Bathing suit season for me, like many women,
is used to be stressful.
It’s a lot easier to hide the imperfections I loathe when I can cover them up with regular clothes. Swimsuits are the great equalizer.
Before we lived along the coast, Mr. Andi would humor my fretting over my swim suit before every beach trip until the point when he would finally decide I had worked myself into enough of a frenzy and would gently remind me that everyone has imperfections, and that I would be pleasantly surprised at how I “stacked up” once we arrived at our destination.
He was always right, of course, and though my body isn’t what it used to be, I learned long ago that if I’m going to compare myself with other women it should be ones my own age – not 20-year-olds (who’ve never given birth) on the hunt for a surfer type.
Now that we live on the coast, I care much less about how I look in a swimsuit, mostly because I spend so much more time in one and want to be comfortable (and I think I’ve just reached the age where I don’t much care anymore).
Living where we do, we no longer take week long vacations at the beach – we just go when we feel like it for the day (or half day). We also don’t go to the same beaches we used to frequent. We’ve shunned the crowded condo areas and opt instead for a quiet location populated mostly with locals. There are no swim up bars, no snack stands, and no beach chairs for rent. Everyone brings their own chairs, umbrellas, snacks, and drinks, and we see the same faces over and over again.
At th beginning of the summer, Mr. Andi and I jokingly dubbed the heavily tourist areas “Boob Job Beach” and our little corner of paradise “Inner Beauty Beach.” I know it sounds a little snobby and a lot tacky (and let’s face it, a wee bit vulgar, as well) – especially for people who aren’t even natives – but it had less to do with the level of augmentation going on and more to do with my (former) obsession with finding the perfect suit.
And the fact that we aren’t fancy.
(Let me state for the record that I have nothing against breast augmentation, but sometimes we see some folks in the tourist areas who are SERIOUSLY augmented. I’m just sayin’.)
As the summer has progressed, I’ve realized that our little inside joke is not far off the mark. At “our” beach, we’ve encountered multiple individuals with Down syndrome, a welcoming cadre of friendly beach goers who have yet to give our slightly unusual family an odd glance, a lady with a gargantuan scar running across her abdomen (kudos to her for wearing a bikini!), and a seagull without a foot (see the photo above).
We might see all of these things at the tourist beaches – people come in an amazing array of shapes, sizes and stories – but it’s at Inner Beauty Beach that I’ve noticed them. I don’t think it’s only because I have children with special needs, because we made many beach trips with Sarah Kate before, so I’ve been tuned into the different for a long time. Instead, I think it’s because our beach attracts a different type of people than do the tourist-centered ones.
With all of the fluff stripped away, Inner Beauty Beach isn’t appealing to the youthful party crowd or the folks who need lots of amenities, or pretty much anyone looking to hook up. The people who come there are the ones who just want a relaxing day on a beautiful beach.