21 Day Body Love Challenge – Belly Laugh

belly

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

 

21 Day Body Love Challenge – Baby Got Back

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“Cultivate your curves – they may be dangerous but they won’t be avoided.” – Mae West

Today I celebrate my hips. And their abutment. Yes. A pun.

Butt, ass, rear-end, tail, hind-quarters, buttocks, junk in the trunk, badonkadonk and my grandmother’s favorite; boombacity. I’m quite sure she made that up, because when I searched it, even Google was stumped.

Hips and their two rounded friends provide a valuable service to all of humanity. As a key player in the mating dance they beckon would-be suitors, emitting a sonar meant only for a certain few. They work the middle ground, grinding, gyrating, providing cushion and handles during the process of procreation. On a woman they separate, hold steady, expand and contract to allow new life to emerge; then provide a perch for that very life through its first few years.

They are strong, forming the shared pedestal for the torso, for the reproductive organs, the heart.

Not only that, they’re fun. They swivel, sway and sashay. They jiggle and shimmy.

I have enjoyed my robust hips and their friends most of my life, they grow and contract with me, maintaining my curves, never losing my curves.  They have enjoyed all the dancing and walking and hijinx the rest of my lower body has been party to, but they have also softened, opened and relented more than the lower joints. They have succumbed to yoga, been enticed by the breath. They have let go when I thought I could surrender no more room.

They remind me I am strong. I am flexible. They let me know I still have the capacity to open even more.