Saturday, July 5, 2014

Well, hello, blog world! I'm up from hibernation (translation: got through a heavy/intense/stressful set of classes in my masters program and am officially up for air) with a Mother Unload post.

First, because you might be wondering, my weight loss since January 21 is now up to 35 pounds! Couch to 5K is still going, but I may or may not be stuck in week 5...or 6.  Or 3.  One of those. The point is I'm still on the wagon, still moving forward, still working hard and cheating harder on my cheat days.

This was me about a month ago getting ready to leave a romantic hotel room after a night away for our anniversary. (I'd like the record to show that I spent every waking moment strutting around that room thinking, "Damn! I'm sexy!" It's very important for the record to show this because, Damn! I was sexy!)

Even that belly was sexy. 

So today.

Today we went to the Willard Bay reservoir and spent about five hours having a ridiculous amount of fun swimming, acting like complete goofballs in the water, and hanging out in the shade. This picture of the kids (sans Aaron who's not a fan of water sports) perfectly encapsulates the pure joy of the day.

So much joy.

I felt this same crazy, happy abandon the entire time we were at the lake, despite the fact that I also spent my entire time there as a 220 pound woman in a swimsuit and short swim shorts. I frolicked and laughed and smiled and played. And I didn't give two thoughts to who saw me doing it or what they thought of my body.

This is a huge departure from the older, less body confident me.

I went more than a decade, maybe even a decade and a half hardly ever swimming because I didn't want to be seen in a bathing suit. I didn't want to be seen in my imperfect state and didn't want to "make" others have to see me either. Baring my body in a typical swimsuit would be an insult to the senses of the other swimmers, right? I had no business wearing a swimsuit at my weight, right?

When I did swim, I'd get as close to the water as I could possibly get in my fully clothed state, then peel off my extra clothes and race into the water as fast as humanly (and fat-personly) possible to HIDE myself. I'd spend most of my time in water up to my neck because no one should have to see my fat arms, my fat belly, my fat legs.  At the end of the outing, I'd do the same race-and-hide maneuver in reverse.

And I'd hate myself.

I'm sad for that woman who didn't swim, for the peace she lost and the fun times she missed. I'm sad for the body hate and the hiding.  I'm sad to think of her hyper-focused on societal expectations, the incessant cacophony of "beach body" beauty articles, Hollywood infused comedic body shame, and an internet full of "weird" flat stomach tricks and cringe-inducing modesty blog posts.

Today, there was none of that. I'm nowhere near my goal weight, and I'll never be offered a modeling job for a beauty magazine, but I walked around that beach and through the holiday crowds, and I just smiled because I was happy to be there too. Happy to be swimming. Happy with my body and my life and my family.
Happy happy, joy joy.

I took the requisite momly number of kid pictures throughout the day, because moms gonna mom.

And kids gonna kid.

When I handed my phone to Richard and asked him to take a couple of pictures of me, I knew something very real had changed. When I uploaded them onto Facebook and Instagram, I knew it was here to stay.  Never in my life, not even as a well-proportioned 120 pound teenager, have I wanted anyone to see a picture of my whole body in a bathing suit.

Today, I welcomed the chance, asked for it, NEEDED it. These pictures are part of our family story, and I am a part of it. I was there at the beach today. I want to look back and see myself in the pictures, and not just in strategically angled selfies, but the real, living, breathing me who was in that lake feeling like she could conquer EVERYTHING.

If you think you don't have the body for bathing suit season, if you think you have no business in the costume of the swimmer, if you spend family swim days racing and hiding, just know that I get it. I was there. That was me.

But this is me today, and today's me lives more fully and more richly than I ever have. Today's me smiles big. I'm keeping her.


Erin said...

Woo hoo for swimming! The joy on your kids face (and yours) in those photos is almost tangible! :)