July’s Optiscope

Contributor: Ann Poorboy

An optimist rocks the body they have while they work on the body they want. So free yourself of the self body shame, and advocate for everyone’s right to feel sensual and alive in their own skin. Embrace a little self-acceptance this weekend and give yourself permission to not only ADMIT that you have quirks, but also to embrace and celebrate them.

We all have individual lumps, bumps, curves, swerves, scars and such. On a personal note, I remember my husband walking in to the bathroom and asking me what all those bruises were. They weren’t bruises they were cellulite. We’ve all had those moments about one body part or another, but let’s not our imperfections take up more of our emotional energy than our perfections. We’re going to take self-shame out of that game. With “bikini season” fully upon us, we’re delving into your horoscope to help you understand and dismantle the sign-specific anxieties that could tempt you to hide during the year’s most social and celebratory season.  

ARIES:

As confident as you may come across, many Aries can be secretly neurotic or anxious, spending way too much time in your head. You’re a competitive sign who likes to be the best at all you do, and if you can’t win, you’d rather not play the game. Well, THAT is no way to go through summer! Ultimately, you’re a leader, and if we’re going to transform the world’s narrow beauty standards, someone has to make a radical first move. Yep, Aries, it might just be you (again). Some of the greatest trailblazers of the zodiac share your sign. So get this (pool) party started. Be the first one to cannonball off the diving board.

TAURUS:

As the zodiac’s most sensual and sensory sign, you are one of the signs most prone to body image issues. Although you may exude confidence, you can be privately stressed about wanting to look perfect, spending hours getting ready (and missing the damn pool party or barbecue with your fretting). You’ve got great taste, Taurus, so spend a little more on your swimsuit, sexy cover-up, sandals and chic resort wear. Having impeccable style—and yes, a little couture—always gives you a confidence boost. Hey, you’re worth the high-end summer splurge…and if you really have to rationalize it, well-made clothes last longer and are a better investment. Make a ritual of getting ready, rubbing sunscreen into your skin, and sipping iced tea with a slice of orange. Then know when enough’s enough and run to the beach or pool while the sun is still shining.

GEMINI:

Embrace the eclectic, Gemini. Being the sign of the Twins, you’re the mix-and-match royalty of the zodiac—so enhance your complexity instead of trying to hide it. Maybe you’ve got a tiny chest with a badonkadonk bottom, or matchstick legs with pendulous pecs. Symmetry is overrated, Gem. Don’t be afraid of being “too much”—because you already are, so just own it…and work it! Play up every feature you want. Rock swimwear in eye-popping colors and “clashing” patterns (camouflage bottoms and gingham top? Why not?). On anyone else, it could be a fashion faux pas, but on you, it’s sartorial genius. If you’re in a social setting, get everyone to laugh and relax by starting an interesting conversation or saying something so out-there that it loosens up the stiff and self-conscious vibe.

CANCER:

We won’t cue the tired “crab hiding in a shell” metaphor to explain your sign’s aversion to swimsuit season. But…if the crustacean cover-up fits…well, maybe you still shouldn’t wear it. Your sign is ruled by the moody moon, which draws you to sandy beaches and ocean tides like a siren’s call. But are you even enjoying your cosmic home turf? For better or worse, your sign rules the chest and stomach, which means you’re either the first one to rip off your T-shirt…or you’re cowering under a terry towel and a strategically ruched tankini. Enough tummy-shame, Cancer! Take your style cues from sexy belly dancers, who rock their rolls and entice with their ample abdomens. Adorn your midsection with jewels and chains, or wrap a filmy scarf around your waist.

LEO:

Oh my, everyone is looking at you! Um…no they’re not, Leo. Your sign is ruled by the Sun, which means you OWN summer. But like that great ball o’ fire, you may fancy yourself the center of the solar system. That can manifest as either swagger OR extreme self-consciousness. We recommend you choose the first option. Own the beach like a self-anointed mayor of that sandy surfer’s paradise, and get to know, well, everyone. Use your warmth to make others feel welcomed and at ease. Do THAT and you won’t have time to think about how your ass looks in your swimsuit.

VIRGO:

Pick, pick, pick. You’re the zodiac’s perfectionist and you want to look #flawless in the eyes of your beach beholders. And since you’re your own worst critic, this can be a slippery slope. For you, body anxiety is shortcode for social anxiety, which Virgos have in spades. It doesn’t matter if you look like Beyonce (also a Virgo)—your nervous energy will trump your ability to enjoy basking in sunshine. It might also make other people edge away from you as you fret or nervously chatter their ears off. Take a deep breath. And another one. Do a few hip circles to ground yourself (maybe in private). Listen to your favorite music. Virgo is also the sign of service. At a party, help the host greet people, pass out drinks or towel off kids. Being useful helps you ease into the scene and shift your focus off of yourself.

