Monday, February 28, 2011

Pisces Girl

"I always wanted to be Peter Pan, the boy who never grows up.
I can't fly, but swimming is the next best thing.
It's harmony and balance.
The water is my sky. "
Clayton Jones

I saw many pretty things on our vacation. (I'm still thinking about the small sunny yellow Fiesta ware pitcher that I couldn't rationalize spending $50. on.)

I also saw something that was not so pretty. Me. Naked. Yikes!

The bathroom in our Savannah hotel was quite spacious. The vanity was extra large with plenty of space for a coffee pot, ice bucket, shaving kit, and my uber-sized bag of toiletries. Naturally a vanity this size calls for a mirror that takes up most of the wall. This wouldn't be so bad except that it was directly across from the shower. [Note to self: if I'm ever in charge of hotel bathroom decor install smaller mirrors and lower watt light bulbs.]

After taking a long luxurious shower to rejuvenate myself after walking around Savannah, I threw back the curtain, grabbed a towel to dry my face and met myself in all my naked glory looking back at me. Now I know that I've got some extra pounds, the number of which may or may not be negotiable with my doctor when I see him next week. I also know that at this stage of my life, on the verge of becoming a crone, rolly poly or saggy baggy skin can be considered badges of honor for having lived so long. I don't have any babies to cuddle but if I did, I'd have the kind of grandmother's body a little one could curl up in and go to sleep. I know that there are gads of other things to work myself up over and my body image need not be one of them.

Still, it's been a long long time since I've actually seen myself so clearly. My bathroom mirror at home only covers from my head to my chest, and most of that hangs below the frame. [Sorry, that might be too much information. ] So you might be saying to yourself, well now that you know what are you going to do about it. Funny, that's exactly what I said. And sadly the only thing I could come up with is exercise and diet.

Exercise and diet? Crap!

Well here's the deal. The first productive thing I did after my father was buried was join the downtown YMCA. Why I ever let that membership lapse is beyond me. Even though there is a lot of exercise equipment at the Y, I joined for one reason only - the pool. Swimming for me is more of a spiritual experience than anything else. The fact that it is good for me is just an added bonus.

The thing about swimming is I have to show my bathing suit wearing self in public. And not just in the pool. I have to walk through the Y and down a flight of stairs, flip flopping my flip-flops on every stair. Yes, I wrap a towel around myself, but if you've used a gym towel lately you know they are made to do a so-so job of drying you off not to go around a big girl. I may be covered, but just barely.

When I got out of bed this morning I had one thing on my mind - getting into the water, chlorine and all. When I got into an empty lane (which I was told I was lucky to get at that time) the young man in the lane next to me said hello. I said hello back before I put on my really attractive bathing cap and swim goggles that I pull so tight that my eyeballs kind of pop out. Come to think of it I really don't have to worry about how I look in a bathing suit because I look so dorky with the cap and goggles that my extra tummy rolls are of little consequence.

The guy next to me reminded me of that Hawaiian singer IZ, a really, really large man, who died at 38 from weight related respiratory illness. So I see this IZ look-alike and I don't think, gee he's obese, or get grossed out by his body. No, all I can think of is God bless him. I don't know this guy's story, but I know he's brave. And I know he's got a long way to go. And I applaud him for every stroke he took and every lap he completed. And I swam with a little more vigor, thinking to myself, it's not how I look when I'm swimming. What's important is that I'm swimming - moving - exercising. In that moment I threw vanity, lethargy, and grieving out the window and relaxed into my watery cocoon. It felt good being good to me.

Wishing for you time to do what feels good to you,
Merry ME


terri said...

yay! keep it up, woman! good for you!

Fire Byrd said...

So you do the swimming and I'll do the walking and we'll both feel better!

Pamela Jones said...

I can so totally relate to the feeling of flying when underwater. I spent most of my childhood there, wishing I could sprout gills and never have to surface. Nothing like it! Glad you found your water-wings again!

MamaJoe said...

That was definitely now TMI. I enjoyed every word and rejoiced in the fact that you are embracing yourself. Swim on friend...swim on.