I have begun swimming again. I have always loved swimming. And now that I have tons of body heat from being a menopausal woman, the coolness of the water does not bother me as much as it used to. The pool I go to is lovely, close, and you get two towels! What more can a person ask for. It is my happy place. There are times when I even have the pool to myself, and I just float, happy Mona Lisa smile on my face, my pink cap filling with water, my limbs relaxing.
I have started taking a Water Aerobics class on Wednesday morning. It is a senior water aerobics class. The first week I wanted to leave 15 minutes into it. But I struggled and stayed. I was exhausted and slept for 3 hours after I got home. But now I can keep up. It is great for my ego. I look horrible in my suit, and yet, in comparison, it ain’t all that bad! Everyone there is cheerful and kind. They talk to me. They even invited me to come to the once a month lunch they have. Everyone smiles. It is my happy midweek delight.
So I have been doing this for a month. And I am thinking, “I should try the evening class.”
I am an idiot.
I worked a full day that day, which is about 10 hours on my feet. Then I went home and didn’t put my feet up. Then I went to class. The minute I hit the water I realized I was in trouble. The water buoyancy usually keeps me protected. But this was not the case. The minute I hit the water my feet began to swell. Then the other women arrived. Large powerful Russian weightlifter sized women. I thought, “Ok, I can do this. They are all bigger than me.”
Wrong. They have been doing this class together for months and were like a synchronized tsunami. They moved the water and their bodies in such powerful graceful ways, all I could do was be amazed. They were like Dolphins! Or Killer Whales. They were sleek, and strong. It was amazing, and daunting.
And this is where I had my epiphany.
These women, who I judges for their big bodies, and bloated stomaches. Who I judged for their body shapes and sizes. Who I judged for their hair and makeup. These women who I JUDGED, were strong, powerful, confident, graceful and BEAUTIFUL. And I was wrong. So so Wrong!
I did my best and bounced as I could. I made it through the whole class. One woman gave me tips as we went along. But I lasted 10 minutes doing the work, then spent the rest of the time just trying to stay in the water and not run screaming into the night.
Judging people is one of the things I do best. It is my fall back. That and Gossip. And this time I had my Judging slap me in the face. A good thing, ’cause it is bad and I shouldn’t do it. But here I am a full week after the class, and all I can think about is how amazing those women are. And I am also amazed at how hard it was to write this. And what weird feelings I have when I was trying to explain what these women reminded me of. I am aware of how we have equated big with bad and clumsy and lazy and wrong. I am not alone in this.
But one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen is a Beluga Whale in the water. Or an elephant swimming. So I want to apologize to those people I have judged. And especially to myself. And I want to embrace the Me that is the Elephant in the water. Because I am beautiful.