This is going to be a different type of blog. This blog is very much written from the heart, from Laura to you.
We sent a tweet earlier, encouraging people from all walks of life to join us in swimming, we received a reply that simply read, “I am ashamed of my body”, and it made me stop dead in my tracks and immediately resonated with me on a very deep level.
I have always struggled to love my body. From being a young woman with societal pressures, to becoming a mother and all the extra lumps and bumps this creates, and now moving into my middle age where everything begins to go squishy… I still struggle to love my body.
From a very early age competing in dancing, gymnastics and swimming (amongst a million other sports I actively took part in), I knew that my body was not like the others around me; I was beautifully athletic with a side of Cadburys Crème eggs.
Whilst others around me seemed to move in their svelte leotards with the skill and grace of swans, I would stomp and throw myself about with the intention of being a svelte swan, but instead with all the grace of a cave-dwelling troll.
Add into the mix that I was also highly academic, ginger and wore glasses – I was a poster-girl for all school playground teasing. I am all too painfully aware of what it feels like to feel insecure about your body.
I do not know anyone that is 100% happy and confident in their skin. We look at others and compare ourselves to them constantly. We each have things we wish were different or that we could change. But would you like to know a secret? Those people you look at and envy, they too look at you and see things in you they wish they could have.
The swimming community, especially that of the open water community at TriSwim is where I find my solace. It is where I feel nobody is comparing me or making me feel in any way inadequate. We are all there because we love the outdoors, because we love the feeling of the cold water against our skin; we are all there in all our unique beauty and we embrace and love each other for it.
What I have learned from the people I swim with is that my body is a story of my life. Every scar, every battle wound, every squishy bit is a story into my life and what has brought me to this point. It is every one of these “impurities” that make me, me and I love myself for being perfectly imperfect.
Adorning a swimming costume and walking into the water, I won’t deny that even now I still feel insecure and a little scared. I still worry what others might think; here, this embattled swimming coach that doesn’t have a “perfect” body. “How can she coach others when she can’t even look after her own body”.
My body is living proof of my everyday challenges; I am a mother, I am a wife, I am a friend, I am a daughter, I am a student, I am a businesswoman, I am a coach; I am a swimmer.
EVERY BODY IS A SWIMSUIT BODY.