Friday, 11 August 2017

Getting Ready to Swim

If you've been following Safe Space for a while or been following my personal blog then you'll know that I've been struggling for the past few years and that due to it exercise went straight out of the window. Fortunately, I am pleased to announce that last week I finally managed to make it to the swimming pool - and I even managed to conquer 32 lengths before calling it a day! Needless to say I was pretty ecstatic after that swim.

But that's actually not what I want to talk about today - I'm sure I'll give you the low down on how my active-ness is coming along in a few weeks time. Instead today I want to talk about the Swimming Pool Changing Rooms.

For this swim I ended up going to a swimming pool that I had never used before and the very first thing I noticed when I walked into the changing room was that there were no individual changing facilities (that I could see anyway). Instantly I felt like turning around and asking for a refund. I did not feel comfortable and my anxieties flared up like crazy. The only thing that kept me walking into the changing room was the desire to swim. I just had to get past the beginning step.

The problem is that I have no body confidence. I barely like being naked in front of myself, let alone in front of a room full of strangers. And yet all around me women were standing with their breasts hanging out while they got changed. They were doing all of this while holding conversations with their friends too.

And it is something I have never felt comfortable with and yet I know quite a few swimming pools don't have individual changing rooms. I just don't understand how you could feel comfortable stark naked in front of a bunch of strangers? Obviously no one will be explicitly looking at you - I hope - but how is it possible to just let it all hang out there and not worry?

This is the catch for me.

I hate my body. I worry about my body. But mostly I feel awkward, ugly and hate everything about my nakedness. I have a zillion stretch marks from puberty and gaining too much weight too quickly. Plus baggy skin and rolls of flesh that just flop everywhere and I'm not even going to get started on my breasts but let's just say I love bras. I love covering up my breasts and holding them in place. No one wants to see my breasts free - I am sure of it.

So I guess I want to understand how it's possible to just be free to get naked and shower and change in a women only changing room. Is it something I can learn to get used to or is it something that some people are just good at?

I remember at secondary school when we had PE that some of the females in my year group wouldn't exactly strip to nude but they'd be happy to whip tops and skirts off and parade around in their underwear while I did that shorts on underneath skirt before skirt comes off sort of changing.

Was this where I went wrong? If I had just stripped down to my underwear freely as a teenager, would I be more comfortable in a swimming pool changing room today?

Honestly I have no idea and even more honestly, I'm not sure I ever want to be comfortable in that environment.

What about you? Are you like me or are you comfortable being naked around other women? And do you have any advice for me?


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No judgment, no hate, because it is already tough enough being a girl.