Finding My Swimsuit Confidence

My troublesome relationship with swimsuits goes back as far as I can remember. One of my earliest swimsuit memories came on a class trip to Tobago. I wanted to get the hottest style of swimsuit out…but I was already a big girl at age 11. It was hard to find the kind of swimsuit I wanted, not in the age-range I was actually in at the time. I needed an older teen’s suit.

Right around that age, I had a near-drowning experience at the beach. And before that, when I was seven or eight, I’d seen a dead body wash ashore on a beach further up the coast (that’s another story for another time). Suffice it to say I had a healthy fear of water and of swimming, and add the fact that I have always been full figured — it just all contributed to my lifelong fear of swimsuits, swimming, going the beach and being in swimwear in public. I avoided it all as much as I could. That meant not going to my friend’s pool party. Not going to my classmates’ beach birthday party. It meant pretending I was too cool to care about the fact that I couldn’t swim well and that I felt so much bigger than everyone else did when I wore a swimsuit in public. I did it for years.

When Lands’ End invited me to be part of their National Swimsuit Confidence Week — May 23 – 27, 2011! — I thought it was a brilliant idea. The concept of helping real women boost their swimsuit confidence in time for Memorial Day weekend…brilliant. I said yes before I really thought it through. And then I got my pretty new Lands’ End swimsuit in the mail and realized what I’d said yes to.

I said yes to posting a photo of myself in a swimsuit. On my blog. And on Facebook. So pretty much every person I’ve ever known in life will see me in a swimsuit. And that goes for the people I know who will be like “awww Patrice looks beautiful” to the ones who will be like “OMG did you see how fat Patrice is.” Yeah. I got those people in my life too.

I said yes to the thing I’ve been avoiding my whole life — being seen in a swimsuit in public.

I said yes to making myself as vulnerable as possible to internet meanies. In my experience, for every fat-positive voice of encouragement online, there’s a rumbling chorus of awful comments and anonymous judgment.

And as my husband pointed out…I said yes to these photos being used in ways I may not heretofore have anticipated, or want to think about. Because after all, it is the internet.

Ay yai yai.

I said yes…but I almost backed out and said no. I was totally ready to put this super cute swimsuit back in the mail and move on with my life like nothing happened.

But then I thought of myself as a teenager. i thought of how it would have made me feel, to see these images of my future self.

I thought about the women who look like me, and the reason I created this blog in the first place – to be a source of inspiration, and to celebrate real beauty in its diverse shades, hair textures, and body shapes.

I thought that maybe, by sharing my issues, my story, and finally the photos of myself…I’d be confronting my fears and hopefully letting other plus sized women know that this summer, they should go out and be fearless. Rock a suit in a bright color. Go out there and soak up the sun and enjoy summer just like everyone else. Don’t let the people you know, society at large, or that little voice inside your head potentially ruin the fun you could have in the sun. Don’t be like I’ve always been.

I put the suit on, put on some makeup and a necklace I bought recently, and posed for my husband in our living room.

The first photo, I really felt uncomfortable.

The second photo, I started to feel that familiar body shame creep over me.

I gave him LOTS of instructions about full body shots and how I felt about them. By the time we took the third photo, my husband said “c’mon. You look beautiful. Smile for me!” So I did.

Later on we looked at the photos and as I started to freak out again, he reassured me. “This is you. This is your body, this is what you look like. You’re beautiful.”

That sealed the deal.

So thanks to my husband and thanks to Lands’ End for helping me find my swimsuit confidence. Next step – wearing this to the beach!

I encourage you to join me and share your swimsuit confidence too!

The Lands’ End Swimsuit Confidence Week is taking place on Facebook and if you’re on Twitter you can click here to display the “I have swimsuit confidence!” Twibbon on your Twitter profile photo. Send a tweet to @LandsEndPR proclaiming “I have swimsuit confidence!” #landsend for a chance to be entered to win a $500 Lands’ End gift card, and each day Lands’ End will give away 10 Lands’ End Swimsuits, 10 Lands’ End Beach Towels and announce exclusive swimsuit promotions. Join in now through May 27 – winner announced at 5:00 p.m. CDST May 27, 2011.

I don’t normally ASK for comments…but I could use your support here. And please feel free to share your swimsuit confidence issues (if you have any!)

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Comments

  1. Julieta says:

    You do look BEAUTIFUL! and you are beautiful Patrice….awesome post!

  2. You look beautiful! The suit is super cute. You know…most people consider me thin and I avoid swimsuits as well because I’m not “perfect”…SUCH BS! I’m going for it this summer! Thanks for the inspiration…

    A fellow Trini :)

  3. My husband helped me with my swimsuit confidence as well! Your husband is absolutely right, you ARE gorgeous! I love the lavender suit on you as well!

