Chicago. January 2011.
A few months after my visit to Chicago, I would be going to California with my mom to see my cousin (who is actually my mom’s goddaughter, but whatever, I consider her a blood relative because she’s awesome and I love her).
My mom had been talking about the California beaches and how excited she was to get her feet into the ocean and so on. So naturally, I was panicking.
Don’t get me wrong, I loooooove being near the ocean, but I’ve never gotten into it.* I mean first of all, swimming and I aren’t exactly best friends (being that it has almost killed me a couple times), and secondly, bathing suits.
Oh, bathing suits.
I’d be like, “What-the-fuck-EVER!” but even now, I’d be self-conscious in a bathing suit.
So, back in Chicago, I had the perfect opportunity to try to remedy my fear of bathing suits, because I was in the states, and the states has Torrid stores (a must for any plus-sized beauty). On one of my last days in town, Margaret took me to Torrid so that I could (A) shop to my heart’s content, and (B) maybe find a bathing suit for California.
There were so many totally cute options, but a lot of them still looked like they would be highlighting some of my personal “Eek!” spots, i.e., the parts of my body that I personally struggle with. (THIIIIGHS.) I tried my best to throw caution to the wind and just try them on anyway. I wouldn’t know until I put them on, right?
Right. Except they did just what I thought.
“How’s it going in there?” Mags asked supportively from outside my fitting room.
“Uhhhh…I’m not feeling good about this.”
“What part of it?”
“My boobs are falling out of it. Oh, that and MY THIGHS.”
“Maybe a bigger top?”
“Yeah, probably. Oh yeah, but MY THIGHS.”
“What about a cover up?” She offered.
“How do you mean?”
SIDENOTE: Guys, I’m not a very beach-fashion-aware person. This is about to become painfully evident, but I’m just warning you now.
“You know, like you can get a little sheer dress or tunic or even a long maxi dress to cover up on the beach. Like if you don’t want to just walk around in a bathing suit because only crazy people do that.”
MY INNER MONOLOGUE: “HALLELUJAH.”
“Yeah, of course!”
“And then can I wear it into the water?!”
Silence fell between us.
Despite the fitting room door between us, I could sense Margaret’s facial expression: eyes wide, eyebrows raised, lips in the shape of a tiny, “oh (dear God).” Her glance would be shifting, searching for words. All that came out was:
“Do people not do that?” I asked, trying to squeeze my tits into another tankini top.
“Well…” Mags searched for the words, “I mean, it’s a cover up…so…you don’t wear it into the water…”
“Why not?” I gasped for air, wondering if I’d be able to get out of the tankini top without having to force Margaret to help me. My mind raced through the logistics of that process: she’d need to keep her eyes closed, because I definitely wasn’t ready for her to see me naked.
“Well, I mean…that would just be like wearing clothes…into the ocean…”
A few moments later, I emerged from the fitting room, back in clothes.
“I totally can’t do this.”
The following day. Or week. Or even just a few hours later.
Margaret turned to me and said, “Remember when you asked me if you could wear your beach cover up into the water?”
And we laughed like crazy.
Lesson learned: BFFs are the people who don’t laugh at you for saying stupid, stupid shit. Or they do, but in a totally loving way.
*Okay, I’ve stood in it. That’s it.
P.S. My mom did get to dip her feet into the ocean, but that was the extent of it. Part of it was my fault, because I ended up having a horrible flu the entire time we were in California. The fact that my flu did not sour my love of California makes me sure my love of that place is genuine. The end.