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


Mystery Unfolded

I don’t know for sure why I am who I am

But I can guess

It could be because I was raised in a

Conservative, controlling family

In which I was expected to marry young

Like at fourteen

But I rebelled and graduated from high school

Went on to college, but not to the one of my choice

I had to live at home until my brother went away

And then I was required to attend the same college

But something unexpected happened because

There I learned to think

To believe in my abilities to tackle difficult subjects

And succeed

To stand on my own two feet and have opinions

That I was willing to say out loud

My first real job required me to go out into the community

And knock on doors

Talk to total strangers about a difficult topic

At first I was terrified

But in time I gained confidence and could speak up

Say what needed to be said and do what needed to be done

This newer, stronger me met a man who not just acknowledged

My right to be me, but encouraged me to stride out

And try new things

For this I love him, respect him, admire him

Motherhood didn’t come easy to me

I’d never held a baby, cuddled one to my chest

Or kissed the top of its tender head

So I learned by doing and making mistakes

But I love my kids, now adults, unconditionally

And because my husband is a good man, I worked hard

To encourage and be proud of my kids in a way that I never felt

My husband is my rock. My example. My shining star

Who leads me along the path of life

So I may not know for sure why I am who I am,

But I can give credence to the belief that

My husband is the creator, the shaper, the one

Who should be given credit for all I have accomplished

And continue to accomplish

When I stop to think about it,

It is because of him that I am me

And that makes me proud