by Tara Osipoff on August 4, 2012
I’m gonna tell you all a secret today…
Truth is, I’m not really sure if it’s exactly a secret, but I am absolutely sure that it’s something that most of you don’t know. That, my friends, I am sure of. So that kinda makes it a secret, right?
So, someone needs to tell you—someone needs to let this secret out, let this sucker spread.
I don’t know how I found this secret out, but I will tell you this much for free: finding out was one of the best things that’s ever happened to me.
So now I know what’s going through your head. You’re sitting there at your computer, sipping your coffee, impatiently reading and saying to yourself, “Tara, tell me the damn secret already! If I’ve been waiting my entire life to hear it, stop fart’n around and spill the beans.”
Not yet. I’m going to tell you a story that will lead me to the point of this post.
There was once this little girl.
She was born into a family, a lovely family. She had a momma and poppa, a big bro, and a cat named Bill. She grew up a daddy’s girl, she loved to read, and she couldn’t get enough of being outdoors. She liked to put on high heels while her mother cleaned the house and dance around to Van Morrison and The Beatles. She had a brother who she adored. She was smart, and she loved to discover whatever the world was serving on its platter that day.
She was wonderfully weird and sometimes awkwardly funny.
As she grew up, she went through many stages: grunge, skater, hippy, and even a pretty-polka-dot-dress phase.
She started to realize that being beautiful was a very important attribute to have in the society in which she was living. So she tried everything she could to be perfect. She wanted to fit into that neat little box that she viewed as the most important thing to be a part of. She did anything she could to be in that box. She tried dieting—an apple a day keeps the belly away. She tried wearing makeup—well, she stole make up from her mother—because makeup, she thought, would get her into that box.
If she could just make it into that box, she would be popular, and popular people don’t have problems. She wouldn’t be weird, and all the things she loved to do would change into the things that would make her loved by the people who love the box. And the whole world loves that box; everyone wants to be in it, and when you’re in it, life must be perfect, she thought. So out with the grunge and in with the tight, skinny-minny pants, and the tops that cost too much and that 9834 people in the city own. But I mean, if they all have it, then people in the box must have it too.
This was all really hard for her. She was very unhappy, and no matter what she did it wasn’t good enough to be in the box. No matter how many apples she didn’t eat—it didn’t matter if she brushed her hair 567 times—when she bought the latest digs from the coolest stores, she just couldn’t get into the box where she dreamed to be.
It was depressing, and no matter what she did, nothing was ever good enough.
Then one day, some things happened in that girl’s life; some things that seemed really bad at the time, but later in life would prove to have been the best thing to ever happen to this wonderfully odd human. These things that happened unleashed a really, really big secret, a secret that changed her life.
Well, after those things happened, she realized that the only one who decided whether she was in that box or not was HER. That the box, after all she had dreamed it to be, was imaginary. The expectations of getting into that damn box were all made up in her pretty little head. She realized that if that box were real, she was WAY too big for that box anyway. She realized that the people she wanted to be like were people she could never be like—because she was she, and they were they. She finally realized that the only person she could be the best at being was herself. She didn’t have to be a size two, four, or double zero; she didn’t have to wear pink if she didn’t want to; and she didn’t have to pretend to love reality TV, because she realized there was no point. No one was judging her; if the box she wanted to fit in was all made up—if the expectations to get into that box were all crazy expectations she had imagined herself—then there was no one to impress. There was no one to whom she could show that she was “normal” enough to get into the box, ‘cause that box wasn’t damn well real. Wow…what a bloody relief that was. She only had one person to be, and that was easy: she was good at being herself.
Look, here’s the thing. I wanted to do a swimsuit edition; they are the one thing that every girl dreads. I wanted to do it because swimsuits have come a long way. The bosomy Barbie, barely-cover-your-nipple days are over. Swimsuits are back, and with class. You can be whatever size you are and feel rockin’ in swimwear once again. Why? Because there are swimsuits with mad style out there right now. It is a really special time for swimwear. ‘50s-style swimwear is back, and suits with structure and design are everywhere. One-pieces and two-pieces that don’t show off your na-nas (cause your na-nas are meant for you and the select few), one-piece suits with cutouts and, if you have noticed the suits that we are rockin’ in this shoot, one of them even has a hood. Thought is actually being put into the style of swimwear. The days of two triangles and a barely-there bottom with no real art put into it are done, and thank God; not every body and not everybody wants to wear something they can’t feel comfortable walking along the beach in, wondering what parts of them might accidentally be showing.
The thing is, people, we are all unique. My big secret I wanted to share is this: I don’t think you know how absolutely effin’ stunning you are. Yeah, YOU! How do I know? ‘Cause I know—I’ve seen you, and man, you are beautiful! There isn’t a thing about you I would change. You don’t have to be a size two—you are so gorgeous the way you are. When is the last time you looked in the mirror in a swimsuit and said, “Yeah, you’ve got it! You’re a beautiful human being, ‘cause there is no one else like you!”… Well, if it’s been a while—or if you NEVER have—then do it now. It feels reeeeealllly good.
I am okay with myself, whether in an itty-bitty cutout swimsuit or in a grungy Nirvana shirt with my favourite jeans and heels that could kill a man if need be. The point is, there isn’t a box with a bow on it that you need to fit into; you are bigger than that box, you are greater, and you were made to come out of that box and show the world what you’ve got. Be you, okay? Be free, and be the best you that you possibly can be, ‘cause that’s the way I like you best. And you know, no one else does you better than you do.
There isn’t another one like ya’.
So get out your ‘50s-style swimwear, grab your two-piece or your onesie, and get it on and get out into the water, or maybe even cook some dinner in it. Do whatever feels comfortable to you, because the only person allowed to judge you is you, and we both know you look great.
Remember, life is beautiful and so are you, so dress accordingly, ‘kay?
Photography by the genius Mr. Mike Phillips
Makeup by the one and only Sara Lindsay. Fab job, eh?
Hair by the numero uno Sheena Huber—she rocks mad styles
Models: Alex Beautiful Martin (beautiful isn’t her real middle name but it should be) and Nicole Drayton (what a babe)…Oh and yeah, me
Styling by the girl from the story… ooops… moi
Swimwear: Black cutout by Victoria’s Secret; Black hooded suit by American Apparel; two-toned suit by American Apparel
This post is dedicated to my dear friend, Chaelah Webster: you inspire me to be me, and it’s people like you that make this world a more wonderful place to be. You are truly beautiful, inside and out.