I touch my belly underwhelmed.

30 Jan

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.


6 Responses to “I touch my belly underwhelmed.”

  1. slcurwin January 30, 2011 at 3:02 pm #

    I LOVE preggy belly. I can’t get enough of it (when I am that is) I’m not the mumu wearing type, but the “LOOK AT MY BEAUTIFUL BABY BUMP (or mountain as it looks on me)!!!!” type.

    But now I am a bit tainted since my two miscarriages (both of which I was showing pretty obviously) and then you look down and see you’re growing belly and know it’s for nothing. Then the bitterness comes in (at least for me).

    But really we are better to focus on the joy of a growing belly for a good reason.

  2. Elphaba January 31, 2011 at 11:56 am #

    I love this post. I’ve always hated my belly too (always the first place I put on weight) but now I’d give anything for it to be big and round.

  3. mommyodyssey January 31, 2011 at 12:12 pm #

    beautiful post, and I relate to every word of it. that is all. 🙂

  4. bodegabliss January 31, 2011 at 12:29 pm #

    Thanks, ladies. I can’t wait to see your beautiful bellies (or hear about them) some day.

  5. AP January 31, 2011 at 8:24 pm #

    Very nice Lauryn Hill reference. I kept thinking to myself, “what is that? I know that!” and it just came to me. Love its subtlety!

    • bodegabliss January 31, 2011 at 8:35 pm #

      Yay! I was hoping someone would get that. I just saw her a couple of weeks ago and she’s been on my mind. Thanks for your comment!

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