THE NAKED SHOWER CLUB
“People will forget what you say; they will forget what you do; they will never forget how you made them feel.”
Today day was going great.
Up early. Coffee. Oats. Pomegranate.
A fabulous swim with only 3 people in my lane.
Some great advice from my coach.
After 8 months off, the pool was feeling like home again. My body was starting to feel like I belonged here.
You know that moment.
That 5 seconds when the whole day goes sideways, and you remember.
You remember that you’re different. That you’re imperfect.
And you leave, fighting back tears.
Most of the time, I don’t give a shit what people think. But today, for some reason, it hurt.
And I know that I’m not the only one who has felt this way.
So I want to know: why do we as women judge each other? Why do we spend time comparing our stomachs and our breasts and our thighs? Why can’t we just embrace one another?
I should back this up and start with some context 🙂
Last week, my friend Mari released the final episode in her web series about being an amateur triathlete. I find her journey incredibly inspiring. Among other things, in the episode, she challenges women to “join the naked shower club,” at the gym citing that the best way to get over celebrity culture and the worship of the unachievable body is to be exposed to the bodies of real, live women. I love this idea.
I happen to swim at a pool where showering in a stall isn’t an option; the naked shower club is there whether you like it or not.
Which means that my 8”, 8 month old myomectomy scar is out there – whether I’m ready or not.
And I seriously thought I was ready. Today was my 5th swim back – my second with my team – and to date it’s been a non-issue. No one has even noticed. Or if they have, they’re ignored it.
But this morning, someone was staring at my scar. And I don’t mean that someone looked at it. I mean that this woman stopped what she was doing and her jaw dropped as her eyes flickered from my belly to my face and back again.
At least, that was how I felt. I felt hurt. I felt judged.
I wanted to so badly to snap, say something, anything.
I wanted to say something cruel and cutting.
But I didn’t. I grabbed my things. I left. Alone. Quietly.
And maybe she was just curious.
Maybe she didn’t realize she was being rude.
Maybe I just noticed because I am sensitive about it.
But I’m putting this out here because I’m tired of hiding it.
Silence breeds shame. And I refuse to be ashamed of my body.
I may not yet be entirely comfortable with my new normal, but I refuse to let the judgments of others keep me from doing what I love.
I will return tomorrow; I will swim, and I will return to the naked shower club.
And if people want to stare – then let them stare.
And hopefully someone else will feel more comfortable with their body as a result.
Because my body isn’t perfect. But I won’t hide it.
In the meantime, know that your body is beautiful. Whatever it looks like. Your body is a reflection of your struggles and your experiences and your journey.
And none of us have a perfect journey.
Or a perfect body.
So let’s learn to love the ones that we have.
P.S. If you are interested in checking out Mari’s webseries “A Season in the Life”, you can find it here.