December 14, 2010

Darling Mermaid Darlings

About a year ago, a friend of mine (Kat) hosted a series of dinner parties at her apartment. She's a great cook, so we ate amazing meals, and afterwards,ned and chuck - loveee she had us watch episodes of a television show she had been raving about called "Pushing Daisies." The show had recently been canceled, but Kat had both the seasons on DVD. From the beginning, I fell in love. It's kind of like "Amélie" with a science fiction twist - it's charming and colorful and twee, and the main character has the ability to bring dead things back to life. It sounds morbid, but it's absolutely delightful. The main characters are Ned (who "makes pies and wakes the dead"), Charlotte (aka Chuck, Ned's childhood sweetheart whom he has given life back to), Emerson (a detective who uses Ned's power to help solve crimes), Olive (a waitress in Ned's pie shop), and Lily and Vivian (Chuck's guardians, whom she has always referred to as her aunts).

In their youth, Lily and Vivian were part of a sisters synchronized swimming duo called the Darling Mermaid Darlings. They had wild costumes and put on shows that were wildly popular, until personal tragedies got in the way, and they gave up swimming. Chuck has been brought back to life, but in order to protect Ned's secret, she cannot let her aunts know that she is alive again. Having grown up in their care, this totally devastates Chuck.

as in english, for h2o
So, she enlists Olive to help her get her aunts feeling happy and living their lives fully again; one major component of Chuck's plan is to get the Darling Mermaid Darlings back in the water. The plan takes a long time to implement, as the sisters both have fears and anxieties about leaving their house and going back out into the world. One of Olive's attempts includes waving a cup of water with ellen greene and swoosie kurtz = totally brilliantdissolved chlorine tablets under Lily's nose - a smell she had once referred to as "bottled sunshine."

I can totally understand calling it that. Growing up, my grandparents lived across town, and they had a pool that we essentially lived in from June to September. My sisters and I would spend hours in the water - we wouldn't even get out for lunch, we'd just hang over the side and eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. There was a basketball hoop and poles for setting up a volleyball net, so whenever our cousins would come to visit, we'd have huge games. It was amazing, and in the background of these happy childhood memories, there's the olfactory soundtrack of chlorinated water. Just a hint of this smell is enough to trigger all kinds of amazing, happy feelings - euphoria, really. After I leave the gym, there's a fan that blows out air from the pool out to the sidewalk, and whenever I pass through it, I get temporarily transported back to my Papa's pool. I think about being a kid and loving life incredibly.

For my whole life, even longer than I can remember, I've been a big girl. Whether restricted by physical or mental limitations, there have been a lot of things in my life that I haven't experienced. such a fierce little beautySwimming, though, has always been something that allowed me to experience a normal, full life - no matter what size my bathing suit was, when I was in the water, I felt capable - weightless and unburdened.

However, despite loving to swim, I've managed to avoid the pool at the gym for over two years. There were always excuses, most of which boiled down to the fact that I just didn't want to be seen in public in a bathing suit. And that's a real shame, because one of the things I've always loved most about swimming is that liberating feeling I get from being in the water. There's a certain grace with aquatic movement, something I felt I lacked on dry land. In the water, I could temporarily escape from the reality of my weight situation.

And so, yesterday, after months and months of hesitation, this Darling Mermaid Darling finally got back in the water. It's a 25 meter pool, and I did 25 laps (50 lengths) - my arms will seek their revenge tomorrow, but it's well worth it. I can't do much more than an unrefined frog-style breaststroke, but that's alright - I'm just so happy to be swimming!


FatAngryBlog said...

#1 - good for you for getting back in the pool! I haven't been that brave yet (going to a public pool)

#2 - oh, I loved Pushing Daisies!!! Now I think I am going to blog about TV shows this a.m.

Life as a Caterpillar said...

Mary, this is the cutest way to tell us you went swimming. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Pushing Daisies (i have both series at home also) and it's too adorable that you included this in your blog post.

So happy that you are swimming. It used to be one of my favourite things to do. Very proud of you


Jessica said...

That sounds like so much fun!! I wish my gym had a pool!

Amy said...

this makes me super happy! I am a water baby too, and LOVE being in the water... although I am not a huge fan of chlorine. I grew up in cottage country surrounded my lakes, and nothing is better than swimming in fresh water lakes. I love it - in Ottawa there aren't any clean lakes and the closest one is about half hour out of the city and you have to pay to park (so to swim). I love going home in the summer and feeling like a frog (fish creep me out).

There is a new Goodlife location (the gym I go to) opening here in Ottawa and it has a pool!

Tim said...

My gym doesn't have a pool and the public swimming baths charge an arm and a leg to get in + there are loads of kids jumping and splashing around. So very annoying!

Congratulations on having the confidence and the guts to get back into the water. Will this now become a regular thing?

Maude said...

I loved that show when it was on! I think Ned is beyond adorable.

Good for you on the pool! It sounds like it's a great exercise option for you. Maybe a triathalon is in your future? :)

jayme @ Losing Half My Weight said...

this is great!! my gym has a pool and i pay extra to have access to it, but haven't gone yet (mostly because i forget to shave my legs!!) i do think that come the height of winter, i'll need to do it just to hearken back to a time of year when things are warm and you can go swimming.

lovely, fun post!! :o)