In high school, my best friend* was tall and thin and I was neither. When we would hang out, I would eat exactly the same things she ate and continued to wonder why I never looked like her. My hips were round, my belly even more so. I was uncomfortable in my skin, always wanting to look like someone else – anyone but my curvy self. In particular, it was my stomach that I concentrated on the most. It flowed out over my pants as I sat and rounded out over the sides as I stood. In college I took better care of myself by eating better and working-out regularly, but my stomach remained full. When I would look in the mirror, my eyes would never see the curve of my neck or the strength in my legs, they would focus solely on my stomach, never measuring up to what I wanted it to be.
As an adult, the attention on my never-flat stomach has still not wained. But today, I rest my hands on my stomach, and despite the curves below my fingers, it has never felt flatter. As I move my hands, I can even swear it’s concave. My hands disappear in it’s hollowness.
The life-long desire is gone.
These new eyes of mine now seek a belly in the mirror that doesn’t allow my pants to button. My heart longs for a stomach that doesn’t just flow over my jeans, but protrudes so obviously over, no one will mistake it for a too-big blouse. The roundness would no longer be my worst enemy. It would be welcome and loved, even nourished.* I suddenly want something that I have spent my entire life fighting away. 22 years reversed in a single year.
I have to believe my stomach won’t always be this flat. That someday soon it will have a roundness the most beautiful I have ever seen.
A roundness I will praise my eyes for focusing on.
I’m trying my damnedest to believe this.
* She’s still my best friend and still just as beautiful as ever. And just so you know, she never made me feel like that. It was all my own doing. Why are we such jerks to ourselves?
** and I will do my best to continue this frame of mind – in a healthful manner – long after I’ve become a mom. It’s not just about the want of pregnancy, but about a healthy body image with or without child. I want my daughter to embrace her inevitable curves [unlike her mother allowed herself to do] and I want my son to love a woman as she’s meant to be. But right now, obviously, the only roundness I can focus on is that of a baby. Not that I had to tell you that.