I am sitting on the beach in Barcelona.
I am sitting on the beach, and for the first time in the three years since I outgrew my last one, I regret that I do not own a bathing suit. The day is warm, the water is clear, and I am surrounded by locals and tourists in varying states of abandon, basking in the sunlight.
And here I am, wearing too much clothing.
I have never felt self-conscious for this reason before. Too little clothing, yes. The wrong clothing for a given setting, yes. But this is new.
This is a sign of growing up, I think.
I am lying on the beach in Newport.
I am lying on the beach, in the bikini I bought after I returned from my Europe trip, and I am watching my friends play volleyball. They don’t care that the sunlight might be too harsh on their unflattering angles—they’re just having a good time.
And here I am, refusing to participate because I am afraid of what people might think of my untanned skin or the fact that I don’t have visible abs.
I have felt self-conscious for this reason for most of my life. It has held me in a prison of my own making, stifling my ability to live a fully-embraced life.
I don’t want that to be true anymore. I don’t want to watch my own life pass me by because the circumstances aren’t ideal or because I haven’t arrived at some arbitrary destination yet.
I get up and join the game.