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Column: Jen the beach bum? Maybe

I haven't owned a swimsuit since I was in high school.

That was 10 years ago.

Sad, I know. But I never was the girl who wanted to wear -- or who could fit into -- that yellow polka-dot bikini.

In college, my battle with tight-fitting materials that only covered my private parts intensified. Sure, bathing suit material stretches, but it can only hide so much.

Pool parties, the beach, tubing down the river were all out of the question for me.

If I absolutely had to go in the water, I did it wearing shorts and a T-shirt.

The way I saw it, there was no reason to make anyone else suffer the sight of my unhealthy and overweight body.

Plus, I had absolutely no self-confidence, a must if you want to rock your bathing suit.

Since losing 70 pounds, my confidence is back -- but I'm still terrified of swimming suits. I think it's a problem every woman has.

We feel like we have to be tan enough, fit enough, and busty enough to "look good" at the beach.

Well, my legs are too short, I'm only sort of tan, my bust isn't what it once was and -- let me just put it this way -- some skin doesn't exactly bounce back after losing lots of weight.

Where does that leave me?

I guess in the same boat as everyone else.

We all have our hangups. Some girls are embarrassed about their bra size, others will do anything they can to cover up their arms.

Me, I'm stomach-obsessed.

It's normal to be self-conscious about what we view as imperfections. It's not normal to avoid life because you can't see past those perceived flaws.

That's what I have been doing all those years avoiding swimsuits. I was missing out on a fun summer necessity -- cooling off at the beach or a friend's pool -- because I was too worried about looking "good enough" in Spandex.

News flash: About 99 percent of the population does not look good in Spandex.

Seriously though, nothing good came out of all those years I avoided the beach and the water in general. I missed out on good times.

I sat around feeling sorry for myself instead of making new memories.

I'm not saying I'm ready to take on a bikini. But, who knows? My drought at the beach may be over.