The Barbados Chronicles, Part IV: Wardrobe Malfunction (OOTD)

To be clear, this whole trip was a wardrobe malfunction! The cool, inexpensive digs I found at the local shops paled in comparison to my crochet dresses, bright swimsuits, and cute flat sandals which sat on standby in Miami airport’s lost baggage office.

But I still managed to get comfy in my skin. Soon, the ocean invited me for my typical prance by the shore

Joy leaning on a tree in Barbados

With sun salutations, loving the warmth on my skin, I walk alone, slowly, feeling Zen. I take in the ocean breezes and good vibes while others get to take in… me. Lol!

I had fun with that, then met up with Friend again to spend the rest of the day chatting and playing in the water and sand.

As the tide came in, one of the local ladies mentioned that the surf was rougher than normal due to a storm offshore. I wondered if the cheap bathing suit I bought would make it through all these rolling waves. I admittedly don’t have much to hold it in place, and maybe I took more of a chance on it than I should have, because it made such a nice display of my chest tat.

Joy lounging on a beach chair by the sea in Barbados

Hey, I gladly accept what God gave. Not only do I celebrate my lot in life as a lean mean, small-breasted machine. I chose to decorate the expanse between my two chocolate chip cupcakes with one of the most challenging tattoo types – the sternum tat.

So, I stepped out on faith in that bathing suit, and the Fabulous Unknown delivered yet another blessing in disguise: a rip current hit me from behind and hurled me into a full forward flip. Saltwater simultaneously cleared my sinuses and shoved away the strappy fabric so my determined twin cupcakes could break free to make a brief, but bold, appearance.

(My first wipe out like that ever. I gotta say, the feeling of being swiftly carried by a wave like that was exhilarating.)

The moment I emerged from the bubbling water, that nearby local woman was at my side, laughing empathetically with arms stretched out, shielding me from as many eyes as possible. How many millions of women and girls has this happened to over the course of time?  I laughed right along with her.

Joy on a hotel balcony in Barbados

She had a chest tat, too. And she liked mine. We talked about how painful chest tats can be, how many tats we have, and how many more we want to get.

She told us about how she got her chest tat after having a mastectomy. Then, on some real “since you showed me yours I’ll show you mine” type shit, she calmly pulled back her shirt to show us the scar and the beautifully detailed owl tattoo that covered her chest. In that moment, I made a new sister-friend in spirit.

The bathing suits I originally packed never would have let that happen! The fabrics would have stayed politely in place, keeping everything covered. The conversations would have remained superficial and comfortably distant and would have lacked the intimacy and authenticity that risk and vulnerability pave the way for. We would have had no reason to stretch out our arms and make a scary and real connection.

We might wield the power of manifestation, but it doesn’t always feel like we’re in complete control here. The Unexpected — even if it simply emerges from our own subconscious — often seems quintessentially mercurial and has a first class ticket to the events in all our lives. It usually brings much more than one could have planned for.

So, I’ll keep taking calculated risks and letting go. I’ll roll with the punches and the waves, because I choose to reach out and take hold of what rolls in with them.

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