The year was 2000 and the place was Cancun, Mexico. My friend, Heather and I had won a trip for spring break. We packed up our suitcases and flew to one of the most popular spring break destinations in the world. We arrived and fell in love with the aquamarine ocean and energetic nightlife. We were set to have a great time. Now I was young, but of course old enough to party. Cell phones were non-existent, or if they did have them…I know I didn’t have mine there. How much would the roaming charges be in another country back then…lol.
So one night Heather and I headed out all dolled up and ready to have fun. We headed into a bar and danced to the music. Then the announcer asked for some ladies to come on stage and Heather looked to me and said, “I wanna go onstage.” We made our way from the back of the room towards the stage, but didn’t reach it in time. Heather turned to me and frowned, and I decided to make it my mission to get onstage. All the ladies were laughing and having a great time up there. Tequila was poured into their mouths and they were grinding their bodies to the music. We were so close to the stage that the announcers ass was in my face. With a bold move, I grabbed a handful. He turned around and smiled and asked us to join him onstage. Yippee, goal achieved. Now remember it was spring break and the place was packed. College kids everywhere and the night was still young. Heather and I walked up the steps and headed right to center stage.
The man with the microphone called out to the crowd and asked if everyone would like to see all the girls on stage flash them. The hoots and hollers were louder than anything I have experienced before. The man laughed and said, “Ladies, on the count of three everyone show the audience your boobs.”
I was young, carefree, and thought sure why not. You only live once, right. So I waited for the count of three and closed my eyes and lifted my shirt. Exciting.
Well the announcer rushed over to me and said, “I’m gonna have to punish you for not flashing the audience.” I pleaded with him that I did indeed lift my shirt and showed off my chest. He smileed and turned to the audience and asked them what he should do. “Should we punish her?” He screamed, and the crowd burst into a unanimous roar. He shrugged his shoulders to me and pointed to the slide.
Now if you have ever been to Cancun, and have visited this establishment, then you know what is coming next. This particular bar has a huge waterslide in the middle of the dance floor that dumps out into the canal behind the joint. So he leaned into my ear and whispered, “You have to go down the slide. That’s how we punish people here.”
I grabbed Heather’s hand and we began climbing the stairs to the ginormous slide. Now please keep in mind, my skirt was a rockin’ hot skirt. With lace and fabric I didn’t want to get soaked. When we reached the top there was a man up there. I looked at him and said, “Do I seriously have to go down this thing?” He stared at me like I was from Mars and shook his head. English may not have been his native tongue and he shrugged his shoulders. Heather was excited and said, “Oh, just do it.”
“But what about my clothes?” I said. The top I was wearing was a felt type fabric, and I didn’t know how it would handle getting wet. The landing I stood on was nowhere anyone could see me, and I made a split decision that still haunts me to this day. I turned to Heather and spoke like I was speaking to a five year old. “Listen, I am going to take off my clothes. You be there at the bottom waiting for me when I get out. I mean it Heather, you be right at the bottom with my clothes.” I wiggled my finger in her face and she swore she’d be there. I took off my top, and of course had no bra for the type of shirt it was, and proceeded to take off my skirt. With only my skivvies on ( as they say in the UK) I took a deep breath and flew down the slide into the cold water below.
After the splash and a short swim to shore, I saw another man waiting for me with a towel the size of a dishrag found in a kitchen. He handed me the towel and helped me out of the canal. I glanced around and Heather was nowhere to be found. Should I cover my breast? Should I cover other parts? From across the terrace, I spotted Heather dancing in the middle of the dance floor swinging my clothes above her head. She was smiling and laughing and the only thought going through my head was how I was going to murder her when I got inside.
What do I do? Do I hide and cry? Instead, I dropped the towel, embraced my nakedness (with the panties still on) and walked inside the bar. I marched right through a sea of onlookers and smiled at the whistles I was receiving.
Heather hadn’t even noticed when I was standing right next to her demanding my clothes, but the guys next to her sure did. Embarrassed, maybe a little.
How does this help me write better? Well, the strength and guts it took me to walk through that crowd of people is one I will never forget. Don’t ever be afraid to take the big leap. Many of us are too afraid or unsure of ourselves that we never take the chance to see if we can indeed write. Don’t be! Write your story, get it out there and take the plunge. When I first started writing, I noticed I was playing it safe. Writing the stories I knew people have read before and loved. But, I wasn’t taking any chances. I wasn’t doing anything worth being afraid. The stories I have lined up for release this year take some big guts to write, but I am ok knowing that everything will be fine. Writing should be an outlet to push your characters to the extreme, and not be scared of the outcome. The anxiety with publishing a book will always be there, well at least for some. But, it should be exhilarating as well. You never know until you try.
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