Monday, August 18, 2014

THE SWIMMING POOL


With summer winding down, I think fondly of past summers... especially those as a small child. I envision myself sunbathing on a cloudless day, drinking water from a warm garden hose, gently blowing dandelions in the breeze, counting clovers, looking for that lucky one, catching fireflies in my hand, and of course going swimming. These were just a few of my summer pastimes. We used to go to the beach by the Atlantic Ocean for vacations too. But, I also remember trips to visit my aunt, uncle and cousin. I was mesmerized by the fact their entire back yard was a giant, above ground swimming pool. It was really cool. I LOVED it. So... when my mom and dad told me I was going to take swimming lessons... I got excited. But only, briefly. You see... the instructor's way of teaching, was to throw you in the deep end of the pool... and then pray... you'd quickly find your sea legs. I was traumatized by this, and for a time, was scared of the water. But once I gained confidence doing the doggie paddle... I was like a fish, diving right in. My parents put up a neat, rectangular kiddie pool, at home... for my brother and I to play in. Shallow as it was... I used to love being in it. Lots of splashing and daydreaming about Olympic medals. From that moment on...  I swore I would someday have a swimming pool, built in or not, in my backyard when I became an adult. But sadly, it was not meant to be. Try as I might to convince my husband throughout the years that this would be a practical idea... he politely told me a million reasons why it wasn't. And that was that. No swimming pools of any kind, at my house, period. When our children were little, we went to the beaches at local lakes, instead. Because I am a plus size lady, now, in my old age... I am not interested in the fat shaming I would endure... wearing a bathing suit... to go there, or to a public pool, or a private swimming club. So I have taken 'swimming' off my list of things to do, at this stage of my life. And have given up my dream of ever owning a backyard pool. And I must say, it makes me a little sad. But it is what it is. I had my days in the sun, once upon a time. Do you still swim? Have you ever had a pool in your backyard? 


18 comments:

Ellen in Oregon said...

I loved to swim all my life. I was on the swim team through high school & I was very lucky that my Dad put in a large above ground pool when I was in grade school that we all enjoyed for many years.

About 15 years ago I needed to have my original knee replacement replaced again & the doctor said that swimming in the hospitals large heated pool would be the best way to strengthen my leg muscles to prepare for the surgery. I am a plus size woman and wearing a swimsuit in public was the last thing I wanted to do. But I really had no choice. When I arrived a water aerobics class the women were of every size/shape imaginable. Everyone was friendly & welcoming. I went home thinking what a idiot I had been for depriving myself of something I loved to do because of what some stranger might judge me on or criticize me about my weight. I went 3 times a week to swim laps & the women's water aerobics classes and loved every minute of it. When I could not go, I really did not feel as well. As an added bonus I lost some weight, many of my aches & pains disappeared & slept better than I had in years. Nothing is like being tired because you exercised that day. When I was sedentary I never slept well.

I realized that most of my fears had been in my mind and at 57 I could care less if someone I don't know feels the need to make fun of me. That has not happened to my knowledge & if it did I will not let that person have any power over me or let them ruin my fun. There will always be a people who make a hobby out of picking other people apart. I simply will not let them dictate where I go & what I do in my life. Honestly, now that I am 57, I rarely see anyone take note of me at all. While that is a sad statement about our society and how it views women over 40, it is freeing in that you can do what you want without drawing lots of attention regardless of your size. If I did come across someone being mean at my expense, I could remind myself that that are like a bug - annoying, but meaningless to me. Making myself go to the pool the first time was hard,but when I saw that my fears were unfounded,
I was able to make my happiness & health more important than the possibility that some moron might want to make fun of a larger middle aged woman. For good or bad, the majority of women in the US are overweight, so it is not like you will be the only plus sized woman at a pool, lake or ocean. Unless you are going to a beach in Miami or LA where everyone is plastic & liposuction, you will simply blend into the crowd. Be kind to yourself and find a way to do what you know you are longing to again. You'll have fun, improve your health & be proud you pushed yourself to do something you have wanted all your adult life. I promise you won't regret it.
There are all kinds of very nice swim suits out there now for plus sized ladies. You can find a style that makes you feel comfortable. EBay sells many top of the line swimwear for less than $20 for suits that retail at over $100+ retain. Your happiness is far more important than what any mean stranger might say. A lot of what stops us really is more of a mindset we develope over the years. I have gone swimming in Hawaii on several trips & in 4 star resorts & really never heard or saw anyone paying attention to me - if someone did I would pay no attention to them. If you go to the pool one time, you will come away kicking yourself for waiting so long to return to something you had a passion for. I really hope you give it a try.

Jon said...

Ellen left such a thoughtful and encouraging comment.

I enjoyed reading about your memories of summer. I used to swim a lot when I lived in California. It was fantastic exercise. After I moved away I never swam again and I miss it.
I seldom exercise now and I'm slowly but surely falling apart.

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

Up until just a couple of years ago, I still swam. We camped at a place that had a in ground pool and I made use of it on a regular basis. Those days are over now and I'm pretty sure that like you swimming is now a thing I won't be doing anymore.

jack69 said...

