The feeling of being fully clothed in water depends on what exactly fully clothes me.
An oversized tee-shirt turns into a parachute in the water; I feel like a jellyfish as the fabric billows and then clings. A dress magnifies this effect and attempts to float off my body completely. Denim swallows water by the gallon, threatening to absorb the entirety of an ocean. It becomes heavy and fights against the silky weightlessness of water. With its over-engineered support and wicking materials, athletic clothing behaves much like bathing suit and therefore nearly misses the point of being fully clothed in water altogether.
Oceans, fountains, ponds, swimming pools… if there is a body of water near me, I crave jumping into it. Often the jump is inadvisable because it’s a misdemeanor or Niagara Falls. In these instances I allow myself to simply crave. But, whenever possible I opt for ecstatic submersion.
Because water is my power animal, or something.
Water is the quickest way into another dimension. Once swimming, I can silence the rest of the world and then resurface to hear its delightful clanging. I can pretend gravity has no hold on me. I can fly.
I deem peeling off clothing unnecessary as it is an action that keeps me one step removed from the relief of water. The time required to put on a bathing suit or even strip down to my knickers is intolerable. And, anyway, it is satisfying to hold the weight of the water in my clothing when I return to dry land. In this way, I always carry a little bit of the swim back with me.
As my hair and clothing dry and I return to the heavy state of a land mammal, the pretensions of hair and make-up remain washed away. My clothing still contains the salt of the ocean or the mud of a pond or the chlorine of a swimming pool. Baptized by that watery other dimension for the rest of the night, I am more recognizable to myself and am free to fly on dry land.