I know it's silly. As a rule, I do not wear bikinis. I have graduated to the tankini, aka Mom Suit, and there will be no turning back.
The MomSuit in all its glory.
I'm not doing this contest because I am trying to have a sculpted body. I'm not doing this because I'm competitive and love to stomp stay-at-home-mother-ass.
Okay, perhaps that's a factor.
I'm doing this because it took me until my thirties to recognize the joy of athleticism.
I was a fairly inactive child---I brought my books outside during recess, and preferred reading under a shady tree while my friends played Red Rover or Freeze Tag. I didn't like the beating heart, the red face, or the sweating.
I played tee-ball, basketball, soccer, and softball and reached the same conclusion each time: hand-eye coordination was not my friend. Volleyball was (and remains) a terrifying activity, involving high speed projectiles, red welts, and forced smiles by my unfortunate teammates. Teammates who tended to say things like, "Why don't you let me cover the entire row?"
It wasn't until I discovered individual sports that I found my athletic home. It's the pleaser in me. I hated to disappoint others, but I could be wicked hard on myself.
I swam competitively in high school. I didn't win any awards, but I learned that my large, broad shoulders that looked goofy in a camisole arched into a poetic, powerful Butterfly Stroke.
Years later, when I decided I wanted to start running, I learned that my long legs could support me for surprising distances, and my mind could play the mental games needed to keep me on task.
These experiences helped me gain strength and confidence. Now, however, as I set my sights towards the rest of my life, I'm discovering a new side of athleticism. The fun side.
I don't compete anymore. I don't need to.
I take kickboxing classes at the gym, where we punch and kick all the petty annoyances out of our life, while music plays and we laugh. I take dance classes, which is perhaps the bravest thing I have ever done. I look like a drunken stork, but I'm a happy bird as I move to the music. I take yoga, which is holy movement.
And when I run, I turn off the clock and allow myself to feel the grace of my stride, the beating of my heart, and the pure joy of my body.
In this hour of my life, I've finally turned off the type-A achiever, and I've learned to move and jump and play like a child.
It's a bit of a miracle, honestly.