I’m addicted to the beach. Both my mood and well-being are almost entirely controlled by my atmosphere. By nature I tend to connect with my environment to a ridiculous level, probably because I dance around in little fantasy worlds all day without regard to reality. When it’s warm and beautiful outside I don’t have to try so hard. In March, when the first Jonquils poke their little yellow heads up, I rush out to buy my first new sundress of the season, which I will definitely wear about my house since it is most likely still fifty degrees outside. It’s a kind of delusion I suffer from — pretending it’s summer year round.
However, the beach is an obsession at a new level…I think I actually hurt for it. If it were a person I would stalk it incessantly, make it a creepy mixed cd complete with Jimmy Buffett and Beach Boys music, only before putting mentally off love messages in a bottle to release at the shore. It’s an infatuation.
I’m never happier than being in a flowy sundress at dusk, watching the sun color the water in resemblance to Manet’s (not Monet’s) Water Lilies. I could just breathe that time of day into my lungs forever, letting the wind carry the stinging sand to my flesh, which is slightly too blushed from the afternoon sun. I just love what it does to me. My hair and skin feel perfect when I’m there, and I feel an inspiration unlike any other. The waves and I create some kind of delightfully chaotic synergy that makes me want to live another minute just to see what ideas come out of me next. It’s the very best place to write…If I believed in astrology I’d say it gets my little creative Pisces juices jumping up and down. I chalk that up to coincidence…but an interesting one.
From a psychological standpoint, it’s possible that I love the beach because that is where my very earliest happy memories were born. My parents split up when I was about four years old. One of the few good memories I have of them being together were our trips to Atlantic Beach on the North Carolina coast. My father would play 80s hairband music the whole way, while from the back seat I fell subliminally in love with Jon Bon Jovi and Axl Rose. We were always happy there; flying kites, playing by the pool with a family my Dad swore was Mafia, and getting fudge at some little joint we visited regularly. I remember how my parents would swoosh me through the breaking waves, each of them with one of my arms. It was a happy time.
Then, as a teenager, I spent every summer and spring break on Surfside Beach in South Carolina with my best friend, Jamie. We’d always watch the movie Shag (which I suggest to any female), and paint our toenails white preparing for tan feet the night before we went down. Somehow, there was magic in that.
The truth is, it doesn’t matter why I’m so connected to the beach. I don’t care if it’s psychological, memory-driven, or predispositioned. It makes me tick, and I’m a believer in loving to the utter most, the thing that keeps the hands on my clock making roundtrips. I may be from in the mountains of Western North Carolina, but I’m just a beach bum with a pen in her hand underneath it all. For me, I’m always there where my energy lives. Here in the mountains, sometimes I know I’m just a fish, well let’s say a mermaid, out of water.