The Goddess Weighs In

Living Large and Healthy

Like A Personal Floatation Device

on November 18, 2013

I love being in the water. I love floating around.  It feels like flying and within the confines of the pool I feel like I have a superpower.  I always liked the water even before I was this buoyant, but I do really like bobbing along.  I come by it naturally, both of my parents liked swimming and many of my earliest and fondest memories involve my family spending time together in the pool.  My father was a big fan of floating as well, though not a particular heavy man he preferred a starfish approach, floating on the surface of the water and letting the gentle current carry him about.

When I was in Florida a couple of years ago with  my ex we were in the deep end talking when he realized that I was just bobbing in the water.  He was hanging on to the side or tredding water while we talked and it suddenly occurred to him that I wasn’t moving at all, I was just floating in place.  When he questioned it I just smiled and agreed that yes I was floating.  He puzzled over it for a minute and then it donned on him.  Fat floats.  Of course he also decided that it would be more fun to grab on to me than the side of the pool and we both started to sink because I’m only buoyant enough for one passenger and that would be me.

The only time my superpower has been an issue was a few weeks ago at the YMCA.  On Sunday mornings we have a rather animated young man who leads the aquafit class.   He is earnest in his love of physical fitness and plans to be a doctor and he shouts and jumps about and some of the participants love him and some of us tolerate him and either way it’s a good workout.  Unlike many of the instructors who simply demonstrate the proper form, our instructor is very enthusiastic and will call people out if they are splashing too much or otherwise not following his instruction.  Typically this is not an issue for me, I’ve been doing aquafit for many years and I pay attention, but a few weeks ago he told me that I needed to get my legs down lower in the water while we were holding onto the side and bicycling in the pool.  I smiled and nodded and attempted to adjust a bit, but I continued on with what I was doing.  He came back to me three times and politely, but loudly called me out for not getting my knees below the water line.  On the third call out I said “No” and that I would speak to him later.  He looked a little surprised, then he apologized and took his cue to leave me alone.

The instructor is very thin and it was obvious that despite his science education he had not considered that the lipids in my body float on the water and keep most of me near the surface.  After the class I debated actually speaking to him, but I wanted him to understand that I wasn’t being obstinate or doing my own thing and I wanted to make sure that he didn’t do the same thing to other plus sized patrons.  After all it’s not our fault that our “personal flotation devices” engage in the water and that our legs float up to the surface.  Any attempt to adjust simply does not allow someone like me to benefit from the exercise.  I have to admit that I was a little embarrassed to initiate the conversation, but I explained in as few words as possible and he caught on immediately and apologized.  I’m not sure if he will pass this knowledge on to his colleagues at the Y or later when he hopefully becomes a doctor, but I do know that he hasn’t mentioned it since and that works for me.

– the Goddess

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