Today, I had a day off from school, and so I:
1) Went bathing suit shopping
2) Hung out with my 7-week-old niece, Tessa.
Bathing suit shopping was, true to stereotype, more about function than fun. But, remember when it was? Remember when it meant VACATION and SUMMER and POOLS and BEACHES, and not CHANGE or DOUBT or HIDE?
In honor of Tessa, and the only bathing suit-related feelings I hope she ever knows, an abbreviated history of My Fabulous Life in Swimsuits.
– Magenta One-Piece: One color, but oh what a color it was. My sister, 19-months younger than me, had the exact same suit. We spent most of the summer fielding the question, “Oh, are you twins?” to my horror and her delight.
– Regency Estates Swim Club Swim Team Speedo, black background with jazzy red, yellow, and blue stripes. The first time I tried swim team, at 5, I swam precisely to the midpoint of the pool, grabbed on to the lane divider, and refused to move a muscle more. Then, three years later, they introduced this suit. I joined the team, and spent most of the next 7 summers in the pool. “Everybody swims, everybody wins, so let’s have fun!”
– Fluorescent orange, green, and pink color-block swimsuit, purchased at the Dolphin Cove swim shop on Hatteras Island, only the swankiest swim and souvenir shop on this tiny island. Midway through vacation, my mother realized that one swimsuit per kid was not going to cut it, and I got this incredibly sophisticated, it-girl swimsuit for the rest of the summer. Nothing sets off that nut brown tan that only kids can achieve like fluorescent orange, believe you me.
– My first two piece swim suit, a hand-me-down from my cousin Johanna. It had a big tropical flower on the top, against a bluey-purpley background, and I stood nearly paralyzed by the side of the high-dive, terrified of what would happen when I jumped off in that thing.
– My first real bikini, red with little white flowers, cute but so small! I wore it as often as I could, feigning nonchalance while inside I said to myself, eyes big, “LOOK HOW GROWN UP YOU ARE!” There’s a picture from a spring break camping trip senior year in high school. I’m wearing the top, and jean shorts, and the boy I had a huge crush on is staring right out me, as I beam at the camera. Oh, god. High school.
Tessa, I can’t wait to take you swimming, and watch you enjoy summer, and sun, and your own strength.