    Want to see my CONFIDENCE?
    http://stillblondeafteralltheseyears.com/2011/05/i-have-vintage-swimsuit-confidence-outfits-modeled-by-women-over-45-lands-end/
    I’d love it if you’d stop in!
    The CHief Blonde

  4. beautiful!!!!

  5. Galadriel says:

    You’re amazing! Your hair is gorgeous, love the bow and that suit is super cute but even more you are beautiful for being brave enough to encourage other plus size people to love themselves exactly as they are by example. Truly just beautiful.

  6. YAY!!! Congrats for having the courage to do this. You look gorgeous. Now put on some espadrilles, hat, glasses and WERK!

  7. you inspire me Patrice! that color looks wonderful on you! Haven’t purchased a swimsuit in so many years, might need to investigate a few options now;)

  8. Now how about that. In the first two shots I see how uncomfortable you are. It comes across loudly how much you really didn’t want to take the picture. But when you smiled? When you smiled, your face lit up. You relaxed so your posture was more open. You’re beautiful.

  9. SanTara says:

    Bravo!! YOU did it!! *hip bump* I like the swimsuit, it’s very respectful of the “girls”. Having a loving support system is so important, shout out to your hubby for loving you enough to tell you the truth. THIS IS WHO YOU ARE & YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!

  10. Have you seen some of the folks on the beach lately Bella?? 1/2 of them are not as stylish and attractive as you are and you look absolutely lovely in lavender! Like an the island queen you are! Claim your throne!!! Go Girl!!

  11. Beautiful. You could see your confidence grow with each shot!

  12. !!!! You are beautiful and cute and amazing! The purple suit looks lovely on you. And you continue to be an inspiration to me – even more with this post. I have the same relationship with water and swimsuits and I hope to find swimsuit confidence this summer :)

  13. You look absolutely stunning. YAY to your hubby for pointing out the obvious.
    If anyone says something mean…you let me know. I’ll hunt them down.

    • Right!!! She looks AMAZING! Let someone talk sideways. We’re hopping in your car and going to find them *fist in palm* I MEAN IT!!!

  14. This is so awesome! I have the same issues and I applaud you for having the courage to step out of your comfort zone! You look amazing!

  15. You look great! The color and style of the suit both look really nice on you. Congratulations on being brave enough to confront your fears.

  16. Patrice,

    your honest bravery never ceases to move me. you are beautiful, you are beautiful, you are beautiful. thank you for taking a brave step and sharing with us. you rock.

  17. Patrice!!! You look gorgeous! I love the style and the color on you. Confidence is key. You own that suit now rock it, girl!! Your smile in the last shot is perfect. {big hugs} Now, when are you coming to Florida next? :) xoxo

  18. nolagirl says:

    You look great. Its a nice suit and a great color. Your husband was right!

  19. Absolutely beautiful!! This color is perfect for you! Thank you so much for posting this.

  20. You look fabulous!! My first though when I saw your picture was “what a great bathing suit!”…I am a thin girl with plenty of body image issues myself…let’s all just accept that we are all different and ALL perfect in our uniqueness! Rock it girl!

  21. You look absolutely GORGEOUS!

  22. Crissle says:

    You could not be prettier! I admire your confidence love!

  23. Your husband is right! You look beautiful! I’m so glad he knew just what to say to get that last picture. Stunning!

  24. You look absolutely fabulous! This article reminded me how much I love you and made me shed some tears of joy. The confidence you exude in that 3rd pic says it all! You are always willing to share your most inner fears. By doing so, you give young women the confidence to be themselves, love who they are, and know they are beautiful. Keep inspiring women of all ages!! Go hit the beach already, beautiful Bella!

  25. Patrice:
    You HAVE to know how FIERCE you look in that purple???? And I LOVE the last picture the most of all. Because you know what? When you feel victorious (which I’m sure your husband inspired you to feel!!!), you LOOK victorious. It does not just show on your face, but it spreads throughout your entire body and makes the picture BLOG WORTHY!!!!

    The saying goes it all about the confidence! That saying is built on the realities of REAL beauty. I BEAUTIFUL woman is NEVER truly beautiful until SHE believes it. And….

