Is Your Wetsuit Like A Bad Love Affair?

It’s been about two weeks since the great ‘wetsuit’ audition of 2011.

You see, I have a wetsuit that I love simply because it’s mine. I don’ t know much about it, or didn’t, until a few weeks ago, even though I’ve had it for a couple of years.

It’s a sleeveless Xterra and I had it packed away after my last triathlon a couple of years ago.

That I needed it now only seemed to be an annoyance because I don’t enjoy swimming with a wetsuit. It feels too constrictive, even though I know that technically, it can be quite helpful in a race.

So two weeks ago I pulled out the suit and went to try it on while I prepared for a race the next morning. I assumed it would take about 15 minutes from start to finish.

Well, 90 minutes and a lot of sweat later, it was finally on. Inside out.

I tugged this thing, I pulled, I stretched. I grabbed BodyGlide and rubbed myself silly and then I poured some organic lube down each leg to get this thing to stretch over my legs. I felt my body shift into slight hysteria; I knew my heart rate was off the charts; sat in front of a fan placed in front of my air conditioner and then I fell on top of my bed and tried to wriggle into the suit that way.

When I finally got it all the way up, I went to pull on the zipper and that’s when I realized I had been trying it on the wrong way.  I shook my head and laughed. My friend, Chrispy, made me laugh even harder when we spoke on the phone a few minutes later. It was at that moment that I realized how little I know about the sport of triathlon, even after having completed a race.

I was going to make the wetsuit fit if it killed me.  Then it hit me…Just like I had tried, over the past year, to make relationships fit me when I knew they couldn’t.

From ‘The Prince’ to ‘The Actor’ to ‘The One’ to, to, to…I had spent a year knowing things weren’t working in so many ways, but still wanting to try. And try again.

And like that wetsuit, those relationships weren’t ‘on’ the right way and I didn’t realize it until I had wriggled myself into something serious, or stayed too long or failed to speak up.

But, also like that wetsuit, I learned a valuable lesson: Lay out what you need early on and realize that when you’re in the middle of a serious struggle to make something ‘fit’, that’s exactly the moment you need to step back and look at how many layers you have built up…then stop forcing things to work when they can’t.

I will have that lesson in mind when I start to pack tonight for my 70.3 tri next weekend.


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  1. There is a curious phenomenon I have found – that stepping back and making the choice to look….really look…brings a whole new perspective.
    Perhaps I always knew it – and now I am finally practicing it. But, there is a little piece of me that will always be banging the square peg into the round hole far too often – because whittling off those edges make such wonderful options open…

    • If you had seen me over the past two years, you’d have seen a girl doing triangle into oval and insisting I was okay with it. The truth? I wasn’t really. I was just not so sure my feelings always deserved to be noted. Now that I’ve spent all this time doing ‘stuff’, I know that the man who gets me next will have heart, ears and a mind. And he’ll use all three when dealing with me. 🙂

  2. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to take that step back because it can feel like failure.

    I usually try to see all the “what if’s” before there really even is an “it”. I’m trying to stop that and just enjoy the present. Easier said than done.

    • YES! After my divorce in 2009, I just ‘knew’ I was a failure. I wasn’t, no more than my ex was a failure. We’d succeeded for some years and then when we no longer worked in partnership, we ended. I now know that every relationship, even when it ends, can be a success and I just want to sing it from the highest mountains!

      As for ‘what ifs’, I hear you. But then we also don’t want to be ‘those’ people who ‘what if’ to death, but no way, you’re too awesome for that anyway.

  3. This was absolutely amazing and hilarious, I legit laughed out loud picturing you putting that wetsuit on! This was really moving though and you out of all people deserve true happiness maybe being solo and free is the way for you. (:

    • You are the most amazing person I know. Even when you’re afraid to do things, you reach down and try to do the right thing. You, my little sweet potato, inspire me. As for happy, it feels nice to come home to my own space and be welcomed by Britney, even if we both miss you.

