body--living in and with her in such a way that grants permission to others to love and accept their own bodies.

  2. Also, I have to add, having two Austin contributors gets a bit confusing. I skipped down to the end when this first popped up and thought to myself, "Wait...Austin (the girl) is going bald?"

  3. I had the same problem. I was like, one of my wife's best friend is going bald? So, capital A Austin=girl lowercase=boy. Also, a good post.

  4. Great post! I have been embracing my swimsuit body as I have been taking my kids to the pool a lot and it makes me have a lot more fun, and hopefully encourages other moms to not worry so much about their bodies either. To austin on balding, don't worry too much about it. From what it sounds like you are like on the inside, I would guess any woman you are interested in dating won't worry about it either. :)