Archive for June 29th, 2010

Mah Belleh

This one's a bit washed out, but then again, my belly is sort of a blinding white.

I actually didn't mean to cut my head off in this one, but at least that's an okay view of the belly.

When I first started this blog, 29 days ago, my main thought was becoming more comfortable with my body. With how I look, with how I interact with the world. Bodies are pretty amazing things, any way you slice it, and mine is no exception. It can take plant matter that has been minimally processed by my teeth and turn it into all kinds of energy. It has a super computer that directs all movements faster than the speed of conscious thought. It has light and sound receptacles that can take in all kinds of data so the super computer can process them so they make some kind of sense. It even has all kinds of working parts inside that do more work on an average day than a racecar engine does in a month. When you get right down to it, it’s really damn amazing how well our bodies work. I mean, how many man-made machines do you think could last for 80+ years without having the parts constantly replaced? Many people can last that long with only routine maintenance, and even those who have chronic and/or lifelong diseases are remarkably resilient.

So I think it’s pretty easy to say that I’m making some progress toward loving my body. Hell, we know I’ve already got the boobs down (my boobs are one of my favorite features these days). ;D Many days I can look in the mirror and say to myself “well, you look good today” and actually mean it.

Honestly, my biggest stumbling block, however, is my belly. Loving and accepting my belly is harder than all my other body parts combined. It’s not just because my belly is the most marked part of me (stretch marks, scars from surgery, etc). Bellies are just about the most reviled body parts on any woman’s body. How many commercials, ads and magazines do you see on any given day about how to get a “flat belly”? The answer is, a whole shit-ton. Women with six-packs are incredibly rare, and those with totally flat bellies are almost non-existent, but we’re still told to strive for that ideal. And it gets worse. How many women (even fat women) do you see in popular media that actually seem to have bellies under their clothes? If a female celebrity has even the tiniest hint of a belly, she either has rumors swirling about a “baby bump” or gets made fun of for gaining weight. Even the fat women are encouraged to “shape” their bodies to get that classic hourglass look, and deny that they have any kind of belly. Boobs? The more, the merrier! Butt? We like big butts and we cannot lie! But belly? GET YE OFF OUR RUNWAY, HARLOT.

What makes it worse is, this is not how a healthy (i.e. baby-bearing) female body is meant to look. A belly on a woman is supposed to be a good thing. If you look at evolution, those with bellies tend to be the most fertile, the most likely to bear lots of healthy babies without dying or getting sick. Sure, big hips and big breasts also help, but there’s nothing about a tiny waist in most societies until you get to the modern era. It’s perfectly normal to have a belly if you’re a woman, and yet we’re assaulted from all sides with messages that THIS IS WRONG.

So when I say I have problems with my belly, they don’t entirely stem from the fact that it is the most be-scarred piece of landscape on my body. I have problems with my belly because even when I’m wearing cute clothes and I’m dressed up and feel great, I don’t look how I’ve been taught a woman should look. I don’t really have a waist at all (which, btw, is not an anatomical construct, but entirely based in the fashion world). I have a dip in my fat rolls that sits just above my hips, right around my belly button. That’s not where most people think the waist is supposed to sit, but if I try to wear high-waisted things, they cut into my fat and make me want to die and/or kill someone. So I let my bottoms sit on my hips, because that’s comfortable for me. But I don’t look like an hourglass. If I had to pick a shape to describe my body, I would probably draw a couple squiggly lines. Go out at the boobs, go slightly in under the boobs, go far out for the belly, dip a tiny bit in at the hips, and then from there to the bottom of my feet is a big triangle. I’m not a square, whatever that is. I’m not a triangle or inverse triangle. I’m a couple squiggly lines that don’t fit in any description of what a woman is supposed to be shaped as, according to the fashion world and popular media.

Some days, I do love my belly. They aren’t very often, but some days I can look at that pasty white expanse and actually enjoy what I see. Most days, I struggle. I can look at my face and almost always like it. I enjoy my hair, and even my arms and legs get smiles sometimes, but my belly is my biggest obstacle right now, in terms of accepting and loving my body. And right now, I don’t have any idea how to love it more. I’m not planning to ever have children, and especially not anytime soon, so I can’t love my belly for carrying life. I have digestion problems (no gall bladder + acid reflux + psychological problems always affecting my stomach first), so I can’t love my belly for being good at its job (it does its best, but that’s a lot of issues for one belly to handle). I don’t know.

Maybe I should get a huge tattoo across my belly. Make it a literal work of art, turn the scars and stretch marks into pieces of history rather than just mars on otherwise clear skin. Of course, I have no idea what I would get, and no money for anything like that right now. Ah, well. It’s an idea. ;D And my body is, in general terms, a work in progress.


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