So back at the beginning of 2020 I decided I really needed to stop thinking about swimming and actually swim. So I signed up for a swim membership at the Better Centre (Better now runs all of NI’s leisure centres, more or less) and started going after work.
I also signed Adam up for swimming lessons. He hadn’t wanted to do them for ages and then swimming was part of PE at his school and he realised how much fun swimming is! I think he asked me in the beginning of 2019 if he could take lessons and I tried to sign him up but things kept happening and it didn’t happen.
But when I signed me up for swim membership, I signed him up for swim lessons. On Sundays at 0915. UGH!
And then, of course, PANDEMIC!!! So I didn’t get to swim any more and neither did Adam.
And then, the pools opened! For about a month!
And then, the pools closed. For about three months.
Now they are back open and Adam is back to lessons and we both love it.
I am not fast. I have no real technique. But I managed to go back and forth for about 45 minutes 1 – 2 days a week and Adam and I go to the Family Swim on Sunday afternoons and play.
Now, part of the reason that I have no technique is because various things hurt at various times on my body. This includes a brand new hurt in my left knee (yay?) and the inability most of the time to move my left shoulder in a circular motion for backstroke/crawl.
So I do some breast stroke. And I do swim on my back, but use a frog kick like breast stroke but upside down.
So I plod along, in the slow lane, and I enjoy it.
And then I heard laughter the other day. I was just coming to the end of a lap at the shallow end so I stood up and looked toward the laughter.
And two girls there immediately looked away from staring at me.
If they weren’t laughing at me? They sure the hell didn’t act like it.
And here I am, 52 years old, mostly not caring what other people think, but that laugh, from two twenty-somethings hurt.
See, I’ve been laughed at for my athletic ability all my life. Last picked for teams when I was a kid. People laughing at the way I ran during the track and field module in PE. Even the things I was sort of good at, like doing floor exercises for gymnastics, people would still snicker at the fat girl trying to tumble.
Fuck them, I thought to myself, I am here, in this pool, doing these laps despite being fat, disabled, mentally ill, and tired all the fucking time.
I am not swimming for those petty little girls.
I’m swimming for me. Because it makes my joints feel better. Because I enjoy it.
So if you are a twenty something girl who swims at the Olympia Leisure Centre and enjoy laughing at fat women swimming the next lane over? Fuck off to fuck off and then fuck off again.
If you’re lucky, you’ll never have any health issues.
And if you’re not and wind up with some? I hope the twenty somethings who are swimming the next lane over don’t laugh at you. Because it’s mean.