I cancelled my life and went to the beach.
My parent’s have a beach house that they just renovated. And I came down for the end of summer wanting a bit of nothingness while my family was still around even though I’ve never been much of a beach fan.
My mom, dad, sister and cousins where here for a few days, but now it is just me and my 25 year old brother who has an afternoon job selling ice cream from a big yellow truck a few shore towns over. My (way younger) sister and parents went back home to get her ready to move into her first year of college.
I’ve always said, “Oh, well I don’t care about the beach.” Because lying in the hot sun, trying to get a tan on skin I didn’t want to have to show anyway, and staring at the sky for hours never really did it for me.
Bringing books just to read them while I bake also doesn’t do it for me.
Lugging umbrellas and chairs and bringing a whole bag of gear to cover myself up and lather on sandy sunscreen also isn’t my game.
I still have always hated the hassle of the suits and the sunscreen and the sand and the peeing and the hunger and the thirst and the lugging and the carrying and the heat and the sand and the boredom.
But I hated the beach mostly because I hated my body, I hated being nearly naked with big boobs I didn’t want, not fitting into anything I bought around my family and parents and aunts and uncles, wearing grey tankinis in high school the color of my miserable teenage soul, nearly matching my pale teenage drama camp skin. From age 14 on, I hated the beach.
And I never needed to wear sunscreen, because I never stayed at the beach longer than 30 minutes.
But this time I had a beach awakening.
The beach is amazing. This house is amazing. My family is even amazing sometimes, especially when they leave me here alone staring out to the beach, writing on my computer.
First of all I don’t care about my body anymore. I even pointed out an old stretch mark to my brother the other day.
“Hey look at this!”
“Yea, what IS that?”
“It’s an old stretch mark, you get them when your gain or lose weight really fast.”
When I have old thoughts and worries about people judging my body, my brain now counters with “…and?”
Not going to the beach meant I never needed to worry about my bikini line. And so going to the beach was always an UGH WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO ABOUT THIS SHAVING ALMOST LOOKS WORSE?! But this summer I stopped caring about a perfectly groomed bikini line and decided to be a little risky, and also just embrace the razor burn and/or cover it up with sand or something. Nobody cares. I also decided that I would just suck it up and get a bikini wax next year if I have a set beach time again. Why not.
I decided that it is great to be tired on the beach, being tired ruins the potential for boredom, because you get to just lie there.
And you’re tired because the night before, your cousin insisted you come out to the beach bar on a Friday night where everyone tries to meet their hammered future Jersey-Philly husbands because that’s where their parents met. And so you go out and stand in a lame circle: you, her, and our male cousin, unable to have a conversation yelling over the music, drinking a vodka tonic, not because you like vodka tonics but because that was what the pack wanted, looking at the bachelorette party playing spin the bottle dancing, their shirts say “squats? I thought you said SHOTS!”, watching the bar fill up more and more til it’s hard to move, and then finally at 12:30, the one vodka wore off I get in my car and drive a half an hour back to this little dry Quaker beach town.
So the next day you lie on the beach. Oh this is actually nice. You lie on the beach longer than you normally do. Longer than you ever have before. Hours. It’s so nice. Warm. Relaxing. The water is nice. The sun is nice. You think of going back to the house but your other cousins come down, you stay longer. More water. More lying. Talking. The beach is AMAZING! It’s fun! It’s about doing nothing! Lying around! Digging your feet in sand!
And you forget that normal people wear sunscreen at the beach. People who lie down for more than 10 minutes at a time.
And your midsection hasn’t seen much of the sun in 13 years. And so now you’re fucked.
To be continued in a post called “Hell’s Itch & Plumbers”. I can’t write it now because my friend Annie is arriving to NOT go out in the sun with me. Bye.