    I’m feeling that you are BELIEVING IT!!! Yay for you!!!! You look amazing :)

  26. You look BEAUTIFUL! Patrice

    I am just struggling with summer clothes in general after putting on a few pounds but you do make that swimsuit look really cute…just maybe I will have to get one :)

  27. I can not find the words to tell you how much I appreciate you doing this. So for now, I’ll simply say THANK YOU!

  28. Patrice — You look awesome! Remember — we are so much harder on ourselves than others are on us. The color looks awesome and I’m impressed on how the ladies are holding up well in the suit.

    I did The Big Chop last summer to be able to swim. I’ve put not a toe in the water(!!) because of my fear of the swimsuit. So I feel you but who does it really hurt except me? I don’t enjoy being in the pool and doing some good exercise ALL because I am worried about how I look?? I am crazed. So take the step and know that MANY of us are behind you. :)

    Gurl, you be looking FABBBUUULOUSSSS.

  29. Wow!! You look stunning!!!!! The swimsuit is awesome & it looks even more awesome on you! Thank you for this. No, seriously…. Thank you. You have inspired me to do the same as well. Even though I own 4 fab Monif C swimsuits, I have NEVER been photographed in a swimsuit in my adult life. Today that will change. Thanks again gorgeous.

  30. You look amazing Bella! I’ve always had swimsuits issues and I haven’t swam in years even though I love it. THANK YOU for inspiring me! THANK YOU

  31. Don’t let all the swimsuit shots on my FB fool you. Much trepidation *every* single time I post one of them, but there is so much to be said about confronting all the fear and anxiety of all kinds – including what my body looks like in a swim suit. I like to think that’s a new rule in my life though – discovering my fears and confronting them. There is also something about the confident, beautiful, and radiant smile that comes with successfully tackling a fear. I see all of that in these pics. Beautiful, Patrice!

  32. Hello Gorgeous!

    Thanks for sharing your courage with the world!

    It looks good on you.

  33. Amissah says:

    First let me say you look gorgeous..the color is perfect on your skin tone..and will look even better with sun kissed shoulders..and your rack looks awesome..lol!! I have struggled my ENTIRE life with swimsuit season. Alas, I am a summer baby. I love the water and grew up a block from the Lake. Sooo not wearing a swimsuit was simply not an option. So like the zoftig fashionista I am, I put on some gloss, oversized shades, a cute sarong(or not, depending on how I feel), and the most flattering swimsuit I can find..and I hit the beach. It is what is is! Thank you for the constant inspiration…time to make sure my suits are ready!

  34. Kristine says:

    You look gorgeous!!! Love the article and you have inspired me to get back on the beach.

  35. You DO look beautiful and normal! See ya on the beach!

  36. Kristine says:

    Beautiful!!!

  37. Bleu_grl says:

    I like the suit and the color. But the only finishing touch that suit needed was your bright smile (in the third photo)! Rock it girl!!

  38. You look great! Like someone else said, with each pic its obvious how your confidence soared. And, um, does your hubby have a brother? LOL kudos to him for being so positive and saying lovely things to you–that’s how it should be. Again–you look great!

  39. HOW CUTE ARE YOU???!!!

    I am not a fan of the “swim dress” but this is really cute. And it’s flattering on you. GOOD FOR YOU! Now let’s see where my confidence levels are lol.

    Girl you could rock a potato sack and nobody would notice with that killer smile of yours!

  40. SilverFox says:

    I think you look great! The color is wonderful…guess I need to go to Land’s End and see what they have this season…

  41. You look lovely! And your transparency is just as beautiful. Hope you hear only positive comments on this post–as you rightly deserve. =)

  42. I love the color and style of the suit. you do look beautiful. I think at some point we have to tell people who don’t (can’t or won’t) help us grow to kick rocks. I wish you many more swimsuit confident filled days- in and out of the water.

  43. Brittany says:

    Bella!

    I love this post. So inspirational and heartfelt. I agree with everyone else, you look beautiful and I love the swimsuit.

    :-)

  44. THANK YOU, ‘Bella!

    I applaud your courage and the thoughts you shared with us. You look *marveleous* in your swimsuit, and I just might have to consider L.E. when I look for a new one. It always pays to wear what suits YOU, not what suits everyone else…and your photos prove that.

  45. SCondon says:

    Patrice!!!! You look like a hot mamma!!!!!! (a kitty mamma that is!)

  46. Tears stung my eyes as I read this. You look great and this post is wonderful! Thank you!

  47. GORGEOUS in every way. Love the swimsuit, love the hair and you’re rocking both. Thanks so much for taking part in this challenge. Now I’m like, “Where can I find a cute swimsuit like that?”

