Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I am.

I am not an athlete. I am not fit. I am not lithe. Or skinny. Or particularly good at doing my dishes. Or patient. I am not one of those girls who simply craves cardio and the latest shoe style. (You know who they are. They discuss exercise over field greens and balsamic while drinking water with lemon.) I am not calm. I am sometimes lazy and neurotic as shit.

But we girls are too hard on ourselves. We're too willing to see ourselves as fat and not good enough and think that we're not able to hold our own in a line up with humanity. We don't self-promote. We criticize and diminish ourselves. When we're single we see ourselves as less-than, instead of as women who have the benefit of making their own decisions, with their own time, on their own terms.

Which is why today, after a series of events, I decided to focus instead on what I am.

I am crass and loud, prone to laughing fits, and one of the best friends you could ask for if you can keep up with me. I am a stellar planner and a book worm. I am clever. I am creative and unique as hell. I am an avowed nerd and a sometimes-just-a-little-bit artist. I am sass personified. I am Type A and dedicated. I will do almost anything for my dog and really, sometimes, think I can make a difference in the world _ as much as I want to laugh at myself for admitting it.

I'm all that. And I'm a whole lot more too.

But today, more than anything, I was strong.

And it was, quite simply, awesome.

This post started out as being about slipping (OK, tugging and yanking) on my bathing suit and trying to swim laps for the first time in almost a decade. Instead, it's become about how we need to change the mental image we have of ourselves and how that fits into my crazy idea that this generously proportioned, jiggle-prone girl could become a triathlete.

It all started when I surprised an onlooker _ and quite honestly, myself, too _ by pounding out a mile in the pool this afternoon, without so much stopping for more than a minute or two. I was close to the third of a mile mark when I saw him, standing by at the end of my lane, waiting to see if I was almost done. I popped my head out about halfway through as he was catching his breath in the shallow end of the next lane.

Him: I'm totally impressed by your stamina. You just keep going.
Me: (stunned silence. realizes he's talking about me.)
Me: Thanks! Breast stroke is a lot easier for me than freestyle.
Him: I'm out of breath after a few laps. But you make me want to keep going.
Me: Wow! Seriously. Thank you. You really just made my day.

SAY WHAT?! Fat girl is inspirational? Seriously?

I had planned to just do another two laps or so to cool down. But as I dipped back under the water and pushed off from the wall, I realized I wasn't tired. Or out of breath. If anything, I felt amazing. So I kept going. And going some more.

And you know what? It was awesome. I wasn't fast _ it took me about a half hour to do the whole mile _ but I was strong. And impressive. And hearing that from someone, from a stranger, was just what I needed.

So what if I'm a huffing, puffing, sweating, swearing, slowly moving stubborn girl? I'm a freakin' vision in my new pink sneakers and my faded Speedo.

Catch me if you can.


jay said...

Well, duh. I mean some of us knew these things already. :)

KateKwiltz said...

You go, girl! Those of us who spend our days (and nights) on our asses salute you!

Anonymous said...

As a less than athletic girl who has completed a marathon and a couple 1/2 marathons...I'm cheering you on! (Especially since I swim best with fins and a snorkle!)

Schmutzie said...

You are being featured on Five Star Friday!

Noodles said...

Thanks for the shoutouts, y'all!! Mngirltx: I may totally pick your brain!
Jay: Aww, shucks.
Kate: Thank you, thank you!
Schmutize: EEP!

Marieke said...

RIGHT ON! I am so on board with the self-love!

Ginny said...

You could probably sell that post as a magazine item. love it!

PurestGreen said...

Hooray hooray triple hooray!Lovely post - made this curvy girl happy.

Noodles said...

OMG, thank you guys!! You're all awesome. No! You're AWESOMETASTIC, which, is substantially better than awesome.

Whitney said...

Well said. And I'm proud of you and your swimming ass kicking!

The Modern Gal said...

I'm a little late to the party, but ... so good.

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