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”.