  48. You are so much an amazing lady. Cheers to you!

  49. You look beautiful! Love the post!

  50. You look absolutely amazing. I love the picture with the big smile. “You look so much better when you smile”-Kirk Franklin. My job had the annual pool party this past weekend and I am the only plus size person in my group. I did not wear a swimsuit last year but this year I decided that I was wearing a swimsuit and swimming. I had a blast and did not feel any shame about my body. Thanks for this post.

  51. You look stunning, Bella and this post is going to help out many women! Being a Floridian, I was pretty much born in a swimsuit. And even though I’m a size 12 with a belly and thunder thighs, I am still the first one to throw on a suit to head to the beach or pool. But the courage to post pics is one that I would struggle to do. So yeah ummmm, another reason why you’re my hero!

    • I <3 you, Brittany!! Thanks for commenting. I really hope this post helps women, it’s time to go out and soak up the sun without shame or fear! xoxoxo

  52. You look fabulous while looking so sweet and innocent all at the same time. It is such a cute swimsuit. I was looking swimsuits today and was like “I wish I could wear this.” I’ve been inspired to find my own swimsuit confidence. I love how your husband reassured you. What a wonderful man!

    • I love the color on you. It is such a cute suit. You picked a perfect one for you. You look great. Enjoy. Get out there on the beach and by the pool. Your husband is right you look beautiful. By the way he seems like a good hubby.

  53. Sdwjones says:

    Your hubby’s right. You are beautiful!

  54. candiew says:

    Girl you look so cute! And you obviously have the World’s Best Husband! You really look good in bright colors.

    I personally don’t do swimsuits even though I have the body for it, I just don’t feel comfortable with the exposure. Plus I don’t like the beach and swimming in waters in the Bay Area (Northern California) are filthy, and chlorinated pools make me itch, so I pass. I also have eczema, and a lot of bad scars all over the body so that’s another reason. The last time I was in a swimsuit, was when I was 21,(pre-eczema) I had a classic black San Tropez bikini, which I wore once, and though I looked too hot in it, it just didn’t feel right, again, the exposure thing. Although my boyfriend at the time was just over the moon about it, I never did develop confidence.

    However, it it weren’t for the scars, I’d consider wearing one again, but I just don’t want the attention now. So I don’t sweat swimsuit season and look ever so forward to the fall!

  55. I love it! I too have issues with swimsuits seeing as how my body went through drastic change with each child I birthed. Last summer I was encouraged to get a tankini and wear in public! I was so self conscious that day, but I survived and haven’t seen pics on the internet so I guess all is well!

  56. Jenni J says:

    Came over via Luvvie. What a wonderful hubby! And you do look beautiful! The smile and confidence adds even more beauty. Thank you for taking the challenge; I haven’t worn a bathing suit in about 10 years, but maybe I need to change that. And I love the cut of your swimsuit; gonna find me one!
    Jenni J.

  57. Vivrant Thang says:

    Bella, you look awesome wrapped in fantastic. That is a stunning color on you and the style is flattering. Work it mama! You are also truly blessed to have a FRIEND in your hubby who is supportive. That’s love :)

    I don’t have a swimsuit confidence story per se. But I do have another type of story. I was born wearing a size 20 (ha!) and have always had huge arms with lovely stretch mark accents. For years, I kept them hidden behind quarter length shirts, jackets and shrugs because all I got from the media and various other sources is that they were hideousuglywretchednastyhorrid. Then in my early 20s, something clicked. I was going on vacay somewhere and it was just going to be too hot for all those sleeves. To hell with what people thought. I was letting my arms OUT! Let those batwings fly FREEEEE…EEEE…

    And from that moment on, I just let it go. At first I worried people were staring at my arms but I just pushed through that. There are MUCH worse offenses out there. Lol! And I look good in my sleeveless get ups. As long as I project class and confidence, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.

    I will check out Lands End swimsuit offerings. I need to be properly outfitted for the Vineyard this year!

  58. Girl you look good! That color looks great on you and your skin is beautiful. We all have some hangup about our bodies… Mine is my skin. No matter how much depilatory cream, waxing, shaving..it’s a prickly mess with tons of razors bumps. I would kill for smooth skin( except I’m a doctor and I took an oath :-)). I have never worn a swim suit on the beach without a coverup for this reason and i am 5 feet 9 and 140lbs. Seeing you in your pretty swimsuit looking good is making me consider wearing a swim suit and showing my imperfect skin. We are alive!! Gotta act like it

  59. You look absolutely beautiful. I love that swimsuit! I think I’m inspired to go find a suit this summer and actually show it off.

