My Own Kind Of Independence Day

The swimming hole on the Battenkill

Jon left to pick up his daughter, her husband and his granddaughter at the Albany Train station. They’re visiting for a few days and their train was delayed, broken down on the tracks.

The thermometer outside the kitchen window read  89 degrees.

Jon wouldn’t be back for another two and half hours at least.  I knew the river would be crowded today, it always is on the 4th of July, but I thought of how I could be stuck on a train or driving into Albany and decided to act out my gratitude by going for a swim.

I pulled out the shorts and halter top I use as a bathing suit and got dressed.

Usually on a Thursday evening,   I’d be getting dressed for my Bellydancing class, but it was cancelled for the holiday.   I looked in the mirror and tucked the bottom of the halter top up under my breasts.  If I were going to Bellydancing, I’d be wearing a cholie and skirt, my belly bare.

The last time I wore a bikini bathing suit top, I was probably 6 or 7 years old.  For the first time since then I looked at my bare belly in the mirror and thought that I’d like one now, to wear with my shorts when I go swimming.  I actually thought I looked good.

I was really  free from those old tired body image beliefs, I was for the moment anyway, and  I thought that this was my own kind of Independence day.

The watering hole on the Battenkill takes about 5 minutes to get to by car.  I turned on the radio and as if affirming what I was feeling, Lizzo was on Fresh Air talking about how 10 years ago she decided she was going to like her body just the way it was.  It took about 7 years, she said, before she began to believe it and still has to work on it sometimes.

Cars spilled over from the unofficial parking lot on the edge of the corn field at the swimming hole.   There river wasn’t too crowded though,  most of them belonged to people tubing and Kayaking.

At first, the water was cold enough to take my breath away, but my body quickly adjusted to it.    I floated on my back, treading water.

Down river from me  an  older woman walked carefully on the rocky river bottom dunking her whole body in when it got deep enough.  Up river, a little girl walked along the bank then jumped in the water and rode the current back to where her mother was talking to friends.

I felt like I was looking back and forward in time.

I was never that little girl.  As much as I would have wanted to,  I would have been too afraid to do what she did when I was her age, and my mother never would have let me.  But I did think I could be the older woman, twenty years from now.  Still coming to the river to cool off on a hot day.

I stayed long enough to get a chill then was back in the car, windows open driving home, singing the lyrics from Lizzo’s song I memorized after stitching them on my quilt,

And she never tell me to exercise
We always get extra fries
And you know the sex is fire
And I gotta testify
I get flowers every Sunday
I’ma marry me one day”

8 thoughts on “My Own Kind Of Independence Day

  1. Dear Maria, I went swimming on the 4th also, much less dramatic! Our farm pond is about as warm as bath water and my 4 month old puppy was glad to get in and swim with me. Sure is great to have a partner in the pond and on the farm again!

  2. Happy Independence Maria,
    I just hopped in the car an hour ago to run a quick errand and there is one of my favorite shows on the radio, Fresh Air, and Teri Gross is interviewing Lizzo. I had never heard of her before you brought her to my attention and it was a great interview to listen to. I thought of you immediately and here you were listening to the same thing. Body image is such an important issue. It has haunted me my whole life. So nice to hear other women sharing their stories. Thank you.

    1. I love that we were listening to the same thing Wendy. I first heard of Lizzo when the interview first aired. Then I listened to her music and was hooked.

  3. You would have loved our Village’s 4th of July parade, which included a woman dressed up as Wonder Woman riding her “unicorn”. Yes, our horses also wear costumes and march (trot) in the parade.

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