I went with Ryan and the kids to the public swimming pool the other day. I don’t know how they convinced me, but yeah. There I was in those germy basins of tepid water, along with like fifty pre-teens, babies in swimmer diapers, and a couple really hairy old men.
Anyway, at ten minutes before the public swim time was over, I decided to make my way to the change room to beat the crowd. I still have nakedness in public spaces issues, although I’d really like to just get over it, you know? So I got in there, and there was only me, two very nude older ladies, and three teenaged girls.
The girls were getting ready for the “teen swim” that happens in the evenings at the pool. I changed quickly and discreetly, facing my locker and avoiding any eye contact, while purposely NOT covering up. Like I said, I’m trying to get over the nude in public fear. And nothing happened and it was fine and whatever, right?
So just as I was mentally patting myself on the back for being topless and then bottomless in a change room without doing the whole awkward towel drape thing or running into a changeroom like a scared little rabbit, I overheard the teenage girls talking in front of the mirror.
They were straight up openly hating themselves. They were pinching parts of their (normal) bodies and yelling “EW” and “I am disgusting!” and “I can’t go in public like this” and just all-out horrible things. And I remember doing the same thing, panicking when I had to be seen in a bathing suit. Um, yesterday. I still hate on myself in the same way, but quietly, on the inside. And I’m fighting it all the time. I tell myself to quit it, but then I do it anyway.
But hearing it out loud, it was terrible. I just wanted to turn around and say something, anything, to them. How it’s unbecoming to be so self-conscious. How they were crazy and they looked beautiful. How they shouldn’t care what people think anyway. How it doesn’t matter at all.
And then I realized that I should maybe just focus on myself. Because I was doing the same thing as these girls, walking from the hot tub to the pool, all I was thinking of was how my thighs were probably jiggling and how I was sure every person at the entire pool was probably judging me, and maybe I should get a bathing suit that covers my stomach. Even though if I logically think about it, nobody even looked at me while I was walking, and if they did it was probably because I am covered in tattoos, not because I’m fifteen pounds overweight or whatever.
I don’t know why it’s so hard to get over these things … anyone else turn into a paranoid weiner when they’re in a bathing suit or is it just me?