“Mommy!” my daughter gasped urgently. “Look, she’s a mermaid…” There was reverence and surprise in her voice.
Imagine meeting a mermaid here!
“Yes, she is…. now, shhhhhh,” I responded.
I held my breath waiting for my little girl with no filter to say something about the woman’s size. She was probably close to 400 pounds and she was wearing a two piece bright purple and turquoise mermaid swim suit like it was the most natural thing in the world.
Mercifully my daughter said nothing more. Instead she snuggled up against me wrapped in her towels and fell asleep, smiling. I am grateful that she and the towels completely cover up my thighs.
I found myself very jealous of that woman. If I could have even half of that confidence, I could…
But then, I remembered, what I saw was probably only just the tip of the iceberg so to speak. What kind of ugly things had been uttered by people under their breath as she walked by? Was she really, truly confident or was her swim suit an act of defiance, a f**k you to the world wrapped up in flashy purple and turquoise lame fabric? I would never know the reality of what lies beneath.
In contrast to the mermaid, there was a woman who must have been a size 4 standing in the wave pool with a voluminous hot pink coverup who looked so incredibly self conscious and miserable. I felt and understood her pain. She hid her body but did not succeed in hiding her discomfort.
“Nothing makes a woman more beautiful than the belief she is beautiful.” —Sophia Loren
I looked around me at the hundreds of other men and women, bodies of all shapes and sizes and the swimsuits of all sorts, each one an act of courage. Bacne, surgical scars, stretch marks, cellulite, fat rolls, belly bulges, love handles, etc. all exposed.
My body is a blessing.
“You are the best looking woman out here,” he whispers in my ear as I take off my cover up. I’m not. The mermaid is, but I love that he can make me feel like he believes it is the truth.
So I decide to walk around like I am, like I really do believe I am beautiful in my deep cobalt blue velvet one piece swimsuit. I don’t like my body but that is OK. I am not this body. I am not this swimsuit.
I am beautiful.