Monday, July 5, 2010

Bathing Suits

Hmm, so this entry needs to start with a disclaimer/warning. It is going to be a bit emotional, but more so it may have trigger elements if you have/do self-harm. I don't say that to sound dramatic, I say it because there is a community of women and men that struggle with this issue and require a heads-up when the subject pops up online. If we are not in the right head-space to deal with some heavy-duty shit, a warning gives us the option to skip over it. SO, now you know.

Bathing Suits. As a woman, they are innately stressful. You find one that finally covers your ass nicely, but not too modestly and the tops are itty-bitty and not in a fun, sexy way. You finally find something that fits like a glove but it happens to only come in neon green that reflects putridly on your pale, pale skin and clashes with your red, red hair. Okay, MY pale, pale skin and MY red, red hair. Point it, bikinis, tankinis, and suits are a mean beast to tame all on their own let alone approach when you have marks you want to cover up.
Last summer I didn't really spend any time in a just a suit. I layered shorts over the bottoms or stayed wrapped up somehow. In fact, the same went for the year prior and prior to that, etc. Not because I felt fat (although, let's be real, I had my terrified moments of "wait how much skin that jiggles am I thinking of showing?!" here and there) but because I had welts, red marks, jagged edges. I cut in the same places and over the same scars for a few years. I couldn't show the scars because, they weren't just scars. They were scars layered with new cuts. New and sad and painful.
There was no question what I would do when summer came those years. I would wear shorts. Or pants. And not get in the pool, not get in the river... Hold back more than I wanted because some one might see and the chlorine might burn too much.

This year I am hurt free, except for the memory suggested by old scars. Little and not so little white lines lightening across my hip and thigh. Some raised like a melted marshmallow smooshed out the edge of a smore by the campfire when I pull my legs in, some indented like a river bed gone dry when I stretch my legs out on my towel in the sun.

So what do I do about these lines? Will people notice? If they do, will they comment, ask, change how they interact with me? Worst of all, will they pity me? I can't stand that.

I don't have the answer about how I should deal with it really. So far I have only been in a bathing suit around people I trust and they didn't even seem to notice so perhaps there is nothing to worry about. Maybe I am the only one who sees the ridges of pain on my skin and maybe that is a blessing. The other week I asked the Boyfriend if it looked bad and obvious as we got ready for sunbathing and pool time at a friends house. He said you could hardly see them unless you were as close as only he should be getting to my upper thighs and even then, they were good friends and it was okay and you are beautiful. If he hadn't been there to say those nice things I would have gone in my high-cut black swimsuit anyway, but it helped to have it told to me before I stepped outside into the balmy summer air.
Truth? I love my scars. I touch them sometimes, running my finger-pads along their length to remember what I went through to do such things to my soul's carrier, to my temple. As a reminder to not do it again, but also as a homage to those old pains, struggles, hatreds, longings, worries, fucked-up moments. I can't ignore them and I don't want anyone who cares for me to pretend they don't exist either. You don't have to mention them if they flash in the sun this summer, but just know they are there for a reason and although I never, ever want to go back I am proud that they are a sign of how I made it through.

Yes, I am that pale. Suck it.

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