These are the things my belly does now: it rolls over the top of my jeans when I sit down. I think things I never used to think, like, “Maybe I shouldn’t wear jeans, since I’m gonna be on the train a lot today.” And “Maybe I shouldn’t wear jeans, since I’m gonna be eating a lot today.”
It has a big, happy reaction to food, and it puffs itself proudly out, to celebrate, whenever it’s fed. I catch myself thinking new things, like, “Which dress can I wear to dinner that won’t emphasize my bellybutton?” and “Do I own any dresses that don’t emphasize my bellybutton?”
It doesn’t go flat, even when I lie on my back. It occurs to me that I used to be proud of it for going concave when I did that. I used to feel sort of smug about it. My belly used to look like the belly of a Victoria’s Secret Model. Even if my face was, um, not like the face of a Victoria’s Secret Model. If Victoria’s Secret had decided to do some just-bellow-the-boobs-to-the-hips shots for a new sexy campaign, I could’ve been a candidate. Now the whole putting-on-a-bikini thing gives me a newfound appreciation for winter. The cold, dead heart of winter.
Last night, as I was lying in bed, being normal, I caught myself sucking in my stomach.
No one was looking at me. Bear was reading something on his phone. I was reading something on my phone. We were just being a regular couple during the Age of Smartphones. He was probably not sucking his stomach in, but I definitely was. Why? Who knows? Culture. Society. Victoria’s Secret.
“Why are you sucking your stomach in?” I asked myself, embarrassed.
“Because I always do,” I said back to myself. (This was not out loud.)
But seriously, that is messed up. Not the whole dialogue with myself, in my head. But the fact that I think, subconsciously, and also consciously, that I need to suck my stomach in all the time. EVEN WHEN I’M LYING IN BED READING ON MY PHONE AND NO ONE IS LOOKING AT ME.
What am I scared of? What do I think will happen if it sticks out?
Maybe, and this is a really strange theory, maybe, just maybe, I’m scared of liking it.
I know. Bizarre. But stay with me for a moment.
Sometimes I catch a glimpse of myself, naked, in the hall mirror. Usually this is in the middle of the night, when the alternating temperatures (Bear turning on the AC because he’s always hot, me piling on the blankets, the AC shutting itself off after a while) have driven me to nudity. I am walking to the bathroom, my hair is sticking up in stupid and non-sexy ways, and for a muddled, confused, half-asleep second, I admire the feminine curve of my belly, the rounding of my hips, my full thighs. Nice, I think, blinking groggily. I am like a little fertility goddess who probably wears a golden and green silky gown by day, and a wreath of flowers in her hair.
(and all this would be my kingdom. source)
My belly adds a little something. A little FAT. A little extra sweetness.
Would it be so terrible if I liked the way I look at my heaviest weight?
Yes. I rub my eyes. What was I thinking? LOSE WEIGHT. YOU ARE SO GROSS I CAN’T EVEN BEGIN TO EXPRESS HOW GROSS YOU ARE.
Ah, there we go. Back to normal. I suck my stomach in as I enter the bathroom.
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Unroast: Today I love the way my belly looks in long, tight tank tops.
P.S. I was looking for images to go with this post, and I searched “fertility goddess green gown” and got a photo of Christina Hendricks. Sigh. Do I really need the boobs to have the belly? I say no. The world says yes. But I say no.
P.P.S. I’m going ETDC’s very first giveaway soon! It’ll be a dress from Shabby Apple, and I’m currently agonizing over which one to pick. So stay tuned and get a cool dress for free!
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