I took the kids to Kalahari Waterpark Resort Convention Center in Sandusky, OH, over the weekend. We met friends there and had a soggy, loud, stellar time. (Five adults to seven kids ranging in age from 5 to 10 is just about right.)
On the way there, my kids asked me, “Mom, do you even have a swimsuit? We haven’t seen you wear one in years.” I realized I could go an entire summer in NYC without ever putting on a suit once. And while that certainly allowed me to ignore some of my bodily flaws, it wasn’t very good for making summer feel like summer. I wanted to be damp and smell like chlorine for hours and hours, as one does in the summertime.
Enter Kalahari. People with kids rave about it, so when my friends suggested a trip I signed us up. And packed my swimsuit, unworn in several years. And then I actually put on that swimsuit, and walked into the waterpark.
Wow. Bodies of all shapes and sizes. Outfits of all shapes and fabric contents. Tattoos of all sizes and locations. I was simultaneously repulsed and intrigued sheerly by the volume of bare skin all in one place. It was overwhelming. Fortunately we found the table my friends had staked out and I could look at their eyes while I talked to them.
It was a real education, that waterpark. Women who had amazing bodies hiding them under t-shirts, slouching over so as not to be noticed. Men who should have been completely covered letting it all hang out. Knees, cleavage, smalls of backs. By the time we went back to our rooms to get ready to go to dinner (shoutout to the pizza buffet at Chet and Matt’s Pizza that kept all twelve of us happy) I was body-weary and just tired of other people.
The next morning I headed back into the breach, but by then I barely noticed anymore. And, strangely, I didn’t think about myself, either. I stopped worrying about my thighs and belly, about how I’ve lost ten pounds but still have a lot more to go. I almost felt normal. While I was in the hot tub I saw a woman come in wearing a bikini, and realized she was the same size I am. Wearing a bikini.
It’s all a lot to get my mind around. I know I’m not ready to wear a bikini. Yet. But if I lose some more weight and do a lot more exercise and find one that’s cut exactly right, maybe.
But probably only to the waterpark.
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