The Twelve-Week Challenge: Day 8

Today I held my breath as my phone rang, seeing the London area code pop up.  Finally! I thought.  A job!  Sadly, it wasn’t about a job, unless you count taking your clothes off in London’s Covent Garden in recompense for a fluffy white towel and some Nivea goodies as a job (I wouldn’t, but I might consider making a career out of it should I struggle to get work after I move down South).

About a week ago, I signed up to Nivea’s Dare to Dip campaign, which challenges women to take their first dip of the season in confidence, after a survey done by the brand suggested that more than half of British women fear getting their belly out in a bikini each summer more than baring all to a new partner*.

I can quite understand this.  Despite the confidence I’ve gained in myself over the last few years, I’m wary of the fact that I now weigh more than I ever have, and my pot belly, the product of too much Diet Coke and IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), might give some to question when the baby was due, should I dare to don a two-piece.  As I’ve mentioned in this blog before, I lost a stone and a half in six weeks due to stress a few years ago, and having felt great despite being vastly underweight, a different kind of stress has led me to comfort-eat and to pile the weight back on.  While I had no plans for being on a beach half-naked in the near-future, with my relocation to London taking priority over a holiday, it now appears that I will be needing do exactly this in the not-quite-so-exotic (or warm) Covent Garden in Central London.

Looking at bikinis today in the shops, my eyes wandered to a pair of pink “tummy-control” bottoms, and for the first time in my life, actually considered that I may have to buy them, as well as spend the whole time in Covent Garden next week breathing in (especially as there will be photos taken afterwards).

The long winter we’ve had here in the UK has meant that I’ve been able to cover up my body, insisting to myself that I’ll ditch the Diet Coke and eat healthy once I move to London.  But now the weather’s getting warmer, I want to start revealing my body parts to the sun, because I do look better with a tan, and also because I have two bottles of Hawaiian Tropic SPF 15 which have been collecting dust after my trip to Singapore got cancelled to save my academic career and give myself time to finish my dissertation.

The Dare to Dip campaign is encouraging women to bare their cossie-clad bodies to the world.  When I received a call today confirming my place in the 200 out of the 22,000 who had applied, I was asked why I wanted to take part.  I explained about my quarter-life crisis, about the last seven years being about finding who I am and not being afraid to show that person to the world.  To me, Dare to Dip is an extension of that; the person that I am will not only blog about things that others would refuse to even talk about, but to not be afraid to get out there in a bikini and show the world that this is me – I may not be perfect but this is who I am right now.

While there is a lot of pressure on women from magazines and other media – who hasn’t seen the features about stars with no make-up, or take a look at so and so’s cellulite – I believe that if you feel confident in your body, you will feel more confident in yourself.  When I weighed 8 stone 3, there’s no denying I felt slim and so much better, and having a tan I was even happy to forfeit make-up.  At 10 stone 4, I feel like a flump.

Having been a very shy girl at school, I’ve always been rather conscious about my image, and even with my make-up on and my hair looking its best, I still feel as though I look like everyone else without their hair and make-up done.  I can’t imagine ever feeling so glamorous that I feel like a million dollars.

Anyway, this wasn’t intended to be a self-pitying blog.  I want this opportunity that Nivea has given me to be a celebration of the fact that I am a woman, and that women sometimes need encouragement from other women.  While my blog is a focus for my writing, about the one thing I am an expert in – myself – I also want it to give hope to other women, who may not feel quite so brave about living life and pursuing their dreams.  I understand that, because for me, I was that person for a long time.  But now it’s time to change.  And not only time to Dare to Dip, but to Dare to…Be.


*To read more about the survey, click here:


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. neil
    May 09, 2013 @ 20:31:42

    Lovely blog…


    • 33andlostinlife
      May 02, 2014 @ 20:34:03

      I just came across this blog and your comment…and feel mortified that I didn’t reply. It is almost a year ago now, but I just wanted to say thank you! I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment. Please forgive me for not doing the same.


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