Because of me can be a should or not

© Jenn Shallvey

© Jenn Shallvey

"You know you burn more kilojoules when it’s cold”, the voluptuous woman said as she undressed next to me in the local pool changerooms. “Well at least that’s what I think.”

“Really”, I enquired not having cared about kilojoules for a long time even though I am equally as voluptuous.  I shared “I just swim for the pure joy and fun of it. I used to think like this but after awhile I got tired of the should. Now I just swim and have fun.”

“Oh! I so wish I could be like you!”, my change room companion exclaimed.

“What do you mean?”

“Well I would like to swim and not worry about that but today I swim because I have to.”

So of course I asked her “Why do you have to?”.

“Because of me.”

Then I shared that I do relate because I used to do that too. But then I realised it wasn’t my voice but the voice of others telling me to do it. I also said I did a fair amount of self development work on myself to get here. I was not always this comfortable.  

Again she reiterated how nice it would be to shift this way of thinking. But today she was going to just go swim because she had to.

We laughed out of shared understanding and acceptance.  I wished her well and that she enjoy her experience no matter why she is doing it.

More recently my swims have been in the cold weather and not as frequent. Call me a wimp with the cold weather. I only like swimming outdoors. When I get the motivation up it is absolutely exhilarating running out in what feels like 10˚C (50˚F) to jump in and swim. The pool thankfully is heated a bit more than that. Even so with the wind and cold air around it is refreshing.  

So you can understand the joy of finishing a swim, walking the cold tiles and concrete to the hot shower. Then warming up and feeling like a million dollars. I love it.  And I have found the other people who choose to go at this time do too. In contrast to the lady above who says ‘I have to’, most people are smiling and sharing their joy with me. We don’t know each other but we look at each other and exclaim things like ‘Wasn’t that fantastic! Doesn’t a swim in the winter feel great.’  All in unified agreement. All remark how others who don’t swim will say we are crazy.

So two different ways of approach the activity of swimming – one out of chore almost, the other to feel joy. I like the latter but understand the former.

By now you are probably thinking I am this crazy lady chatting up naked woman in changerooms. Not at all. I am just comfortable and when others are too we talk like we are anywhere else. I strike up conversations in cafes, lines at stores. You name it. Just being friendly. Nothing too deep. But yes it can be awkward in a change room.  You can tell when someone is comfortable enough to chat. Usually these are the ones comfortable in their body whatever shape they are in.  

I used to not be this way. I used to be like this lady. I would dread even the thought of being in my swimsuit in front of others. Another story for another post.

For now I just want to share that being comfortable in your own skin means being able to have space to enjoy not just the experiences you choose but the people you meet. And not being comfortable is also where you are at.