I'm going to come out and say something: I feel very self-conscious right now about being a mermaid.
Other girls seem to don tails and not worry about other people looking at them or potentially laughing at them. Being laughed at or bullied is something that I really worried about. What if I was swimming around, minding my own business, and some mean folks came along and laughed in my face and pulled on my tail?
Apparently I live in weird fantasy world where everyone is mean and nobody finds joy in childhood memories.
Last Sunday I went to a larger outdoor pool in my city. One of my best girlfriends is a guard there, so I felt a bit more confident. I took my blue tail, which was the very first tail my Mum made for me. It wasn't perfect in the least, having a band wrapping around the fin instead of a fluke and the front lining sewn on the front - but my purple tail was still having the 'bling' sewn on to it. I brought my husband with me as well for confidence.
I very nervously laid my towel by the side of the pool and slipped the tail strap around the fin, then started wiggling my ankles into the monofin pocket. A couple people glanced at me while I wriggled in, but something awesome happened when the fabric was up to my knees. As I shifted to lay down on my back, I heard a little girl say:
"Mommy! That girl is a mermaid!"
Those five tiny words made all the world of difference to me. I didn't care about someone teasing me, because I was a Mermaid!
I got in the water and paddled around, spending most of my time diving in the deeper middle area, practising my swimming, slips, breath holds and sitting on the bottom. It was huge fun! And every now and then I saw someone, either young or old, turn towards me with a smile.
Just before we left I had an older gentleman come up to me, and telling me how happy he was he had seen me. He said his partner would be so jealous. They loved mermaids in their house and he never thought he'd ever see a real live mermaid. I'm so glad I was able to make his day.
Even if I get teased, if I happen to make one person happy by being in my tail, then you know what? That's pretty rad.