Sometimes I have written about a topic and then months later something sparks the topic again. I will have a fleeting thought or a solid, stick around and wallow around in it thought. This thought was exactly that. I may have touched on it in one of my previous posts, or I may not have. I don’t know what prompted it or why I thought of it. I just did.
It was junior high. It was at the YMCA. The Y was at the Masonic Temple building beside the Zesto. The Y was in the basement of the building and that is where everyone hung out. It was fun, it was social and it was discovering. We didn’t know who we were yet. We didn’t know what we wanted to be or where we wanted to go in life. Life was carefree and fun. Teenage angst and teenage problems.
It was a time in life when body image for me started to rear its ugly head. A time in life when it seemed like everyone around me was skinny. I was athletic. I felt bigger. I was muscular. I felt huge.
I try to trace back the lines. They are too jagged and too convoluted to follow. I want to know what started it. I can’t find it. I want to know why. I can’t see it. The trace starts here and the thought shoots to another time and then another.
I was talking to a friend named Dennis. I was sitting on the wall and he was standing talking to me. I was wearing shorts and I looked down at my thighs. You know how thighs look when you are sitting down. They looked massive. They looked fat. They made me feel insecure and they made me feel strange. I immediately put my hands underneath my thighs to the side of my thighs so they wouldn’t look so big. I know he didn’t notice, or if he did, he didn’t care. I wasn’t trying to impress him, we were just friends. I was trying to impress myself, I guess. The thoughts, so strange and now they seem so foreign. I am past that point, thank God. I am past that point of caring what people think about me. I can own myself. I can own my own skin. I don’t have to feel validated by anyone.
The next thought from there travels to the football field. Behind the football field by the railroad tracks in the trees. Dennis is there again and a few other people, Pat and others I can’t remember. We called the valley in the trees California and Czechoslovakia The drinking place. The place where kids went to drink. I had my first beer there. PBR or Pabst Blue Ribbon if being specific.
The next thought thread travels out to the dam. Swimming and having fun. Same people. Same carefreeness of teenagers. Good times with good people. Remembering being self-conscious about wearing a swimming suit. Wondering how I looked, feeling and emotion tied in with the wonder. Trying not to care. Always caring.
Fleeting thoughts of always wanting to look better. Fleeting thoughts of always wanting to fit in. Always better friends with the boys than the girls. Fleeting thoughts, still trying to trace back the lines.