I left my dorm to head to class one morning and suddenly stopped to stare at the colorful, Spring Break-themed sidewalk chalkboard sign sitting outside of the convenience store across from my building.

As soon as I read the passive-aggressive message on the sign, I began to feel a bit ticked off. Just what were the offending words? The implied meaning is what really matters, but it was subtle:

“Spring Break is Around the Corner! Try Some HEALTHY snacks!”

Now, there is nothing wrong with “healthy” snacks. To be honest, some of the brands listed sounded pretty yummy. I could definitely go for some Tate’s Bakeshop cookies right about now.

But, by putting “spring break” and “healthy” into the same sentence, the overall message was unacceptable. To me, the words actually meant “You better start losing weight because spring break is meant to be spent in a bikini, and you can’t rock one with the body you have now.”

I realized then that as a college student, I have officially entered the age where spring break is the spring break, the one from the movies and magazines. A time for beach days, fruity mixed drinks, hook-ups, and ‘hot’ bodies.

The advertisements that come along with Spring Break promote the ridiculous “bikini body” ideal, which, for women, basically means tanned bodies with tiny waists. There is not enough attention given to the more positive message of “slap a bikini on your body and you got yourself a bikini body."

After the sidewalk sign sighting, I began to see and hear those messages everywhere: On plastic surgery and fat-freezing billboards, website ads, and articles written by college students themselves.

Even fitness instructors at the gym, most of whom I admired for being so body-positive, shouted things like “SPRING BREAK! GET THAT HOT BOD!” during the classes.

That was during last week, National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. But, because the school celebrated it a week earlier, I guess it was perfectly okay for the employees to stop all efforts to be body-positive.

I will admit, I myself have thought that maybe my body isn’t as thin as it was a few months ago, or maybe I could try squeezing in more hours at the gym, or attempt to work at getting abs for once.

But my new, healthy, body-positive mindset overpowers that negativity and reminds me that I am at my happy weight, and that is the hottest weight anyone can be.

I am not going to spend my Spring Break punishing myself for not working hard enough for a ‘better’ body, and you shouldn't either. 

Spring Break, when you strip away the images of how beach bodies are ‘supposed’ to look, is about fun. It’s about the joy of being halfway through the spring semester and having a relaxing break to recharge, soak up some sunshine, and enjoy yourself, carefreely.

Your “Spring Break Body” isn’t a particular shape or size or shade of tan. It is your beautiful body, carrying you across the sand, jumping in the waves, tasting ice cream, feeling new land beneath you as you travel, savoring the extra sleep in the mornings, taking in the magic of wherever you are and the love of whoever you are surrounded with.

Your Spring Break Body is your happy body, and no diet or workout or self-hatred will allow you to ‘get’ it. You have already arrived at that body, it’s already yours, if you just embrace it.

Spread the body love and positivity this Spring Break by sharing what your happy body looks like on your adventures using the hashtag #ThisIsMySpringBreakBody.