Pools for All (even on our worst days)

Monday’s are a bit unpredictable as far as my water workout goes. I know my body needs a day of rest when the pool is closed, but on Mondays I tend to overdo it or can’t simply seem to warm up. Today was the latter.

I ended up staying in the water for almost an hour and a half and I know that I did push myself but it was hard today. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not discouraged (maybe slightly frustrated), it’s just something I’m aware of.

I was in the lap pool for about 40-45 minutes and tried to keep myself in almost constant movement, but the laps were a challenge today, also one of my ears is hurting inside and I need to find out what to do about that. I’ll start with a little hydrogen peroxide on a moistened q-tip and see if that helps.

I’ve noticed that when my bathing suit is wet it’s too big. I’ve been looking online at suits and there are some pretty good deals there. But I’ve been running out of money each month and if I can put off that expense for one more month I should try. I like this wide strap one in red, but don’t know if I should wear a “lifeguard” color:

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No, I can’t buy the red one, it’s too “Baywatch.”

From my very first day at the pool I noticed a young woman who I cross paths with at least twice a week. She’s developmentally disabled and when she’s dressed and out of the water she is hard to understand and she makes big movements with her body as though she is bowing forcefully.

The first time I saw her I was fearful she’d bang her head on the counter. She had loads of bags with her and some McDonalds packages. She picked everything up and walked to the door. At the curb was a woman in a mini van who unrolled the window and said, “Don’t forget to swim.” And the young woman turned and came back into the facility.

Now when I watch her my heart just swells. Being at the pool is obviously the most enjoyable thing this girl does. There are three pools there, all good sized. One is a shallow, warmer pool; the second is the at least 8 lane lap pool, and the deep diving pool is the third. She plays in the shallow pool for a bit and then pulls herself out and walks tip toed to the lap pool where she picks an empty lane and dives in and swims the length of it. When she reaches the end, she pulls herself over the wall to enter the deep pool where she says a loud, “Hi” to everyone she encounters.

Sometimes she’ll get out of that pool and jump back in, but usually she tip toes back to the shallow pool where she jumps in and plays for another ten minutes and then she starts the whole thing again.

Once when I said hi back to her, I added, “How are you?” To which she responded, “Stupendous, fantastic, amazing, astonishing, tremendous.” And I responded, “Magnificent.” And then she was gone again.

It’s probably no surprise then that the girl also has an amazing figure! And I’m so delighted that the pool is her home as much as it is my home, or the guy who does laps for over an hour straight. It’s our pool.

I looked over from the lap pool today, a little frustrated because I was sharing the lane with a “real” swimmer (anyone who does an underwater turn) and I kept doing my  strokes too fast, which wears me out, and I saw a man I’ve also seen a lot of, walking with his walker to the long ramp which enters the shallower pool. He’s morbidly obese and always wears a large t-shirt. He walked his walker as far as he could and then used the handrail to continue down the ramp into the water.

I thought about how much courage that must take and I wonder how long he’s been doing it. He’s been coming to the pool at least as long as I have. It might just save his life. I hope it does. Who knows what kind of person lurks under all that weight? I wonder if he feels trapped like I did.

There was a day last week when my behavior at the pool was awful. I had finally realized my husband had no intention of reconciling with me and fear set in. I was attempting to work out very hard in the deep pool. The only other people in the pool were two women who were exercising together. I took the corner farthest from them. Eventually they decided to do their thing around the perimeter of the pool instead of back and forth across it, so naturally about every 10 minutes they where in my way again and I had to hear their banter about husbands and relatives.

I made a sudden movement, jerking my body away from them and muttered something about, “Hope I’m not in your way” to them. I have no idea if they noticed or if they realized I was referring to them, but they left the pool shortly after. I felt like an idiot. I put my head under the water and screamed and let a few tears fall. There’s no need for me to take my anger out on other innocent people.

That said, I’m simply not the friendliest person there. I do not go to socialize, I go there  to work out. And many women go to both the deep and shallow pool to socialize. That’s fine, but leave me alone, please, and PLEASE stay out of my way.

I have to admit, however, that I really enjoyed speaking to the other woman I met last week in the lap pool who was very serious about swimming and other fitness endeavors. Lap pool people are different from most water aerobic types.

When I’m at the pool I am aware that I am not young, nor am I at a healthy weight yet but I have never felt any judgement from anyone, not even the high school swim team that often uses the pool.

Women of all sizes strip naked when they are showering after their swim, but I don’t. I’m not sure that I will ever want to, but I really don’t want to now. I’m not sure if it’s shame or just modesty, perhaps both. I just don’t feel like getting naked in front of people. When they are naked around me, I keep my eyes to myself; I’m not used to it yet!

I was wondering when I might want to put a photo of myself on this blog and I am not sure. There is certainly no “before” picture to display since, like many fat people, I avoided the camera at all costs, but I thought perhaps when I get under 200, a huge milestone, I might just take a photo then.

I don’t look in the mirror that often after I brush my hair and put lotion on my face, but I am beginning to notice a change in my face and neck (I have one!). As I’ve said before, I was a pretty younger woman (before mid 30s), but then the weight came and didn’t stop coming. Now, at 56, I just have no idea what I’ll look like and it’s sort of a nice thing to look forward to. I plan to simply make the best of it.

When I moved into my parent’s home last October I thought I would only be here a few weeks, at most. Now that I know I will be here much longer, I need to spend some time making my room more comfortable. I have piles in corners of the room and I need to make the room more livable.

That’s my reality and it could be worse. I’m healthier than I realized. I love my family. I’m blogging and sitting here listening to an Allen Toussaint album that some nice person put on YouTube:

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