  4. Completely awesome metaphor. Really. I don’t think I’ve ever encountered one better.

    Incidentally, one of the first men I ever met on Arf Barf was a guy who sent me a photo of himself coming out of the water in a wetsuit. It was really hot (he was really hot). Thanks for the memory.

    Now I’m laughing thinking of a photography of Kidfos gluing together toothpicks to make some dumb model of a Sherman tank or somesuch. Not a great metaphor! Or is it?

    • I was like…is this wetsuit really trying to tell me something? And it was!

      I love a guy in a wetsuit, just coming out of the water, maybe with the suit just pulled down a bit because he’s got somewhere else to be. Man, I wish I was a better photographer.

      Kid’s metaphors are way too above my head sometimes. I mean, his brilliance with toothpicks will probably become legendary!

  5. I laugh about the wetsuit because I can see myself doing exactly that!
    But you’ve also hit a chord for me that I’ve been trying to identify lately…”trying to make a relationship fit. ”
    Shame on me for not recognizing that sound sooner, but bless you for making me really listen.:)

    • Don’t we all? Especially women, right? We get in the habit of trying to change ourselves to fit someone who clearly doesn’t fit.

      I wonder where we learn that stuff, anyway?

  6. Have I mentioned recently how much I love your kid? Now I see why you cried.

    You have finally figured out what most of us never get. I just wish I had learned as early as you. But, at least I learned!!!

    • You may have mentioned it a couple of times. Wait until you meet her. 🙂

      She’s a riot.

      And I’m lucky …all of my friends refuse to let me slack off.

  7. Yes, an excellent metaphor! One that I have experienced as well. We all try to make something fit when in reality it doesn’t. There’s always some catch or something wrong that we try to ignore. Something we shouldn’t do. It compromises us in more ways than we think.

    Great post Ma! 🙂

    • Now I’d love to have some guys chime in and tell me if this is a cross-gender issue or one that women seem to get stuck doing because we’re taught at an early age to make things work; to do a lot with a little; to keep quiet?

  8. lol it reminds me of when we would see a girl in high school with Tight pants on and say “looks like she jumped off a roof to get into dem pants!” LOL and I guess that can be applied too Lol being with someone shouldnt be the same thing as jumpig off a roof right? Lol more like gracefully strolling in or something? hell I donno… LOL thats what I have you educate me 🙂

    • LOL! I never heard that before, but it is awesome! Man, if that suit wasn’t going to fit No. Matter. What.
      Poor suit. If it could talk, it would have cursed me out!

  9. That metaphor does work doesn’t it =))

    Hey there’s one out there somewhere that fits you better 😉

    Boy when one of those fits just right… god it makes a person feel sexy *phew*…I wish I had an excuse to wear mine more often lol


    I’m not sure if I like this comparison or hate it.
    because, somewhere in my heart and soul is that thing
    how much can I compromise?
    how much can I accept?
    how much can he ask?
    how much can he give?

    I know I’m 52
    and socially retarded because of a previous 27 year commitment
    so maybe I sound like a 20 year old
    maybe I don’t
    the wet suit suit will fit someday
    all ya gotta do is relax,
    think why it’s stuck and add something that makes it move smoothly
    and do it again.
    and again


  11. I think this incident demands a strongly worded letter to the wetsuit manufacturer for more visible tags inside the suit. As for the bad love affairs, I think you’ve said before how laziness and ignoring men’s “tags” in general can contribute to these sorts of complaints. I just know I spent an hour with unknown therapist last night and she told me to stop wiggling around in my own suit. She says it simply fits 🙂

  12. Woo Hoo, Bubbles! A new blog and a fresh new attitude. Go, girl, go! (And 70.3? Seriously, wow.)

    • It feels nice. Like…oh, wow, this is what it feels like to finally get over a breakup. Oh, okay! And yes, seriously. Give me a wow on Sunday night!

  13. The enginerd in me has to ask: does the wetsuit go on easier right-side-out?

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