I want to be a mermaid again.

When I was young, my best friend had a pool, and we spent countless hours each summer turning into prunes and pretending we were mermaids. We practiced holding our feet together, flipping imaginary fins as we swam, or, more often, sat on the bottom of the shallow end, having a mermaid tea party.
Somewhere along the way, however, I grew too self-conscious of my body in a bathing suit, and I taught myself not to like the water. I’d never been a strong swimmer, so for years I was able to believe that I simply didn’t like being in the water, preferring to dip my toes in the ocean rather than submerge my whole self. Even when, a few years ago, I worked my way back down to a weight were I felt healthy and sexy, I still clung to the belief that I hated going into the water. As I slowly gained weight and lost confidence, it never even occurred to me to question my often-repeated mantra that “I just didn’t like to be in the water”.

b2ap3_thumbnail_beach1.jpgThen, last weekend, I had the opportunity to visit North Carolina’s Crystal Coast for a writing retreat. I’d never been to that shore before, and between leading yoga on the beach each morning, dipping my toes in the surf first thing, and walking on the beach in the evenings, I started itching to go into the water.

I want to be a mermaid again, but that doesn’t mean I want to swim a lot (still not my favorite thing). I want to walk into the waves, waist deep, chest deep, and open my arms to the swell and power of the ocean. I want to feel the salt water support me as I bob (close to shore, because even a mermaid is wary of sharks), letting all my cares flow into the water around me. There’s magic at the Crystal Coast, and the water there feels light and friendly and forceful all at the same time, and the next time I have an opportunity to visit that beach, I won’t let my negative self-talk keep me out of the water.


I’m ready to be a mermaid again.