DEAR HARRIETTE: Summer is here, which means it's bathing suit season. I’ve always struggled with my body image. I grew up overweight, so I got used to hiding my body in sweatshirts and sweatpants. But now with the heat, my old tricks won’t work, and I am forced to confront one of my biggest fears: my body.
When I think of putting on a swimsuit, I feel like I am putting all my insecurities on display for the world to see. I normally would just avoid all situations where I would have to wear a bathing suit, but my friend recently moved into a house with a pool. She keeps inviting me and my friends over to swim. By not going, I feel left out. I just am not comfortable wearing a bathing suit. What should I do? -- Swimsuit Season
DEAR SWIMSUIT SEASON: For starters, there are all kinds of swimsuits. I feel confident that you can find one that is flattering to your figure. There are tankinis with tops that can be somewhat loose-fitting, matched with all kinds of bottoms, including athletic shorts. Look online for options in your size. There are more choices today than ever. When you find a suit that fits you well, it will give you more confidence.
Next, jump in the water when you get to your friend’s. You don’t have to sit around tanning. Be the girl in the pool. You can splash around, cool off and draw less attention to your body.
When you are out of the pool, you don’t have to wear a swimsuit. Plenty of people go to pool parties and wear street clothes. T-shirts and shorts work fine when you don’t plan to take a dip.