Well, my stomach. Every message I see about body image evokes thoughts of the soft and very round belly I carry around with me. I try to hide it every day. My mom started calling her stomach “Big Bertha” after she saw Wanda Sykes do it. Now I can’t help but think of that. Hmph.
I have a pretty big mental and emotional block against intimacy You’re all like, “Whoa! Where the fuck* did that come from? I thought we were talking about stomachs? I was about to take off my shirt and make my belly into a butt and wiggle it around and pretend moon my cat/dog/baby/significant other/mirror. And I was starting to get hungry for fresh baked bread. What gives?!” [It should be noted that I can make an awesome stomach butt. Looks just like a plump baby rump – only with less oozy brown stuff.]
I use my “Big Bertha” as a block. Spend enough time around me and you’ll notice how I fuss to cover my stomach. IT MUST NOT BE EXPOSED IN ALL ITS PROTUBERANCE. It’s where the weight comes off the slowest. So slow it seems. It’s also become an
physical emotional barrier for me.
This one part of my body has for years determined how I view myself as a woman. It makes me feel ugly and asexual. The more messages of self acceptance and “down with body shaming” I read, the more self conscious I become. Why can’t I like my stomach? Why can’t I accept my stomach. Why do I feel like I HAVE to? You know what?! (what?!) I’m trying to lose weight because I don’t like my stomach and I CAN do something about it. But, I should value and accept myself – and see the beauty in my body through the process. Oh the conflict! Aye me.
Yesterday I finally cleaned my bedroom and bathroom. I’d let it get to the point where my cats adapted to the door being blocked by the line of laundry baskets full of clean laundry – they learned to leap over the baskets instead of walking around them. (That was actually pretty entertaining. My little equestrians!) Piles of clothes on the floor too. And let’s talk about the clutter of hair care, skin care and makeup products that littered my vanity (double sinks!) and shower. So much gross. So much stuff. So much stuff everywhere.
So why am I talking about my butt belly, intimacy and my master bedroom and bath? Because I use two of the three as excuse to avoid the third.
When I was 6 or 7 and we’d just moved to Kansas City and into our first apartment as a family of three I felt the need the build a fortress of stuffed animals every night when I went to sleep. Suffocating, hot and kind of uncomfortable I would swaddle myself against my nightmares and fears.
Now that I’m a grown up woman, I’ve found new ways to build my fortress. Why do I deprioritize housework? Why do I keep the most intimate, personal rooms in my house the most cluttered? If my bedroom is messy, I never have to bring anyone in it.
I’ve always known that I would not succeed at long term weight loss and health unless I tackled the emotional and mental issues. Gosh, not fun. Not fun at all.
I just want to be skinny and look good and all my problems will be magically solved.
While I’ve failed at long term weight loss twice, I’ve still learned from the experiences. That thing about losing weight magically solving problems? It’s bullshit.
I will succeed this time I am succeeding because I’m better able to deal with the mental and emotional challenges that helped me gain weight, helped me keep it on and that come with losing it and realizing that I’m still me – only smaller.
I often feel like an outsider. I’m tentative because I don’t always know my place. I’ve lived a lifetime of bar hookups and being the fat friend, the purse watcher, the wing woman, the lookout. Sometimes I wonder if I’m just broken and alien. I keep trying to visualize myself with the things I’ve always wanted: a husband (a good one! one who loves me and who I love and didn’t just settle for) and kids.
The desire to be more than the stereotypes of my life drive me to change — one punch of courage at a time.
I go on dates. I talk to strangers. I clean my room. I write about it all.
There is no great ending to this post. I’m still trying, because what I want is worth the effort. I want to feel good and strong and confident in my skin. I want to feel powerful. I want to glow. And I want to share it.
*Sorry Oma and other people who don’t like vulgarity.