We had fun spending the day in Miami Beach on New Year’s Eve, and the single hour that we spent on the actual beach was eye opening for me.  As you may know from my past swimsuit reviews, I am not a bikini person.  That’s because I don’t have this woman’s body.

Friends have told me that one-pieces make them feel old, but I couldn’t understand what they were talking about until I saw these women.

That’s when I looked around and realized that almost every woman on the beach was wearing a bikini–and very few of them had the perfect body of the woman in my first photograph.

Seeing these women made me reconsider–maybe I can wear a bikini.  Interestingly, the figure “flaw” that I notice in most of these photos has nothing to do with breast size.  It’s the womanly tummies.  If these women can wear bikinis despite not having perfectly flat abdomens, so can I.

We would have stayed on the beach longer, but we hadn’t brought sunscreen and were dying to find a bathroom.  We found one in a CVS, right next to their magazine rack.  After seeing the freedom of the women on the beach, I felt offended for them when I saw these magazine covers.

I couldn’t quite articulate what I thought and felt, but then I found this photo and quote on Linda the Bra Lady’s Facebook page that she found on the Healthy is the New Skinny blog that they found in November’s O Magazine.  The quotes are excerpted from a “Dear Every Woman” letter from novelist Amy Bloom.

You cannot be a healthy person, let alone hope for healthy children, if you sigh and moan every time you encounter your own image, eat a cookie, or see an airbrushed model on a billboard. Even if it amounts to wholesale pretending, go pretend. Walk around pretending to be a woman who likes her body… Because every step toward self-love you take, and every inch of confidence you give someone’s daughter, makes the world a better place….

You are imperfect, permanently and inevitably flawed. And you are beautiful.

I’ve been walking around like a woman who likes her body ever since reading this. I hope you will, too.