Sunday, August 01, 2004

short shorts...

this weekend was perhaps the most summery weekend in chicago this year. it was beautiful!! saturday was 80 degrees, and today is probably closer to 90.

now that's what i'm talking about. that's the summer i know and love.

upon realizing last week that we were already close to the end of july, i started to panic, thinking that once again, i was letting the summer breeze right past me. the three short months of blissful temperatures that we get in chicago are not to be taken lightly. as i've grown older while living in this city, i've realized how much you really have to make a conscious effort to get out there and enjoy the weather while it lasts. but my work situation doesn't help much, as most of you know summer is busy season for us and i absolutely loathe my job because of it.

at any rate, i spent the past few days making it a point to hang out at the lake which is literally a hop, skip and jump away from my current abode. yesterday i wandered about the lake front and walked over to hollywood beach which is the longest strip of beach on the north side as far as i'm aware. i went over to a vendor to buy water and realized that they were renting out beach chairs for $5. i wasn't quite prepared to just lay out on the sand, as i hadn't brought a towel or beach blanket or anything, so i ended up renting the beach chair and plopped myself down in the middle of the beach facing the lake while listening to meshell ndegeocello's bitter and ani difranco's educated guess, took off my shoes, rolled up my pants and bathed in the glistening sun. it was marvelous.

but at one point as i sat there for well over two hours, i started feeling a little sorry for myself. because everyone on the beach had on shorts except me.

as some of you may know, i suffer from a somewhat common and cosmetic ailment called psoriasis. it's a skin condition which causes my skin cells to reproduce faster than my body can shed the old skin cells. as a result, the overproduction causes the cells to surface on to my skin and cause flaky patches on my legs, arms, back and stomach. i say cosmetic, because it's neither fatal, nor does it really cause any pain or discomfort except when it itches.. and it's not contagious. so really, as far as diseases go, it's not a bad one to have, if that doesn't sound too bizarre. but it's still a disease. and the way it looks on my skin can at times be unsightly. my legs are the most affected. my first outbreak happened in 1999 shortly after my trip to the bahamas, and at first i wondered if there was something in the water. but later i went to the doctor when it started spreading all over, and was diagnosed with psoriasis.

so getting back to the point of this entry. i rarely ever wear shorts in public. i have my good days and my bad days. sometimes i feel like i don't give a shit, and wear shorts to the beach. other days i'm a little more self conscious about it. i've been in many situations where people have passed by and i've caught them glancing over at my legs. i take tremendous solace in the fact that it's not contagious, but there are some days when i just wish people would stop staring. somehow though, when i'm on vacation, i manage to get by wearing shorts without much problem).

so saturday was one of those days when i ventured out alone and just didn't feel like dealing with the whole self conscious routine (when i'm with c, somehow i don't feel as self conscious). so i wore pants. and the whole time i sat there on the beach i wished i had just said fuck it and worn some damn shorts. but it was too late, so i just rolled my pants up to my knees and stretched out my legs so the little asshole psoriasis patches could get some sun. it felt so good to have my legs out in the open, feeling the breeze and soaking in some sunshine. i was isolated enough on the beach that i didn't really have to worry about too many people passing by. so that was nice. it was relaxing. but i couldn't help but get a little upset at the fact that this is actually something i have to deal with. in the grand scheme of things it's so vain and trivial. and i am so thankful that i don't have some fatal or debilitating disease. yet it manages to get me everytime.

i'm undergoing treatment for this incurable disease, but it's been five years now, and while the rest of my body has seen results (like my arms, back, stomach), my legs are still the same. when i was a teenager and into my late twenties, i used to get a lot of compliments about my legs. and now i can't even stand to show them...

i'm not one to really care what other people think. i've never tried to mold my appearance or behaviour to suit society's expectations. yet, this whole psoriasis thing puts a dent in that attitude bigtime. it's not that i'm vain in that i don't want people to see my legs the way they are.. it's just that i don't want people to look at my legs and think i must have some communicable disease and therefore they should shy away from me.

but of course there's no way in hell i can ever control other people's thoughts. so i think i'm just going to adopt a fuck it attitude for the rest of the summer and just wear shorts whenever i want to. it's obviously easier said than done because it's a huge mental thing for me.. but i'm gonna try.