  60. WOW!
    You are my SHERO for sure!!! You expressed so many of my personal concerns of being seen in a public place in a bathing suit. Chile, people can be cruel even in you are all covered up posing on a red carpet, honey!
    I applaud your courage and celebrate your beauty and your bravery.
    You are wonderful!
    You look so pretty!
    xoxoxox
    KIM

  61. Patrice,

    First, let me tell you how brave you are. You did something that very few of us would be willing to do, and YOU OWNED IT! Girl, you look fierce. The hair is on point, your skin is glowing, and the suit looks phenomenal on you. Kudos to you for working that suit and for giving me the confidence to find a great suit and leave the cover up at home this summer. Thank you.

  62. Bravo! You make me proud and I just met ya!;-) You look beautiful-pretty color on you too. Kudos to hubby for supporting his Queen! :-)

    Blessings!

  63. NicoleLisa says:

    I first must say, you look radiant in that purple.

    I can’t remember when I’ve ever felt comfortable wearing a bathing suit being a big girl myself and I’ve always been busty. And to see myself in a photo, wearing a bathing suit is even worse. Thank you for your courage and confidence to show us, that with the proper cut/style us big girls can rock one too.

    You are very blessed to have such a supportive husband.

  64. I need that swimsuit in my life! Your body is bangin girl! No homo lol! You have to live like there is no tomorrow.

  65. candycaines says:

    You look beautiful, bella. I’ve been big and I’ve been small, but my real problem is that I’ve always been super busty, so it’s hard to find a swimsuit with support. At any rate, I commend you on sharing your body issues and conquering your fears. This means more to some people than you will ever know.

  66. way to go, pretty girl! i’m PROUD of you!

  67. You are beautiful!

  68. You look amazing!!! That color AND body is hot!

  69. @Htowndisaster says:

    YOU LOOK AWESOME!!!!!! I love the suit and you look too cute. Weeerkk!!!

  70. EducationCEO says:

    Well, I want to reiterate what everyone else has said: (Billy Crystal voice) You look mah-va-lous!And you have a keeper in that hubby of yours! You had the confidence to do what a lot of women (self included) won’t do. I am still trying to convince myself that I NEED to be in bathing suit, on someone’s beach, somewhere this summer. Thanks for the inspiration!

    BTW: Luvvie sent me!

  71. QueenMelmendi says:

    You look great! You need to go to the pool or a beach and lounge with a fruity drink with the swimsuit on. =]

  72. Beautiful! Your story has moved me to tears. BRAVO to you for doing it! And please know that your husband is THEE BEST!

  73. By the way I was looking at Land’s End to buy and liked the selection for different body types at reasonable prices.

  74. Valerie says:

    You look great and your husband is quite the blessing! Enjoy that swimsuit.

  75. *what everybody else said* plus this: I’ve been dreading pool season, after seeing some pics of myself from last summer. I now think a suit like yours might be better for me. So thanks, not just for inspiration, but for practical fashion advice! Oh, and does your husband have a single brother? A like-minded friend?

  76. Patrice you look very bright and sexy. The colour is lovely.

    Walk the talk about being brave and being Afrobella.

    Land’s End’s idea is a good one and your participation will be of great benefit not just to others but to YOU.

    And we here know that your hubby is a good husband :) maybe you can do a joint swimsuit photo for FB? :)

  77. Cosmolude says:

    You look great!! Love the color of the swimsuit.

  78. warrior11209 says:

    I am so glad that you did not back down from the swimsuit confidence challenge. You look stunningly beautiful-the color of the bathing suit works so well with your skin tone and as usual you have the best accessories and your hair is looking cute.
    I wish that I had a way to convince all the young Bella’s in their 20′s and 30′s that each woman is beautiful.I know it sounds like the oldest cliche but we all must accept our own beauty and be confident in that beauty. I only have one picture of myself in my 20′s in a bathing suit and if I had known how good I looked I would have saved myself a lot of heartache and time worrying about my flaws or what others would think. I looked like an athletic young woman ut since I was a teen in the age of Twiggy(and Twiggy I am/was not) I was always fighting against my body type.
    I showed your bathing suit picture to my 22 year old son and he thinks your hot!!!!!
    Your husband is very supportive and you can see the love between you in the last picture – what a beautiful smile that you gave him.
    Thank you for reflecting us all!!

  79. Gritsluv2read says:

    Thank you :0)

  80. Girl! You look AMAZE!! I am so incredibly happy and proud of you for writing this. You don’t know how many people you’ve touched with this article.

    It’s funny because this week I’m actually on vacation in Florida, and just earlier today I was slapping myself because I brought 3 bathing suits with me – two bikinis and a one-piece, and this entire week all I’ve done is wear & re-wear the one piece because I’m still slightly scared of people judging me. Although I’ve recently dropped 10lbs, it’s almost like an insecurity that’s hard to shake.

