I woke up this morning thinking someone stepped on my stomach in my sleep. But Bandit slept in his cage, so I knew it wasn’t him during the night. Then it hit me. Mother nature. Why wouldn’t I start my period and have cramps the day of my entry skills test for scuba diving?! I was so bloated that none of my jeans fit.
So I did what every woman in need to cramp reliefs does…went to CVS! I got orange Gatorade, Ibuprofen liquid gels, salty chips, and new hair products. Oh, and a five hour energy. It worked. But I still had the constant thought in my head, “What if I end up being known as tampon girl because I get out of the pool and my string is hanging out?” I think this is a fear every single girl has while on her period and swimming. The infamous white string. Swimming with a pad (or diaper, although babies do it) just isn’t effective or sanitary. Moral of the story, guys should be happy these concerns don’t go through their head prior to a trip to mass of water.
Either way, I did what I could with what I had. From a previous blog, you are aware that I don’t have a swim suit devoted to swimming. I simply have a wet suit and a “fashion” one piece swim suit. So, being day one, I took my “fashion” swim suit because I didn’t want to come off “die hard” — I had to joke about or at least inform people of my wet suit before I actually put it on for class. This fashion swimsuit will add humor to the story later.
So, I got to campus. I was a little nervous still, questioning my abilities as a swimmer. Ironically enough, body issues were near the bottom of the concerns. I just wanted to pass the entry skills test of: 200 meter swim, 25 feet under water with one breath, and 10 minute water treed.
I thought about maybe tripping on ice or running out in front of a car to avoid taking the test, but those weren’t logical decisions. Or healthy either. So, I just kept walking and chuckled at the desperate thoughts I had while walking to class.
Finally, it was the moment of truth. I went into the women’s locker room and made a friend with the first girl I saw. Maybe a clinger move, but I needed a buddy- gotta get selfish early; don’t want to be picked last like the fat kid in gym. Side note: I can say that because I really was the fat kid who got picked last in elementary school. (She ended up being my buddy, her name is Abby in case you hear more about her and my scuba excursions later). Moving on.
I looked in the mirror only once. I didn’t really care. I have a smile on my face and my body will be in the water most of the time anyway. So I made a decision to not let my body win (Thanks again Brad King.)
Although, I still went in a bathroom stale and changed. I didn’t feel comfortable stripping down for Abby after just meeting her. I mean, we at least need to have dinner first or maybe even Starbucks.
The first task was to swim 200 meters or 300 meters to accomplish a skill needed for the exit exam. My goal was to go big or go home.
I decided to go first and jumped into lane six. A guy was already swimming in lane six, but we shared. No biggie until I realized my fashion swimsuit would not work out as planned. I jumped into the water and out came my boobs. Really fast. For an instant really. Then I pushed the girls back in their place.
Wow, I thought. With all these boys with goggles, I know one of them saw my girls. Minor issue. Nice to meet you too.
So I laughed and kicked off the wall to begin my journey. Out they came again. So I had to make a plan. I would breast stroke. Funny considering the nature of the situation. And every time I made a stroke, I pulled my top back up. So really, I was working twice as hard. I know they probably slid out a few times when I did the “regular” or “freestyle” stroke– not sure on the lingo yet, but whatever. Not the first or last pair they will see. Typical moment in the life of Ashley Bedwell.
But I did it!! I did the 300 meter swim, swam 45 feet (I needed 50 feet to pass the exit exam, but 25 for today) under water with one breath, and treed water for 15 minutes— all with a swim suit malfunction and a smile on my face.
So I’m excited. I am even more excited that I walked around in my swim suit without questioning how I looked.
I just let it all hang out; yes, pun is intended here. Well hopefully the tampon string wasn’t hanging out. But we can’t worry about everything now, can we kids?