Spring Awakening

            I am often slow to come to an awareness of things about me. While my eyes are open as I go about my day, I keep personal feelings tucked safely away. Therefore, I miss the obvious.

            For example, I might be so focused on the menu that I fail to register that friends have ordered and what they have ordered. I might not like the appetizers that they’ve chosen, so my mind races ahead trying to figure out if I am going to be expected to share the cost even though I won’t take one bite.

            Did she just order a salad and that friend a complete entrée? Or was I mistaken? I don’t want to choose the chicken parmesan meal if everyone has soup. Or soup if they order the chicken.

            Today was a perfect example of how long it takes me to process where I am and what to do.

            I had a reservation at the gym to swim. It’s a three-lane pool, and since it reopened, we’ve only been using lanes one and three. My slot was lane one, my favorite.

            When I arrived, lane three was occupied with swim lessons! I almost turned around and left. Eighty pounds ago I would have been embarrassed to swim with parents hugging the walls. I knew, sensed, that they’d all be staring at this fat old lady slapping her way across the pool. My huge, baggy arms made a whomp, whomp sound when they hit the water, something so intriguing that no matter how hard those parents might try, they wouldn’t have been able to ignore. On top of that, the sight of my huge body waddling onto the deck might have repulsed them!

            As I stood at the check-in desk contemplating what to do, it dawned on me that I am no longer that fat old lady. The eighty pounds have been gone for two years and the cosmetic surgeries that I had last year removed the excess skin from my arms and waist. I had no reason to be embarrassed, no excuse for not swimming.

            I changed, and before walking out on the deck, stopped and looked in the full-length mirror. The image startled me. Am I really that thin? Is my stomach really that flat? Are my arms really that small?

            I nodded. Yes, yes and yes. I am all those things and more.

            With my head up I strode onto the deck. I put on my cap and rinsed off. I sat on the top step and slid my feet into my fins, then pulled the goggles over my head.

            I took off, counting one, two, three, four, my arms coming up and then plunging back in, no sound except the bubbles escaping my nose. Back and forth I swam, with newfound confidence.

            I was a swimmer. A real, actual swimmer. A woman who looks good in her new body. And it made me proud.

            Now if I can hold on to that awareness, my life will be so much better.

Room for All

People of the Sun

welcome the strengthening rays

with outstretched arms, reaching,

bringing in welcome warmth.

New days, new adventures await.

Embracing oneness with the

center of the known universe.

People of the Moon

greet the enveloping night

with folded hands

supplicating needs to the bringer

of creation, initiator of all thought,

pledging undying solidarity

to regulated change.

People of the Stars

dream of what may be,

searching for fantastic future hopes

amid a cacophony of movable dots

whose pinpoint lights pierce the

penetrable darkness, bringing hope,

chances of possibilities.

People of the Earth

stand rock solid

firmly planted in the rich soil

of security, whispering goodness,

wealth, and prosperity in grateful

thanksgiving to the One who

made it all appear.

People of the Water

rock soothingly to and fro

with the tides of change:

flexible, contemplative, measured

waves that crash unheeded against

the known, shaking the very

foundations of belief.

People of the Air

flutter about, touching, grazing,

wisps of joy floating through

life, barely discernible, yet solid

enough, felt, yet not.

Changeable, moody, inconsistent

bringers of soothing relief.

People of the Fire

charge engines, roaring life

into being, siphoning air and fuel

to their own needs, greedy, selfish

consumers taking but seldom giving,

burning those who stand too near

warming hearts and minds.

People of the Spirit

find friends everywhere

prosper in graciousness,  spreading

God’s love and goodwill throughout

humankind, lovers of life,

exuberant seekers

of commonalities.

In heaven and on earth

there is room for all

blended salads of goodness.

Riches solidified into countries, cities.

Creators, destroyers, givers, takers

standing under God’s gifts

thankful for life.

The Real Deal

Every day I pack my bag with

Swimsuit and fresh beach towel

And drive to the gym

Optimistic that a few pounds will be shed

Just enough to make a slight difference

 

I drive past workers stringing new telephone lines

Bicyclists, young and old, wavering in and out

Of the narrow confines of their allotted space

 

I bypass trucks that stop at train tracks

As I listen to my favorite country music stars

Wondering how crowded the pool will be

And picture my fat self  walking

Nonchalantly to the pool’s edge

Sitting on the top step as I put on my fins

Pretending that my suit isn’t stretched too

Tightly over my abdomen

And then I step into the water and begin to swim

Feel the current that my hands create

My breathing rhythmic and the motion calming

Lap after lap I glide

Outlasting younger, stronger, faster swimmers

 

When I’m finished, I smile

Proud of what I have accomplished

And in those peaceful minutes

I forget about my size

And what others see when they gape

For I know, that in that moment of time,

That they don’t know the real me

And never will