Bring On The Bathing Suit
I have had psoriasis for 55 plus years. I can count on one hand how many times I have gone shopping for a bathing suit. Well, since you asked; it has been 3 times.
Are you ashamed of your skin?
I must say that I was covered over my whole body from head to toe. I had been asked to leave a public swimming pool before; which really scared me. I really wanted to try my hand at going to the beach. When this concept entered my mind 30 years ago, my first thought was that I’m never going to put on a bathing suit with scales showing over my whole body.
There was no way that I wanted anyone to see or stare at me. I knew plenty of ways to cover up, but how would you cover-up at the beach? My first beach experience was a disaster. I wore pantyhose under my bathing suit. First off, it was the most uncomfortable feeling in the world, but secondly when the sand got inside of the suit, I just wanted to scream for dear life. After an hour I couldn’t take it anymore and just put on long pants and a long sleeve shirt and just relaxed on the beach.
Don’t judge me
I know people were looking at me at this point and wondering why I was at the beach covered from head to toe with clothes on and wondering what was up with me. I really didn't care. I was not about to expose my psoriasis plaques in public. I felt cheated because I didn’t have the opportunity to enjoy the sun rays like everyone else. I was hoping that people wouldn’t judge me that day for wearing pantyhose or being fully dressed. It’s hard for people to understand, but harder to tell people why we do what we do to protect us.
Ten years passed by and I decided to do this again. I was a little bit more confident in myself, but not much. I bought my 2nd bathing suit in life and headed for the beach but, for my safety net, I brought along a full-length wrap-around skirt, stretch pants and some capri pants. Of course, I ended up wearing the Capri's the whole time I was there. I still didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin.
Picking out my one-piece bathing suit
I venture out on this journey for the 3rd time in life. The difference was that I had started advocating for myself. I was tired of being covered in this disease for 40 years and not be treated properly. I was tired of being in pain and told it was all in my head. I came out of the gate fighting hard. When I went to the beach this time, it was with a purpose. I will not wear long pants, long sleeve shirts, long skirts or capri pants covering up not only my outside but my inside as well. When I laid out on the beach that day; I just told the sun to uncover all of me. It was time for me to shine.
Newfound confidence with psoriasis
With my advocacy work in full swing, now came renewed confidence that I never knew was there. I was ready to take on the world. I was more confident now than I had ever been. All the years past and all the embarrassment and sarcastic remarks, I had to toss them in the garbage and start living my life. I had to stop denying myself the pleasures of life because of my illness. This was not my fault. We need to live our lives and put on our bathing suits.
I decided that people are not my judge. I know what it feels like to be criticized and ridiculed, but my confidence is so great that I'm moving past the old days. It’s a new day and I’m going to enjoy my blue one piece. Yes, this does take boldness and confidence that I had to dig deep down for. I’m no longer ashamed or worried about what other people say. I’m living with psoriasis and proud to say that I have a newfound confidence.
Put on that bathing suit
My advice to everyone is to be happy. I wasted so much time hiding from the world. Now, I am worried about my weight and the extra curves that I got. As I look back, I should have been rocking that 2-piece at a size 6; now I’m double that. I know from personal experience about the emotional stress that we are under when we have psoriasis and how it can impact our whole body. I also understand the embarrassment of showing your skin. We need to start showing the world that we have nothing to hide.
I’m so proud of all of us that have decided; no more. Thank you for having the courage to set out and get some sun. We are helping someone out there to say; Yes. I can.
I hope to see you fellow psoriasis patients at the beach.
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