This video popped up on my Facebook feed today.
Women’s issues are things I think about often, being a woman and all. This video echoes something that has been a very real struggle for me -being ok with taking up space. Lately, the issue has been lurking at my local swimming pool.
I love swimming, but I’m really bad at it. This spring, I took lessons to prepare for a small triathlon I was doing, and realized that going to the pool actually scares me. As it turns out, though, I really enjoyed the triathlon, and if I want to do any more, or any longer races, I’m going to have to practice swimming.
At first, my fear was breathing-based, as in, I couldn’t breathe when I tried to swim. But now I can, yet the fear lingers. This summer, I realized what the bigger problem is: crowded swim lanes. I’m not talking about scary, feet-in-the-face crowded, I’m talking about the possibility of getting in someone’s way.
I was terrified of being in the way, of taking up space. It took a man (accidentally or not) stroking my thigh (actually, he started below my thigh and made his way up) as he swam past to figure this out. For once, I didn’t feel the need to apologize for being there. I was too busy staring mutely in shock.
I still fear the crowded lanes, but I tell myself, every time I get into the pool, that I deserve to be there just as much as anyone else. That I am allowed to take up some space.