We have been fortunate. I opened and closed my BIL's pool so many years I swore I would never have one unless it was indoors.
In one of our 'L' shaped house I put a pool inside and made the house square. Indoor gunite pool heated. we had a ball and believe it or not the cost of chemicals probably would have paid for the pool in 20 years if we had kept it. Monthly our chemical bill was about $2. No opening or closing, swim year round.

it is hard not to worry about what someone says (thinks) about your body, but in all honesty, that is YOUR business and the ones picking are not worth worrying about. IMO.

Want to swim, GO FOR IT!

jaz@octoberfarm said...

i have been a swimmer my entire life. i have a wonderful pool which not one person has set foot in this summer.

betty said...

What a scary experience for you to learn to swim that way! Glad you took to the water though and enjoyed it while you could! We had a pool for 2 years one time when we lived in another part of California. It was good for that season in our lives. When we bought the house, we rationalized that if we didn't have a pool the kids would go to houses that had pools and we would rather have them and their friends at our place than them some place else. We would let kids over to swim during the week but reserved the weekend for family swims since that's when hubby could enjoy the pool. Everywhere else we moved we thought of pools, but rationalized that for the short pool season it wouldn't be worth it and most places had great public pools to enjoy :)

betty

Cheryl @ TFD said...

I always loved the water and went swimming every summer. On the farm, we swam in ponds. Now, since I have an inner ear problem, the water aggravates the situation so I rarely get in the water. I can't even ride on a boat anymore, which I loved to do, because motion sickness is another problem. I did venture into a pool just long enough to get myself wet when my daughter and I went to The Lake. She loves swimming and has been going to a pool in a nearby town. She tells me that I shouldn't worry about what I look like because all shapes and sizes are there, lots of plus sizes. I'm not exactly bathing suit material any longer myself and when I went, I pulled on a pair of biker type shorts that came to my mid-thigh and a loose tank top. I say if you wanna swim...go for it!

Paula said...

Used to go to the pool at the next town over where they let seniors swim free. Sadly they didn't keep the pool up and it is closed now. I felt as you do to a degree so I wore my robe to the edge of the pool and took it off as I got in the water and threw the robe on a lawn chair near by.

Lynda said...

Our children's minister is plus size and does not hesitate to swim with the kids. She enjoys the fun of it.
I used to LOVE to swim but cannot get water in my ears or eyes anymore because of health reasons. It is difficult to swim that way.

Sheila Y said...

Our town had a pool when I was growing up and we went to the beach too. We usually go to the beach when we are visiting the parents in the summer and the place we stay has a pool. When my husband and I and girls lived in Texas we had an above ground pool. I don't swim as often but I still like it. I agree with the other comments if you like to swim go for it... :-) Sheila

Mevely317 said...

My home town's high school had a wonderful indoor Olympic-size pool which was a huge draw in my growing-up years ... 25-cents per hour. Unfortunately, I was never much the athlete; and for the most part quit wearing swim suits on account of my varicose veins as early as 17 y/o.
DH and I opted for a pool when we built our house some 10 years ago (pretty much a staple in Phoenix) - but neither of us have spent any time in it to speak of in the last 3-4 years. A silly money pit!

Red Rose Alley said...

Taryterre, these blow-up ladies are so funny. This post came at the perfect time because I have been thinking a lot about the pool we used to have at our old home. It's been pretty hot here lately, and a dip in the pool would be nice. I don't want you to feel bad because I've experienced a pool, but now that I'm older, I see that it is a lot of work to maintain and keep up. Yes, I miss our pool, but don't think I could care for it the way I used to. I think your husband has the right idea. I also took swimming lessons when I was little and learned to swim. I chuckled when I read the part that they just threw you in and you had to paddle away. That's how my husband learned with 10 kids in his family haha.

love,
~Sheri

Barb said...

You need to forget size and get in the water! Those memories of fun ARE fun!

Diann said...

We don't have a pool but I go year round to an indoor community pool. It was recommended by my doctor for my back andknee. I haven't had a chance to get in the water this summer . Too busy at the farm. But I am starting back up next month. I'm a plus size lady and I let go of any concern over it and discovered if I was having fun and enjoying myself, that was what people noticed. Its so much easier to get exercise in the water when you have injuries. And it really feels wonderful!

Nora Moore said...

The kids loved swimming. I haven't gone in a while, though. I kind of miss it. It would be easier to do it if I had a pool.

Nora Moore | http://yandlessplashtimepools.net

Joanne Henry said...

Those are the best types of memories. It isn't too late to rekindle them and bring them back into being, even. Take a trip to the pool, or build yourself one because why not, right? Should be a nice trip. All the best!

Joanne Henry @ Tranquility Pools, Inc.

Peter Weiderman said...

Thanks for sharing those splendid memories! Who wouldn’t love to take a refreshing swim in a fabulous pool during a hot summer day? Those memories shouldn’t just be a part of your past. You can still enjoy pool parties at your own pool or at a public one. You can also host a pool party, so you can have more fond memories with the people you love. Have a great day!

Peter Weiderman @ Guardian Industries

Alvin said...

What a great story. I have always loved to swim too, as a child we had this little pool in our back yard and my mother being the athlete in the family has taught me all I know when it comes to swimming. I have always enjoyed it and still do to this day. Thank you for sharing all this.

Alvin @ Selective Designs