So, last night’s post was very depressing. I’m sorry, folks. Writing it was enormously cathartic. I felt whooshes of relief after writing it. But I’m very sorry if it saddened or worried other people.
People’s reaction to it has been amazing – humbling, loving and tender. It is a massive comfort to know that if I fall there are so many people waiting to catch me, like a massive communal trampoline of love.
Today has been a far better day than yesterday. Work was fun, college was productive, and people were lovely (and fun!)
I resolved to do one “me” thing today. And that was to go swimming. I stopped going to the lessons when I was defeated by the backstroke and when I started evening work back in April. I signed up for a six-month membership that included free lessons in June and I hadn’t made it back yet.
I went back today. I stripped down to my swimming togs. And it was fine. No one averted their eyes. No one screamed in pain. No one retched at the sight of me. I sometimes forget that the only person who my body upsets is myself.
I looked around. Everyone else has stupid bodies too. Funny nipples. Patchy hair in unlikely places. Bulges. Bumps. Red bits. White patches. Blue splotches. Wobbles. Pimples. There were about three perfect bodies at the whole swimming pool, and none of them belonged to Irish people.
I don’t know how I let myself forget the obvious, but I do. My body really isn’t the worst thing to ever happen to Dublin and I need to stop thinking that it is.
As it happens, my padlock was broken. I tried every combination of numbers I could possibly have set it at. It wouldn’t open. And I wasn’t going to leave my bag, with my new laptop, in an open locker. I had to get dressed again and go to reception and buy a lock. I was too late to join the swimming lesson by the time I’d stripped down again.
So I spent 10 minutes or so splashing around in the pool by myself, and then a while in the sauna, and then back in the pool, back and forth for about an hour.
I’m delighted I didn’t go to the swimming lesson. There’s another one tomorrow that I can go to.
When I emerged from the pool, I felt very clean. Clean inside. I felt as if I’d given my soul a bath. I felt very, very relaxed, not having lost all of the fear I was carrying around yesterday, but all the sadness and tension of the weekend was completely gone.
I had a dinner that, for the first time in a long time, involved neither bread nor chips. I stood up from the table not feeling over full. I was like a normal boy.
I have resolved to learn to love how I look. I may not ever get the body I dream of, but I need to start loving me, so I don’t have any more weekends like the one I just had.
I’ve decided to put myself through a Gok Wan – “How to Look Good Naked” process over the rest of the summer. I’m going to love my lumpen self come Hell or high water.
There are a number of steps to this:
- This weekend, I’m going to go through my clothes. Any piece of clothing that doesn’t make me feel good about myself is going to charity.
- I’m going to buy myself my first new pair of glasses since 2003. They’re going to be fabulous. And possibly hipster. (This, and the next few, will happen in the third week of August, when I’m due to get a very large paycheck.)
- I’m going to get a back, sack and crack wax. From a professional. You heard it here first. There WILL be a blogpost about this.
- I’m going to do something fancy with my hair. I don’t know what, but I’ve been growing it for the first time since 2006, and by the end of August, there’ll be three months of growth there.
- I’m going to get professional (tasteful) naked photos of myself.