Sidewalk Swimming

For years now, I’ve been working on not holding-in my stomach. I used to do it at all times, hoping that by holding it in, my stomach would look more flat, a bad habit I began around the age of 10 when I decided my belly poked out way too much. Any time I found myself holding in my stomach, for hours, at school, I was so happy, thinking I’m really getting it now, I’ve almost contorted enough to be average.

That kind of deep, long distance training takes time to unknot. The fascia and muscle memory needs to unlearn every reason I once gave my body to tighten, to not breathe fully, to be less than my full, relaxed self. I wish I could be with my 10 year old self, and tell that little guy to relax. It’s going to be OK. On a side note, I think that was what I was waiting for someone to tell me when I was a little me, “it’s going to be ok.”

I’ve made progress on the holding my stomach in, error. I’m pretty good at telling myself it’ll be ok, too. I felt corpulent and beautiful in my full belly this morning, and even a bit bawdy as I walked the city sidewalks. I was wearing a bit of a tight shirt, but I was still in my full body, breathing without shame. All the practice of letting it go working. Moving as only I can along this planet. Swimming through the morning rush and humidity. I love swimming. I have mammals returning to the ocean moments when I swim. Long moments, almost all my time, spent underwater being a whale, dolphin, or even a manatee moving through the deep. This morning, simply moving along the sidewalk, I was gliding, reminding me of those fluid moments underwater.

Granted, I don’t weigh as much as I did at my heaviest, but I weigh a lot more than I did when I was 10. I lost a lot of weight, but I’ve gained about 30 pounds back. It’s nice. I get to take my confidence and way of living for a ride in a larger body.

I didn’t appreciate my body back then, But I do today. Don’t get me wrong, I want to lose any weight that will hold me back, or down, but I’m happy to resolve, and become more friendly with myself and my belly as it is, heavy or thin. It was my feelings, aggression and thoughts about my belly that held me back and down, much more so than the weight itself. People used to say that to me, but I didn’t understand. It sounded ridiculous and too easy.

Now there is a bit more marvel, and much more of an understanding of the role my body has in experiencing this world. It is everything; taste, touch, feel, see, hear, think, dream. This is the collection of how I experience life, and it is my body that gives it to me. The intimacy I enjoy with all things is through my body.

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