Friday, May 6, 2011

Swimming Without Shorts

I think I should have lived when swimwear looked like this! (The woman in front was a REBEL-look how much leg she's showing!!) 

I have been swimming with swim shorts for YEARS. In fact, it's probably been over 10 years.....well, except one brief period of time between my last divorce and remarriage, when I got brave enough (okay, thin enough) to wear my bikini without them (far, far away from my home town where no one would see me!).  I have a permanent tan line several inches down my thigh as prove my upper legs haven't seen sun in many years.  (When I wore the bikini it was the beginning of the season and I tanned in a bed beforehand to even out my color.)

Wednesday, I took them off!!

I'd like to say I stripped the shorts thanks to newfound confidence or because I made some sense of peace with my body.  That would be a lie.  The truth is I forgot them when I went to the pool.  The only choice I had was to go home or swim without them.  I reasoned with myself, had a mini panic attack and decided to swim sans shorts.  My pep-talk included the belief there wouldn't be many people there because the power has been out for a week and it was the first day back to the pool...which was correct.

The thing is, I have no doubt I draw more attention to myself with them than without.  NO ONE wears swim shorts at the pool-even the guys (they wear little Speedos or super tight lycra).  The situation reminds me of when I was a teenager on vacation in France.  My French "sister" along with every other man, woman and child went topless at the pool, allowing the sun to kiss what God gave them.  Not me.  I just couldn't do it.  I couldn't stand the thought of exposing myself in that way.  My friend tried to reason with me that I would be the stand out if I didn't; I would cause more people to look at me if I didn't elect to fit in.  I didn't care, I just couldn't do it.  And now, I'm sure more people notice "that woman who wears the black swim shorts" than would ever give a second glance to my shorts-tanned, stretch-marked, fat-to-me thunder thighs while at the same time buttless midsection.

Even knowing all that, I've been wearing them since I started going to the pool back in July (wow...10 months).  I have believed I would feel more self conscious without them than I do with them.

Yesterday I went without them by accident...but today I made the choice to do it!!  I put my shorts in my bag, looked at them, took a deep breath, removed them and quickly ran out the door before I lost my nerve!!  In my haste I forgot my towel!!  While I may have become brave enough to swim without shorts, I'm still not going to prance around the locker room in all my naked glory.  My modesty (...okay, I'll call it what it is....the hatred I have for my body) cost me some time having to come home to shower, but I have to take one step at a time.  Going without my trunks feels like a giant leap...subjecting anyone other than my husband or my doctor to my nakedness will have to wait.  (...subjecting myself to the idea of subjecting anyone else is more like it...)

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Side note for anyone not acquainted with locker rooms...it's my understanding it's common practice for female athletes to confidently walk around as if in the privacy of their own home and there are more than a few ladies who are perfectly at home in their own skin that swim in the mornings.  The dressing rooms are on one side of the locker room, the showers on the other.  You're "supposed" to take your shower, dry off kind of in the middle area then dress on the other side.  I think this keeps the dressing areas dry.  Usually I will put my clothes in the shower area and do everything in that area.  It's a pain because it's not that big...but that's where I'm at.  On the days I don't shower at the pool (most days) I just dry off and change a dressing stall and mentally apologize to anyone who doesn't like that it's wet.  (Most likely the stall I use is dry before anyone else needs it, which is how I justify my "modesty".)  Maybe one of these days I won't care.  I think I'm a baby step closer swimming without my shorts.

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:D

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