So, I was raised in a very strict religious home. Not the kind where you can’t even dance like in Footloose, but the kind where I was taught to be modest, and to keep my arms and legs covered, and any other part of my body that might try to peek out from some part of clothing that went awry. I didn’t even get my ears pierced until I was 21 years old out of respect for my dear Mama because she believed the body was a temple and you should never desecrate a temple like that. (I might add here it was just last winter I got my first ever, maybe last? Tattoo) Just to set the stage for the reason for this blog I guess.
I was a thin child really, and taller than everyone in my class, even the boys. I started gaining weight when I hit that maturation point where your body starts growing and so does your appetite. You know the thing, where the boys all sound like Peter Brady and the girls get to go to J.C. Penney with their Mama and pick out a new “Training Bra”. (What they train and to do what I have yet to find out.) Mine never did what I wanted them to, which was to stay perky, so I gave up. Anyhow, at that point in my life I began gaining weight and just didn’t stop eating when my body was finished growing.
As has been established, I was taught to be modest, as most of the girls of that era were. As has also been established in an earlier blog, I am 90% Mermaid. So, when a Mermaid wants to go swimming, they must go swimming!!! But while all the other girls, or so it seemed to me at the time, were able to wear cute swimming suits, some of them even two-piece! (Bikini mania had not yet hit the scene…) I was stuck in an ugly one-piece bathing suit. I was miserable in it. Before I hit that “thing” it wasn’t so bad because I was younger and didn’t understand fashion much, except for what Marsha and Cindy Brady were wearing to school. And I was thin enough that I fit into any bathing suit with ease. But as I got older and put on quite a bit of weight, like 100 pounds, from fifth grade to seventh grade, I really noticed how little and cute the other girls were in their bathing suits, and I felt like a 30-year-old frump. (30 was the oldest I could think of without thinking Grandma-aged)
So, let’s just say for debate’s sake, would I have felt comfortable in a two-piece bathing suit at that age and that size? 100 pounds larger than every other kid? I don’t think so, but the fact that my mother would never allow it was another thing. I wanted to fit in so badly! My Mama was the best Mama in the world. She made most of my clothes growing up and even into high school. Even though I wanted a two-piece bathing suit, I knew I would never have one in this lifetime. I found myself having to wear the “Old Lady” one-piece suit. It was the only one that would fit me. It was blue with GREAT BIG GAWD AWFUL BRIGHT COLORED FLOWERS all over it. It also had a peplum that was just shy of being cute and too big to be dainty. The suit crept up my you know what and the straps fell down where my not yet well-defined shoulders were supposed to be. I could only synch them up so far, but sooner or later they would fall down again. Usually it happened right in front of someone, like a “stud” I was trying to impress with my incredible Mermaid skills, or the kids that teased me relentlessly at school. Regardless, when that happened, it was just shy of a Janet Jackson-Justin Timberlake incident at the Super Bowl. HUMILIATING!!
Well, I guess you can see where this bus is heading…. The rest of my whole life I knew it would never be acceptable for me to wear a two-piece bathing suit, or now days called a bikini. I knew it, and I knew in my heart of hearts that everyone else knew it too. That was burned into my brain with a branding iron so hot I could feel it sear my skin. I would always be resigned to the “Old Lady” bathing suits for the rest of my natural born life.