When I was a teenager, I felt self-conscious at the beach. I'm not a good swimmer, and I hated my bare feet, and I felt awkward and flat-chested and like everyone was looking at me. They weren't, of course; they were too busy worrying about everyone looking at them. I don't know if Alex made me love the beach or love my body or if going to the beach with him just happened to coincide with learning to feel more physically confident, but the beach became a place where I truly felt at ease and a little bit in love with myself as a physical being. I feel sexy at the beach, but that's not the point. I feel comfortable and confident there in a way that makes being attractive to someone else totally irrelevant. It also makes clothing seem irrelevant.
I suppose that's part of the reason that the title of my autobiography might mention the sea shore.