    I’m glad Lands End is doing this confidence week. Tomorrow I’m slapping on my suit and taking pics. I’ll try posting them to my blog as well. I mean hell, why not? If Afrobella can do it, so can I :)

  81. You look great, and you really are a source of inspiration for a lot of women, me included…keep doing what you are doing…..sounds like you have a great husband (he got a single brother….lol…u know the brother is never as good…LOL)…good luck and may God continue to bless your life so you may continue to be a blessing…..

  82. shethinksoften says:

    thank you for this story. first of all…I love the swimsuit. I am plus size also and I am trying to overcome a fear of swimming. I do not know how to swim. so, before trying to learn how to swim, guess what? I have to buy a swimsuit, which is very scary for me. so…that is something I have to get past. thank you for inspiring me to go on and buy the swimsuit and not be ashamed of myself.

  83. Hi!

    Wow, you look lovely in your swimsuit, that color is awesome on you.

    Thanks for sharing your honesty. I have issues about my thighs looking to big so that’s one of the reasons I never wore a swimsuit in public. But I had to change those thoughts because I didn’t know what I was missing out on. I wore a swimsuit to swim with the dolphins last month when I went on a cruise and I felt good and thought I looked good. Maybe I will post those photos on my blog.

    JTwisdom

  84. You look beautiful and brave and regal in your royal purple. Bravo to your husband for being your biggest cheerleader.

  85. Balabusta says:

    Totally cute photos!

    Congratulations!

  86. Aw Patrice, this is such a great post! I love your story and I LOVE the bathing suit!! I don’t think I am as brave as you but I def give you props for doing this. Your body is indeed beautiful!

  87. You look so pretty, and in my favourite colour too :)

  88. unscrambled says:

    I’ve been lurking on your blog FOR-EVER (arab curly, makeup enthusiast, likes politics w/my fashion), and I just want to say: you look amazing! That color is sosososo wonderful on you, and your husband is right–amazing!

  89. Not sure why but I am sitting here with tears in my eyes I think it was the “This is you. This is your body, this is what you look like. You’re beautiful.” Also I see myself and the swimsuit issues I used to have before my breast reduction. You look great in all of your new swimsuit pictures!

  90. Mishara says:

    I am not at all trying to minimize your very real experiences that have contributed to your feelings about water and swim wear….BUT…(snaps fingers in the air!) Girrrrl the only thing holding you back in that swim suit is your thoughts, cause ya look good! I love the look…let confidence be your accessory.

  91. This post is right on time for me!! I’m going to the Dominican in July and decided I need a new swimsuit. I HATE swimsuit shopping but I decided this year I would break down and get a cute suit. Just yesterday I received a catalog from LandsEnd with tons of cute suits. I was hesitant about ordering but after seeing how cute you look I’m going to order one today:)

  92. Georgia says:

    Girl, you cute! :D

    I’m also a little worried about beach season. I’m happy with my body and my skin has finally cleared up beautifully and I’m itching to show it off…then I remember that I’ve got a whole new crop of friends who are all guys and have never seen me so exposed. Embarrassment is coming in 3…2…1…

    Ignore me and my trivial hang ups, you look fab!

  93. Juana Bryant says:

    You look absolutely beautiful!! I love that swimsuit on you. Great fit and gorgeous color!

  94. TheBrownBabe says:

    First off – your hubby has won MAJOR points on this one…what a great support.

    And you, my dear, look so friggin CUTE!!!

    This is your body, love it (I’m saying this to myself too :o)

    BTW, have you seen Gabi over at youngfatandfabulous.com? Check out her post “Every Body is a Bikini Body”. Gorgeous and unapologetically loving her body!

  95. I love your sincerity and candor and thanks for always keeping it real. I know sharing this part of yourself was no small thing. You are ispiring me to push my own envelope! You really should consider picking up where Oprah left off because you know how to connect with people.

  96. And BTW, you and your swimsuit ROCK!

  97. You look fantastic! That suit is cut perfectly and fits you really well. Love the color, too. But what I love most about this post is the sentiment from your hubby. You are SO LUCKY to be married to such a great guy! So many men out there belittle their wives and girlfriends and make them feel ugly…no matter what size or shape they are. Steve is a good egg. :)

  98. AfroBella Cheerleader! says:

    Emancipate yourself from mental slavery; no one but yourself can free your mind!

    iLike! ^5 to your new summer look!

  99. Simply beautiful!

  100. Thank you for reminding me why I faithfully read your blog and what drew me to it in the first place. You look beautiful in your swimsuit and the pink bow in your hair was a cute touch.

