I heard about the community and just had to move here. They knew nothing of commercialized beauty. Everyone was beautiful, a miracle, unique. Their bodies were made to use and enjoy.
My doubts from having lived in that other place did not completely go away, but they did eventually become more vague and fleeting, like specters. I could see them for what they were, and I could tell them I didn’t believe in them. If I had to bother with them at all.
On the first warm day of the year, we all tried to spend as much time enjoying the outdoors as we could. I went to the beach in a bathing suit I loved and used to would have felt too uncomfortable to wear.
Everyone else was free on this beach too. Some of them were completely free because they had been raised here and had known nothing else. The comfortable, beautiful women and men before their eyes were the only world to them, so of course, that was how things were.
I knew that outside this community, people worry about their size, their shape, their scars, about little things that were normal about the human body but seem odd and unattractive because we don’t see them.
We see images of people, the most perfect ones, altered ones, and perfectly posed ones to hide things that don’t fit the mold, put before our faces so often they are more familiar than real human bodies.
The people in this community saw each other and saw them happy. Whether they had more weight or less, they sunbathed happily and frolicked in the water. Flirtations were common. People could also be naked on the beach if they wished and at the moment of writing, I saw among the skinny dippers two middle-aged couples.
I smiled as I wrote, and then I settled back to relax.
An abrupt rustle from the trees behind us startled me. It was closely followed by the pounding of feet, and suited people appeared, running, holding cameras in their hands.
They shot a photo. I heard the click. And the woman they photographed disappeared among a flurry of falling dollar bills.
More of them came for a spree, with more cameras, and great bags to catch the green cotton sheets.