Within the same week I was called a fat cow while stuck in traffic and was floating around in the sun with my tits out, holding a popsicle surrounded by beautiful fat people. One of those experiences made my middle finger sore and the other one still feels like a surreal dream. Because nobody wants to hear about how many times I used the f-word, I am going to tell you about the latter. Otherwise, neither me or you will believe it happened unless I document it.
I was vaguely aware of a fatkini party that a couple of my fat positive community friends were organizing. I pretty much planned on going but when someone reminded me of it at the Hot & Heavy reading and Jelly Roll, a size positive sexy dance party, I knew for sure I better drag my ass out of bed on a Sunday. Yes, my life is blessed by Miss Piggy herself because all those amazing fat positive things also happened.
On Sunday morning, I peeked out the window only to see clouds and dreariness. A few people bailed out on the Facebook event, having no faith in our Portland summer. I got ready anyway, slipping on my anchor print bikini and teasing my hair into a prize-worthy beehive. It wasn't long before the dorky weatherman was proven correct and the bright sun finally came out. Making it prime weather for a day at Sauvie Island.
Sauvie Island is a 33 square mile island in Oregon along the Columbia River and popular for pumpkin picking and old man balls. Because, on the north end of the island is a clothing optional beach. I had never ventured out to the nudey part of the beach. Before, this Sunday anyway.
Packed up with PBR and snacks and a short drive later, I arrived at the island. After driving past all the parking permit signs in front of markets before realizing that I should stop and buy one, I parked my car in the dusty gravel and hoped I would be able to find the fatkini party. A bunch of fashionable fatties would be easy to spot, right? Blinded by the bright sun and feet burning from the unforgiving sand, I practically sat on a blanket with the wrong group of people because I spotted a fat person.
Walking a little further, a pomped and eyelined blonde cutie in a pink zebra print bathing suit waved me down. People I recognize! The shock of freshly waxed crotches only took a few minutes to wear off. The beach I was warned about as a young adult was not the nightmare that was described to me. Not everyone was in their birthday suit and it was all very relaxed and freeing. I didn't get too free right away though.
Chatting and munching on our community food blanket. Yes, hanging out with us does mean there will be food. And that isn't just because we are fat, well probably part of it. We are just nice people who know how to have a good time. Tofurky sandwiches, bean dip, pistachios, generic brand oreos, we had it all. I took a few dips into the water, with my fatkini attached and chilled out on the beach. Eventually, most of us ended up in the water at the same time. All of us laughing and squealing when seaweed brushed against our legs, the remaining clothed ones decided we would go for it. A few struggled to get their soaking wet tops off and then we were all tits out! Like the mature adults we are, we screamed at our friend on the beach to look at us while we shook what our mama gave us. I think we were all yelling 'Titty time!" or "Boobies!" and just having the time of our lives. But it got better.
As we were all enjoying being fat mermaids and celebrating our bodies and friendship, a little boat came by. Boats were going back and forth all day, but this one was different. IT SOLD ICE CREAM. IT WAS AN ICE CREAM BOAT. We waved wildly at the boat, almost forgetting that we are all still boobalicious. I don't see that there was any way that the boat didn't notice us! A few of us ran back to the beach to grab cash. Totally unashamed of our cellulite, stretch marks and erect nipples, we happily purchased our ice cream bars and popsicles and waved our precious ice cream boat goodbye.
"Is this real?", we asked each other. It felt so wonderful and right. Wading around in the river with fat naked babes while eating sweet delicious frozen treats, we took a moment to recognize how revolutionary and lovely it all was. All of us have felt like I did when being harassed and my size being used as an insult by the guy in the car earlier in the week. We all knew what it felt like to be told that our bodies were wrong or open to objectification and abuse. We have all experienced body shame and been uncomfortable in our skin. We have all hidden and covered. But at that moment, none of it mattered. We felt brave and glorious. I feel like I can do anything with this body now. I can hop around a beach naked, wear whatever I want, be art and change the world.