I’m doing something I’ve never done before and it’s swimming laps when it’s not summer. I’ve never pegged myself as an indoor pool person but now I’m flutter kicking my way through the fall. 

To accomplish this I’ve had to get over a couple of hurdles. One, and this is the most important, I’ve needed to contend with the fact that I’m wearing a swimsuit outside of the traditional swimsuit months. 

This has been hard for me. Usually when Labor Day rolls around my swimsuit gets a send-off to the deep, dark, area of the basement joining the pool bag, beach towels and assorted goggles that no one ever wears but I can’t seem to throw away because well, someone, some distant summer might need a pair.

To be honest I’m always a little bit excited about packing away summer. Fall to me means I’m just one season closer to the bounty of winter where my dream comes true of not having to show my arms for at least three months.

I was never self-conscious about my arms until three years ago when I was taking a Pilates class and the instructor went off on bat wings. Her soliloquy was passionate and a tad aggressive. This woman really had some issues with a chubby upper arm. 

The coup de gras was when she touched my arm pudge and said, “Everyone needs to remember that the arm is the only part of the body that people see naked all year long. You need to ask yourself, does this arm look good nude?”

I was still stunned that all of sudden I had become an arm model and not in a good way, so my reply wasn’t exactly a stellar comeback. I muttered, “I guess it does. I mean it’s an arm and I’ve haven’t really thought about my arms as being nude in public.”

Of course, I never went to that class again, but the damage was done. I became insecure about my arms. This made me disappointed in myself. I’m a seasoned human being and I had hoped by this time on planet Earth I would have a little more oomph in the body positivity department. 

But alas it was not to be. Not only do I now think about my arms too much, but I also find myself randomly pondering who uses the word nude in regard to their arms? Am I the only one that thinks that’s a little weird?

Another swimming laps indoor obstacle has been that sometimes I’m in a lane next to people training for triathlons. Just to be clear in case anyone was confused I’m not a chubby armed triathlete. Okay, no one thought that – awkward but let’s move one.

One woman I occasionally find myself swimming next to is training for a river swim. I eavesdropped on her telling another triathlete that the last swim she did was after a flood and the water was filled with so much debris that she almost got knocked out by a tree moving downstream. Meanwhile I’m using my kids old “Finding Nemo” kickboard – again, awkward. 

The one thing that has stayed constant in swimming laps outdoors or indoors is that it affords my brain some quiet. I’m not listening to podcasts about supply chain issues or mix and match Covid boosters. I’m just alone with my thoughts which sometimes veer to nude arms and that Pilates instructor.

I then make myself give thanks for my arms strongly churning through the water and go deep on revenge scenarios for that teacher like maybe she gets chased by a posse of bat wing women.

That’s my kind of armed and dangerous.