LIBRA:

Are my bikini straps symmetrically aligned? Did I miss a spot on my legs while waxing? Were my lash extensions damaged by the chlorine in the swimming pool? Body consciousness brings out the vanity in your sign, Libra, but there’s something deeper at play. Instead of worrying about your contouring (of your makeup AND your figure), go make some friends. Your sign’s social skills can be unparalleled and you have a knack for putting people at ease. To paraphrase your signmate Gandhi, be the change you wish to see in the swimming pool. Compliment people’s swimsuits, cover-ups, backstrokes and summer glow. Before you know it, you’ll get the same accolades in return. But also, Libra, remember that your sign can be overly reliant on compliments to feel good about yourself. Listen to some self-love affirmations by fellow Libra Louise Hay. Then give inner peace—and your two-piece—a chance.

SCORPIO:

See but don’t be seen? Yeah, we’ve spotted you hiding between those opaque black sunglasses and mirrored aviators, Scorpio. I know you well because I’m one too. You look sexy but impenetrable—and frankly, it seems kind of lonely. Scorpio is the sign of power and control. The trouble with that? You’re painfully aware of hierarchies and can get stuck sizing up (and protecting) your place on the food chain. The downside? Obsessing over social rank prevents you from connecting with people, making friends and having fun. It stops you from being vulnerable and getting past superficial appearances. Really, Scorpio, life is too short for that. Remind yourself that most of this drama exists in your own imagination. Now get out of your head…and into the damn water.

SAGITTARIUS:

Thanks to Nicki Minaj (a fellow Sag) and a slew of other celebs, hips, thighs booties have come into vogue. Your sign happens to rule these areas of the body—which would be good news IF the “look” didn’t also require a tiny waist, a flat stomach and the disturbing absence of cellulite.  But you don’t need to torture yourself in a waist trainer (as if). Find a sexy-yet-comfortable suit that flatters your proportions and coloring, then wear it with attitude. Sagittarius is one of the zodiac’s most inclusive signs, so why not help change the cultural conversation about beauty by proudly flaunting your own figure at any size? Bring that unapologetic Sagittarius style to the fore. Bonus: Your blunt humor can also break the tension at stiff poolside gatherings.

CAPRICORN:

Standoffish much? When you feel self-conscious, your response is usually to become reserved, donning a poker face along with nondescript swimwear. But in your efforts to NOT be noticed, the opposite usually ensues: People start wondering, “Who is this person and why does she think she’s better than us?” Argh! You don’t (okay, maybe a tiny bit?). But in an unfortunate astrological lot, Capricorn insecurity can read as snobbery. When you feel threatened, you go overboard to make sure nobody knows it, holding your head high and marching past the chattering masses in your tasteful designer resort wear. Try this: Instead of retracting into yourself, make eye contact, smile and say hello to people. A little warmth and friendliness can spell the difference between being viewed as an ice queen or a sun goddess.

AQUARIUS:

You’re the sign of group activity, so it would take a lot to keep you from gabbing with your crew on the pool deck or leaping into an impromptu beach volleyball game. But Aquarians have a secret neurotic streak and you can be VERY body-conscious, comparing yourself to everyone around you. You’re a bit of a paradox, because although you’re highly individualistic, your sign also has a deep core need to belong. The tension between these two contrasting needs—to stand out and fit in all at the same time—can be a bit of a head trip that plays out as a body image breakdown. One easy solution is to hang out with people who adore you for who you are, instead of trying to join a (swim) club that wouldn’t have you as a member. Choose your tribe as discerningly as you’d select a bathing suit or a non-toxic, cruelty-free sunscreen.

PISCES:

You’re the zodiac’s Fish, the sign that’s most at home in water (or at least, right near it!). But since you’re also a HSP (highly sensitive person) by nature, you absorb other people’s energy easily. At the beach or poolside, you pick up vibes in a magnified way, which can throw you off your aquatic game and fuel self-consciousness—no matter how glamorous your getup may be. Center yourself before joining a group gathering. You might even want to do a little protection ritual to “shield your field” before going anywhere that’s not a private beach or swimming pool. Here’s what NOT to do: Knock back cocktails or wine to soothe your nerves. Your sign is famous for not knowing your limits, and you could easily surpass them, which will blur the very boundaries you’re trying to create.

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