Swimming Without Mirrors

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Courtesy photo

Susan Dromey Heeter and Bennie the dog relax in the heat.


One of my favorite means of movement is swimming, I muse joyfully on the simplicity of a bathing suit, goggles and, my favorite part: no mirrors.  I am not a fan of mirrors as I do much of anything but particularly when I exercise, when I sweat, when my face forms contortions that I do not need to be reminded of.

In fact, the older I get, the less I really do need mirrors. The little summer cottage we’ve been renting has one mirror – it’s propped on the floor of the kitchen and the only way I can see my reflection is to kneel down. Out of pure laziness, I often have no idea how I look, if my hair is combed, disheveled.  I have no idea if an outfit I put on screams, “Nooooooooooo!”  And the best part, in my mind, my bathing suits ALL make me look svelte, tall, incredibly beatific, regal, a model if you will.

And swimming, without mirrors, without reflection is the epitome of freedom from self deprecation. When I swim, I am light, I float, I am beneath the water and no societal expectations can reach me, can invade my joy.  I simply bask in the water, this summer in particular it has been Crane Beach’s salt water that envelops that whispers, “You are perfect, Susan, simply perfect.”

My daughter and her friends wear impossibly tiny bikinis, I wore a bikini the other day with bottoms the size of Cuba.  When my daughter saw me, she inquired, “What are you wearing?”  I don’t think she’ll be borrowing my suit anytime soon. I really had no idea how I looked but, in my mind, it was fabulous. 

And should we not always think ourselves fabulous? I muse joyfully you do, you will, you are that fabulous you. Mirrors often celebrate our flaws rather than our assets, our shame rather than our glory.  So, at least for July, I muse joyfully you’ll avoid the mirrors, put on your bikini and jump in. The water is just fine, my fine, my friends, just fine. And if your bikini bottom is the size of Cuba? Who cares? Just swim, just swim, just swim.Susan Dromey Heeter is a writer from Dover who recently let her hair go au natural white. Writing has been her passion since her English majoring days at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.  Dromey Heeter has lived in The Netherlands, Alaska and currently basks in all things New England, including the frigid winters. An avid swimmer, Dromey Heeter’s great passion is to bring back body surfing as most children have no idea how to ride waves without ridiculous boogie boards.

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