Saturday, September 21, 2013

"In the water I am beautiful." --Kurt Vonnegut

I joined a gym this week. My morning walks around my mother-in-law's neighborhood were great, but last week, after running into a snake and a neighbor's unleashed doberman who gave me a little nip (among other terrifying wildlife), I was done.

I went in really just to a get a few days of working out for free. I didn't expect to love it. But surprise: I loved it. I dropped Henrietta off at the gym daycare, got on the treadmill, rocked out to my music, watched the news on closed caption, and started a couch-to-5k program using an app. Endorphins flooded me. I forgot how much I love those endorphins.

And this morning I went to my first water aerobics class. I'm not yet brave enough to try the other classes, though I will get brave enough soon, and this was the perfect reintroduction. Water aerobics is ideal for a post-pregnancy body. Really, I think water aerobics is just ideal.

There aren't any mirrors! No one was competing! Someone told me my swimsuit was gorgeous! All of this was precisely what I needed.

My post-pregnancy body is such a disappointment, still. My hips are hippier and my belly is loose and my breasts are heavy with milk. I'm working on it, but gently, gently, and slowly, slowly. I refuse to beat myself into a smaller form. But in the water, it doesn't matter at all. All you can see is my head, and I'm okay with my head. I love my head.

All of us had beautiful heads. There was a woman with a gorgeous afro and another with a stylish grey bob. A few of us wore glasses, speckled with pool water. It was clear our bodies had suffered: we'd born babies and lifted grandchildren and perhaps had a few joints replaced, and we were freckled and wrinkled and sagging.

But our swimsuit cleavage was magnificent, and we swished and splashed. I found myself laughing out loud. It didn't just make me happy; I was outright joyful. I loved myself under the water. I loved all of us, moving our bodies and making waves and churning things up as much as we pleased. Underwater, we were dancers and kickboxers and yogis and cheerleaders and basketball players. Underwater, we were beautiful. Underwater, we ran so fast.

8 comments:

Janae @ Bring-Joy said...

I love water aerobics! When I'm in the water, gravity means nothing & I feel beautiful. I love the feel of movement in water. I'd live in water if I could.

I taught water aerobics at BYU & at a rec center for a few years. It was a lot of fun, but now I'd rather take a class :)

Glad your moving & being easy on yourself about body post-baby. Pregnancy does such a number on our bodies, we have to give it time & marvel at how amazing we are for creating another human being.

(Love your Kurt quote.)

belann said...

You nearly convinced me to give it a try. Except my head may not be beautiful doing the water thing, but maybe. Lovely post.

Brad and Erica said...

I did water aerobics when I was pregnant with Annika, just about until I delivered, and I loved the way I felt so light in the water. Coming out was a bit of a disappointment though - to feel all the weight hit me as I left the pool. Such a beautiful post - thank you!

Annie said...

If water aerobics can guarantee me magnificent swimsuit cleavage, then I'm on board.

Emily said...

This is great. I love zumba, but why have mirrors? WHY? So now I'd like you to write about gravity and how it's both a blessing and a curse and relate that to something profoundly symbolic. Ready? Go.

Amara said...

Gorgeous delicious prose! I'm so happy for you too.

maryanne @ mama smiles said...

I did aqua therapy for back problems a couple years ago and loved it. I need to find a water aerobics class!

Rachel Hunt said...

:)

This is beautiful.