  101. OK I keep leaving comments and I don’t see them here!! Just wanted to say THANK YOU. All of you. I’ll be responding to every post here when I fix this issue…

  102. You look fantastic. Both the color and style look great on you. I want that suit!

  103. Thanks for this, ma cher. I had my own swimsuit battles last year with my trip to Jamaica, but now I’m positively brimming with confidence. Thanks for spreading the positivity!

  104. Yayyyyyyy! You look FABULOUS!! No Bull! You and I share the same shape. I also had self-esteem issues relating to my body, but that never stopped me from putting my behind in a nice tankini and wearing it to the beach! I even have the Facebook pics of me posing to prove it! Bottom line is, there will be haters and negative folks, but we DO NOT live for them. We should always feel free to live life the way we want to regardless of what size we wear. It took a long time, but I am ok now. Once again, you look GREAT!

  105. You look adorable. Purple looks great on you!

  106. warrior11209 says:

    Happy 9th Wedding Anniversary to you and your hubby!!

  107. Oh Bella. The words “body shame” shook me to my core. We as women should never feel such “body shame” and it damn sure shouldn’t be “familiar.” You are wonderfully and beautifully made and should always think of yourself as such. You truly are beautiful.

  108. You look Magnificent and the last photo of you smiling is so genuine and pretty! You have confidence! That’s wonderful!

    My post is up too! Hope you’ll stop by!

    Baby Boomer Women and Lands End Swimsuit Confidence Week

  109. Girl you look beautiful! That’s a great color on you and I love the flower in the hair. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

  110. luvmylocs says:

    you’re a beautiful woman and thankfully you have a husband that a appreciates and adores you. celebrate girl, that’s a wonderful thing! oh, and cute swimsuit and as always, fly hair!

  111. crystal g. says:

    You look great! You have a toned full figured shape with a good proportion. You should definitely do this event! GET IT BELLA.

  112. Thank you so much for this.You inspire me to be proud of my body. The color and style is lovely on you.

  113. Thanks for posting this. If you are over a size 10 swimsuit season can be very scary. Thanks for showing us once again that we can be beautiful at any size with a well designed swimsuit.

  114. How sweet is your hubby!! You hit the nail on the head “letting other plus sized women know that this summer, they should go out and be fearless”. LOVE! You look too cute in the suit too btw :-)

  115. Girl you look AMAZING. That color is fab and the fit is perfection. I’ve had two babies and my body has not bounced back to my pre-pregnancy weight and I’ve been feeling uncomfortable about wearing a bathing suit my self but I think I am going to check out Land’s End cause they seem to have what my body needs at this very moment. Again, BELLA you are in fact BELLA in your swimsuit.

  116. Applause to you for finding your confidence. I’m so glad you finally put on a smile in the picture. You look beautiful and the swimsuit color is perfect…..now if only I could find the confidence to wear a swimsuit.

  117. trinigul says:

    What a beautiful post!

  118. I have a confidence issue for you to ponder – small, next to no bust and almost 200 lbs. That was me after I had my second child. Can you imagine that in a bathing suit?! Okay, so the suit fits except the gigantuan (is there such word) space for the bust…which I didn’t have. I have been a member of the itsy bitsy titty committee all my life, since I developed or didn’t develop. So I lost the weight thinking that might help…same issue, gigantuan space for breast that I don’t have. I eventually end up with a ‘will do’ suit. Oh, and by the way, not according to the popular demand in your head – YOU LOOK ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL IN THAT SUIT!!! Walk with the confidence of a Queen, you will have the confidence of a Queen and people will be wowed by you!

  119. Thanks for the pics and the encouragement to just be me. I’ve spent many a hot day on the boat and at the lake in clothes because I was too uncomfortable to put on a suit. It’s gotten so old and I’m so over it.

  120. Aretha T. says:

    That was such an inspirational story! We are beautiful and your husband sounds a lot like mine….. they love us for who we are. And others who really want to know us and care for us unconditionally will do the same. I know I’m thick, never was thin, but I’m loving myself and whether I go up or down in weight, as long as I stay the same…we’re all good!!!

  121. Michelle says:

    Love the story. Brought tears to my eyes, as I know all to well how it feels. I love how you look in that swimsuit. I am glad your husband tells you just how beautiful you are. Thank you from this BBW for this post, for showing the world that we too can be beautiful, sexy and confident and that it is okay. Rock that suit and that smile for all woman, big or small. So many of us have issues with our bodies, wish we could all realize that we are all beautiful in God’s eyes.

