Why I hate going to public pools and the beach.

April 4th, 2016, 8pm

I have always loved the water. In the water, I can just be. The water helps me stand and it helps me move in ways that I never could on land. If I’m having a floppy day, the water can hold me up. It doesn’t take me so much effort to move my legs, my legs are weightless and I can imagine for a moment that this is how everyone else moves like. I can pretend for a moment that I am normal.

Though I love the water, there is one part that I hate with every fiber of my being. The outfit. The outfit essentially puts up a large flashing arrow directed right at one part of my body I spend so much time trying to hide and ignore. If you checked, there is hardly any pictures of me in a bathing suit, because I cover up more when a camera appears when I’m in my bathing suit. I’ll throw a towel or sweater over me so my disability is hidden from view.

I have a g-tube so I have a hole and tube right above my belly button and that’s how I get my nutrition. I have to hook a tube up to the one in my belly to eat. I pour a milkshake like mixture into a syringe attached to a tube and have gravity pull it down into my stomach. Every time I hook it up I hear things, “What’s that?”, “So weird”; “That’s disgusting”, “You shouldn’t be doing that in public, go to a bathroom”, “That poor girl,”. They think I can’t hear them, or see their stares, but I can, and it’s made me hate the thing I love.

I’ve tried different things, I tried wearing a one piece but that means I can’t eat for the entire time I’m in a bathing suit. When I wear a one piece, I get dehydrated because I can’t eat. Or I have to leave the beach hours before I normally would because I got hungry. I tried wearing a two piece to be able to access the tube but then I get stared at, or I hear the whispers and I don’t like being stared at.

When I’m in a bathing suit, it hangs out and is on full display for everyone to stare at. While the water is my safe haven, the beach and the clothes are my worst enemy. They project my differences when I try to hide them.

I’m 21, right now I don’t like being different. I want to be able to look good in a bikini, I want to be able to go to the pool and tan without feeling like I’m a roadside freakshow. Someday I’ll get past it but for now I’m going to not go to the beach because it’s a lot easier to walk tall when my differences are hidden from view.

David Wade said thanks.

Share this moment

Mariah Hillis

History buff living with chronic health problems. Lives life to the fullest, and dreams the biggest dreams, despite not being able to breathe in her sleep.

Create a free account

Have an account? Sign in.

Sign up with Facebook