Tardie aka Nat has a post on her blog today in which she shares a story that brought tears to my eyes, it’s titled “Shh…let me tell you a secret…” and here’s a few extracts (go read the whole thing though, won’t you?)
Once upon a time there was a young girl who loved to swim. In truth, she just loved being in the water. She loved the beach, the pool, the bathtub – it didn’t matter what it was, she just loved the water.
She quit competitive swimming at 15 and with one thing and another found herself joining Weight Watchers with a long journey ahead.
…the middle aged little girl is now becoming friends with other people that have a lot of weight to lose, and a whole heap of them (some bigger than her) are talking about going swimming or finally having swimming lessons.
And the middle aged little girl is jealous. She’s jealous because she misses the water – she misses the feeling of gliding almost effortlessly through the water and being weightless – at least for a little while. And she yearns for the water. But she’s terrified. Going swimming is exposing herself in a VERY public way and she’s never been very good at that. In fact, she sucks at it.
But despite it being such a difficult thing to do, Nat took herself and her family to the pool this week and swam…
At last she is in and allows the cool water to embrace every part of her being. And she weeps because she feels as if she is home. This is where she was meant to be.
I’m so incredibly happy for her that she’s been able to reclaim the joy of swimming and also glad that someone else gets some benefit from my (and others’) braving of the public pool. I reckon it’s cause for serious celebration whenever we manage to stop thinking “I can’t until…” and start thinking “bugger that, I’m doing it anyway!”, so here’s to you Nat and to all of us big girls – carpe diem and stuff what anyone else thinks!
And here’s my secret. It’s not that I don’t care what all those strangers think, I do because I’m human and I can’t help but be aware and care about the public gaze. Thing is years ago when I found myself not wanting to do things with the kids because of how I felt being vulnerable in public I decided I had to chose which was more important, my ego or the kids’ childhood experiences. And the kids won hands down. So we went and did things like spending the day at the beach with me in the water with them despite my discomfort. I might still be very much aware of how I look but I can choose how much I let that matter, how much I let it influence my decisions.
Back then I would need a day or two lead up so I could psych myself into being able to put my swimmers on and take my t-shirt off. In the last year or so it’s getting easier, last summer I even allowed myself to be persuaded to have a dip in a good friend’s backyard pool in a borrowed rash vest and my undies! (A VERY good friend lol)
Buying the bikes has been another breakthrough. I’d been waiting for the time when I’d lost enough weight to not feel completely ridiculous on a bike, plus I was scared I’d just break it! Then I found my way to Sarah’s blog “Fat Girl on a Bike” and had to take a good hard look at my excuses. Now I can’t wait to get the wheels spinning when we head up to the Hunter Valley…though I’m still a bit scared of breaking the bike and I do look ludicrous in my helmet, but doesn’t everyone?