Sunday, 22 August 2010

last swimming lesson

i had my last swimming lesson today. although a very reasonable cost, they were starting to add up. i've also learned enough to be getting along on my own, but i'm still sad the lessons will end! i've sure learned alot - some things i anticipated, some i didn't. i knew i'd get over the nervousness of new places with new rules (spoken and unspoken as with most self-contained environments) and that i'd figure out what to bring and when it would be less busy. i knew i'd get stronger and it would probably be tough some days.

i didn't know how tough! i spent the first months clinging, limpet-like, to the edge trying desperately to get some air into my lungs and feeling the bright-red burn of my cheeks, huffing and puffing. not my most elegant.

but elegance, to some degree, has come. sometimes, i get a tumble turn just right and i glide, fast and flowing through the water before emerging into just the right place in the stroke. sometimes, the feel is just there and i feel like i could swim for hours. sometimes, of course, i misjudge entirely and nearly choke to death, coughing and spluttering and trying to get the water out of my nose.

what i'm most surprised about is how much more confident i am in my body. i suppose spending a significant amount of time in a small and fitted piece of nylon/lycra is going to desensitise you to self-consciousness eventually, but it's more than that. i think of my legs as legs that can kick strong, and i know my arms can pull me through the water fast. it's a new feeling for me - i just don't feel as self-conscious. note the 'as'. obviously i am still racked with fear and loathing as are most modern women left exposed to overwhelming societal messages about what we are supposed to look like and all the effort we are required to do so. (honestly, who has that much time?!)

i will keep swimming - on the first of september i'll be buying my first season pass for the pool - first of many i hope. i wouldn't have stuck it out if it wasn't for the lessons though. dragging my hungover ass to the pool on a sunday morning - it took a lot of repetition before the message that this actually made me feel better really sunk in.

and, no, i'm still not any slimmer! but, somehow, that doesn't matter so much anymore either.