I was a skinny scrawny kid, always fatigued. I had zero energy. I preferred junk food over real food. I was anemic and was on daily iron drops. Of course I did not stay skinny long. When I hit my teen years I grew quite voluptuous…and then chunky…and then darn right obese. These were the starting years of my on and off dieting, binging, and fluctuating up and down in weight. I have countless pictures wearing an oversized t-shirt covering my shorts. I never wore a swim suit during my adolescence because I was ashamed of my body.
A lazy Sunday afternoon swim with thunder rolling in the distance is my idea of a perfect setting. The sun is still shinning, yet dark luminous clouds hang over simultaneously. I marvel at how I swam laps with such ease, yet with urgency knowing a storm is not too far off. I am reminded of last year when I gasped for breath with only 5 laps of swimming.
I never was much of a swimmer. As a child, raised on the beach every summer in Wautoma Wisconsin, enjoying boating, skiing, rowing and catching frogs in the pond, you would think I would be “naturally” a strong swimmer. I even lived with my sister Debbie half our childhood summers smack on the beach in our little tent. Sometimes at night we would take a little night swim, but I never strayed out too far.
And as if living on the beach was not enough to make a swimmer out of me, my grandmother graduated with a degree in physical education and taught swimming as well as competed on swim teams. Go figure! Ma (how we addressed her) even lived in the main house near our cottage on the beach. You would think I would somehow absorb her talent and strength as a swimmer. Nope.
So, the question that begs to be asked is why I had such fear of swimming. I have no idea. I have vivid memories of being stuffed in an orange life jacket and feeling confined. I was not comfortable wearing it nor was I comfortable without it. My siblings joyfully swam out to the raft to play “King of the Raft.” The goal was to push everyone off the raft and last person standing was king…or should I say queen. My memory of attempting to swim to the raft screamed of fear. I recall paddling and paddling trying to reach the raft engulfed by dark cold water only to approach the huge barrels holding up the raft and peering at the emptiness underneath it. No…I did not want to be queen of the raft. I wanted to be safe on shore eating something sweet and gooey. I had neither energy nor desire to join my siblings.
Now here I am 40 years later at my pool wearing my suit and very comfortable in my own body, no longer binging, no longer with weight up or down. It just stays steadily at a nice comfortable maintained weight. I wish I knew then what I know now as I sit at the edge of my pool taking in a lovely afternoon. Well…until the loud piercing thunder shook me out of my daze and inside the house I went. The sky was quickly darkening and a storm was near at hand. Since Florida is the lightening capital of the world I think it’s time to back myself inside and finish this blog.