I love my belly.
This is a relatively recent development. I would like it to be smaller, flatter, but I do not love it less because it is not.
My belly button has always been a point of pride, shaped like the entrance to a cave, it seems to mark the intersection where my belly stops and my waist begins. I have a whole belly, butt, hip combo area, as if I put on granny panties and just stuffed them full.
This area is soft but strong, it’s where I store my secrets and insecurities until I’m ready to look at them. It keeps me grounded no matter how many stories my mind makes up. It grows a little for support when I’m going through a transition, allowing me to maintain my emotional footing and mental grace. When I reach the other side, my body naturally discards this life preserver.
When I behave nutritionally my belly rewards me with less real estate, it flattens out a bit – at least when I’m lying on my back, but it will never be smooth. It has seen too much in its lifetime.
There are iridescent lightning bolts that indicate where my belly surrendered to the life growing within me, branding me as a member of the maternal tribe. Just above the entrance to the cave are two tiny lightning bolts that shot through moments before new life was released from my body, yielding to the last bit of pressure. I especially love these. There is a single thin line, a barely perceptible crease that runs horizontally from hip to hip where the base of my belly rested at its fullest. An indelible reminder of my capacity.
I have never had a completely flat belly, alas, my DNA chose another path. My mom calls hers a pooch. She has been thin as a rail most of my life but she still has this little pooch. Her mom’s shape more closely resembled my own and she too had “the pooch.” As a teenager on the drill team, or worse, the swim team, it was my shame and needed to be hidden behind towels or crossed arms. Even as an adult I would inhale deeply, sucking in my abdomen in an effort to minimize its existence. To this day I have to consciously relax the muscles of my mid-section when I exhale – holding in my stomach became as natural as breathing itself.
When I was very young my favorite place to be when I was sleepy or scared or sick, was laying with my head on my mom’s or grandma’s laps. They were soft and reassuring, nurturing. Now I have this gift that I currently share with four little furry friends and sometimes my husband. It’s a soft landing place in a world with so many sharp objects and hard edges.
I will never make it into Shape magazine because of my abs, unless it’s just a lot of “before” pictures. The oceans of the world will probably never see me in a bikini again, but protected by clothing and covered in puppies, and having housed a little human, it knows its worth. It’s priceless.
I love my belly.
“I want to be a big, fleshy, voluptuous woman with curves. I want a big bum, but I don’t have one.” – Cameron Diaz