on bravery and the body
I don’t know what day today is, but yellow bounces off everything outside, and my children smell like sunscreen and chlorine. Their eyes are blood-red from opening under water. I’ve been propped next to a pool, sucking in a little, covering my shoulders with a wide-rim hat. My babies, they know how to play.
When I was small, already in school, PE felt like death to me. I wasn’t good at anything. I begged for people to pass me in line. I was slow. I was seriously afraid of airborne balls. I still duck when one soars my direction. I think I made C’s in Physical Education.
Every time I run, my mantra is “I hate this. I hate this. I hate this.” Why anyone would ever ever ever run a marathon is the greatest mystery to swamp my brain.
Lately, I braved it into a class called Zumba, because if I’m good at anything it’s a little natural rump shaking. I had heard that they turn the lights down low, only women. I stood in the back, and then boomed in Latin music, and we postered ourselves like Shakira in one of those really oily videos she does.
I loved it I loved it I loved it, smiling so big that my teeth got dry. And so after that little dose of worked-out bravery, I put on a swimming suit, and I wore it in public next to all my girlfriends who could win great big prizes for how beautiful their bodies are. They don’t hate exercise at all.
I’m only here to take note. I still don’t want to know if it’s Wednesday or Thursday. Bravery feels good. It feels good to not care what people think. I mean, I’m still going to suck in, but I don’t want to forget that the red face that comes from the endless possibility of failure eventually goes away. And after the red is gladness and a pair of legs that feel just a tee-niny bit stronger.