04/10/2015

Calling all beach bummed

by  Rogin Losa
Art by Pat Abutog
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This season is all about skin, skin, skin, and not in a creepy Buffalo Bill skin dress kind of way. Yes, people, it is that time of the year again where the heat is definitely on. Summer in a tropical country gets more interesting. When the season hits here, it makes one feel that the whole country has dropped straight down into the earth’s core. So what do we do to combat the feeling of being steamed vegetables for a couple of months? We utilize our H20. And the common way to do this is by hitting the beaches. But it seems as we grow older and become more conscious of our physiques, the fun that’s tied in with the beach or summer in general is changing to paranoia. This could be a foreign feeling to the confident, the aesthetically gifted, or both. That’s not the case for those outside that small circle. To the rest of us, the heat is on in more ways than one, for it’s the season to make the inevitable choice: break out the beach body or stay indoors and get beach bummed.

Breaking out one’s beach body is as inevitable as temperatures rising with the season. It’s everywhere you go and it will stay ‘till the season ends. You hear it everywhere. It’s in small talk, flooding your Facebook news feed, scrolling through Instagram with a matching hashtag as if the photo doesn’t justify it enough, and even while you’re stuck in traffic. BEACH BODY: it gleams on the huge neon marquee in your mind, taunting you. Not really, but even without using the words “beach” and “body,” the idea remains. It’s as simple as inserting the keywords “beaches” and “swimsuits” into a conversation. It’s as simple as a Century Tuna or Nestlé Iced Tea ad showcasing beautiful people that would make Nick Jonas himself weep with jealousy. It’s as a simple as watching a variety show with your family and seeing a summer dance sequence by people who epitomize the summer. The concept sticks, no matter how it is put, and you can’t really blame people or the media for doing it. It’s summer, after all. You can’t expect people to wear long sleeves and coats stained with sweat. And you most certainly won’t hear Winter Wonderland. You’ll hear Sandwich’s Sunburn on repeat over radio stations. There’s no problem with welcoming the season with open arms. But making people doubt, maybe even feel ashamed, of not embodying a #beachbody is a bit harsh. This is what those “others” have to deal with: feeling unnecessarily body conscious rather than carefree.

There is one way of dealing with the inevitable beach bum-out: you can cover yourself up, and avoid the issue at all costs. It’s a foolproof plan, and a long-term solution. But has anyone ever tried just not giving a damn instead? Welcome the idea of not caring about your summer aesthetic. Hit the beach or pool if it feels right. Show some skin no matter where your body is now or what others might say. Do whatever and take control of your vacation. There’s nothing wrong with doing the first option. If one struggles with self-esteem and if they’re dealing with health issues now, then it’s actually the perfect time to do something about it.

Changing your lifestyle for health benefits is one thing, pressuring and even going far as shaming people for not doing it is another. The fourth option should gain equal or more respect as the first. There’s nothing wrong with people covering themselves up if they feel like it. Keep in mind that there are people who choose to show less skin because that’s what they want or believe in. But if someone is being pressured to do so because of the stigma people have with the ideal “beach body”—rejoice and welcome the fourth option! Giving yourself a confidence boosts and learning to love yourself is also part of a healthy lifestyle as much as the first. Changing one’s body could give one a confidence boosts as well, but the fourth option could stand alone without the drastic lifestyle change. Sometimes learning to love yourself is enough to do anything and this includes putting on that swimsuit you’ve been keeping in the depths of your closet for so long.

If people could welcome the change of their physique this season, maybe they should welcome the change of their outlook in themselves too. The association of a beach body with the word abs seems unbreakable. Bring out the rebel in you and challenge that association in whatever swimsuit you wish to be in. Whether you’re media’s ideal beach body or you’re your own ideal beach body, nothing should stop you from hitting the beach and having fun this summer. This is the season to relax, chill, and not give a damn about anything that’s not worth giving a damn about. Don’t let a measly billboard or a hashtag determine your self-worth. And honestly, that goes for all seasons of the year.

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