It’s swimsuit time in Arizona, and I’m in the usual quandry. Do I go swimming only in the dark, late at night? Or do I dare venture out in a bathing suit?
Why am I worried? Because I am far from toned, slender and sleek. And I’m less concerned about my knowing that, than being comfortable with it. I don’t want the cut eyes and judging glances at the pool. This is my first year enjoying the condo’s pool, and I’m a little nervous. OK, a whole lot nervous. When we had an 10-foot privacy fence around our private pool, all I thought about was the water. Now that I’m swimming in a pool that’s visible to half the condo residents, it’s a little more daunting.
Here’s what I’m sinking into, along with the cool water: I’m not 30 anymore, and gravity has won a lot of skirmishes on my body. That’s simply how it is. I want to swim, and the condo has a great pool. Bigger than anything I’ve owned, and kept spotless by someone else. I’m going in. I’m going to swim laps. If someone wants to comment on my body, that is best done behind my back.
It’s hard to buck the tide of society, which presses you to have easy meals by steering through the drive-through and punishes you if you look like you eat more than a sheet of paper a day. I can’t fix our schizophrenic culture, but I can point them to an article in the New York Times, saying what I have known for ages–sometimes diets don’t work. I’ve lost a lot of weight, yes, and it has stayed off, but only because I changed what I ate. Drastically. And if I don’t walk every day, the weight creeps back on.
In the next three weeks, I will spend a lot of time on an airplane, getting the looks I’d like to avoid at the pool. No one likes to fly, but it is easy to be the target if you don’t slip into a 16-inch wide seat with ease.
Here’s my defense: I’m friendly. I’m kind. If that doesn’t work, your problem is firmly in your seat. That will have to work in the pool, too. I float like a cork. If the plane goes down in water, or you get a cramp in the pool, you will be lucky I have a BMI that causes doctors to frown. You can hang on to my ankle, and I’ll steer you safely in. I may not be fashionable, but I’m friendly.
—Quinn McDonald wishes bathing suits still went to the knees.