  122. Likeramona says:

    Bella, I simply want to say thank you!

  123. Sistacurl says:

    Finding the right swimsuit has always been a struggle for my plus size body. I’ve spent more time looking for one, than wearing one. The last time I bought one, I spent HOURS in the swimsuit store, trying on just about everything. I bought a suit cuz I felt so bad about wasting the saleswoman’s time. I returned it the next day. Then my Land’s End catalog came. I picked out a suit with the help of their shape chart. It arrived within a couple of days and was cuter and less expensive than the one I took back to the store. When I wore it to the beach, a woman complimented the suit. After that I stopped worrying about what I looked like and just enjoyed swimming in the ocean and lounging on the beach. Life’s too short. Thanks for your post and your courage, Afrobella.

  124. nerdynap says:

    You look gaw-geous!! I love the swimsuit, nice choice of purple. Very flattering.

  125. you look so cute!!! girl you betta rock that suit!

    i’m a plus size woman also and last summer wore my suit while out of town. i was in the pool by myself so i didn’t really care. then this man came and sat by the pool. i started thinking oh no! i’m not going to be able to get out till he leaves! then he started talking to me and it was clear he was not leaving. finally i said to myself…you know what?!?! GET OUT THE POOL!!! I got out full of confidence with my head held high, sashayed past him said “have a good day” and thought nothing else of it!

  126. i like the color on you! and the cut is just the right one! catwalk on the beach! :)

  127. it’s time every one wears a swimsuit every summer! enjoy the beach! :)

  128. You look awesome and have inspired me to work on my swim suit confidence. Thanks Bella!!!

  129. Wow I really feel like we’re sisters in my head, lol. I have had the same looming fear of swimsuits because of my weight as well. I envy all my slimmer friends in the summer because they get to dress for the heat and i usually am stuck in layers trying to hide bulges and conceal muffin tops. Thanks for having the courage to go through with it. It motivates me to do the same. I’m proud of you girl and you look beautiful.

  130. luvlybrowngirl says:

    The thought that came to mind as I read your post and looked at your pictures is more than you are a body, you are a spirit… a warm, loving, kind, positive,generous spirit who blesses the people in her life. That is the woman your husband sees and LOVES, supports and adores.

    For those reasons, you can stand tall in all your glory, radiating, without feeling ashamed.

    Thank you for being wonderful enough to be vulnerable for someone else’s benefit. You are ever the bella… inside and out!

  131. Manuela says:

    STUNNING!!! You look fabolous Bella!

    Thanks for this post <3

  132. Kimberly Major Delaney says:

    Afrobella, you are gorgeous!

  133. That is a really cute swimsuit! You’re beautiful!

  134. I can’t say I’ve dealt with body issues my entire life, I used to be a stick, skinny as a rail. Now I’m in my twenties and I’ve become curvy. I know everyone says embrace it, but it did take me some time. As silly as this sounds, this quote was really the breakthrough that made me walk down the beach confidently:

    “Is ‘fat’ really the worst thing a human being can be? Is ‘fat’ worse than ‘vindictive’, ‘jealous’, ‘shallow’, ‘vain’, ‘boring’ or ‘cruel’? Not to me.”

    And you look great in your swimsuit, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

  135. So you aren’t “perfect”…but that is what makes that suit look so good on you! I am curvy myself, and my boyfriend always says “look at who has the nerve to put a swimsuit on…girls bigger than YOU!” It doesnt work lol…Since I was a child, my sisters and I have never been beach or water people, plus we were raised to be super modest, so at 30, I have yet to wear one in public. I own 3 but they all have a tag on them! Kudos to you for showing how beautiful a REAL woman looks!

  136. MamaBella says:

    Trice – you look beautiful – the suit and the colour totally become you. You ARE beautiful! Love Mom

  137. Be Confident, Be Beautiful, Be You — Absolutely Fabulous!

  138. Omg Patrice! U r too cute! I love u! U r my shero!

  139. Danielle says:

    The 1st ting i saw was Tobago..which prompted me to read the article. I’m from Tobago! lol..I know a lot of people dont know my tiny island in the Caribbean. But anyway, very inspiring story. You’ve got a gem of a husband. :-)

  140. You really do look beautiful. And the transition in the 3 photos is sooo cute. Your husband does a good job. I like that suit, too. Walmart had some nice vintage 50′s and 60′s cuts in 14-4x (approx.). I was surprised. You look fantastic. The hair ribbon is too cute, also.

  141. I have seeeeerious swimsuit issues. Thanks for the encouragement doll!

  142. THANK YOU! that is all.

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