Oh Jelly Belly!

I wish I could say that the title of this post referred to those lovely tasty treats but nope it refers to my, oh so lovely jelly belly, pot belly or whatever you want to call it. The other morning my daily devotional from this book included writing down ten things that I love about myself, yet as I wrote down the things I love about myself, all I could think about was the one thing I don’t love about myself…that pesky belly.

To be honest I have been battling this tummy situation since the birth of my son 19 years ago, I am what most people refer to as being small boned yet the belly is the bane of my existence. After his birth I had a small pooch, that if I sucked it in would give the illusion of a flat tummy, I spent a lot of time holding in my tummy, shit was uncomfortable but I hated the pooch. However the older I get the damn thing is just getting worse, first there was the pesky umbilical hernia that was surgically corrected last spring. The surgery did make the belly go down some but as I creep closer and closer to official middle age I have noticed her softening. Even weight loss didn’t make her go away…the belly is a die or ride kind of gal.

Oh, its so lovely how my daughter loves to grab my belly and tell me how much she loves the squishy belly, but really I don’t love it. In fact the other night in the midst of how shall we put this…some personal time with the Spousal Unit I found myself momentarily bothered by the belly. Yet that moment served in some ways as my clarion call. Why am I so bothered by the belly? I am more or less a healthy weight, in good health, sound mind, good relationships yet in a moment when my only thoughts should be damn, that’s good! All I can think about is the belly.

The more I thought about it, I realized I once again was a victim of the same programming that afflicts many women, where we think we must look a certain way. Its hard not to be afflicted on some level and if you have never had those moments well you are either lying or you are like one of the 5 women on planet Earth with an extraordinarily healthy sense of self, so sign up to be the next Oprah or something and tell us how you do it. But down here on planet insecurity, I think it’s hard for even the most confident and healthy woman not to have those moments. I know for me as much as I love clothes, I have grown ambivalent about shopping for clothes, why you ask? Well finding cute tops that fit me well is hard, real hard. Apparently clothing designers think that by assigning us these numbers they know all about our sizes but seriously when you are a small woman with a pot belly finding good fitting blouses is hard as fuck. I used to go up in size to minimize the lovely gut but ended up with tops that swallowed me whole and were falling off. I wear my right size and if I dare go out sans the Spanx and sucking in that gut, good friends including a friend’s Dad who is a physician assume we are expecting a new arrival. (Yes this happened recently…holy mortification!)

What I want to know is what happened to the days when women’s bodies dared to look like well women’s bodies and were actually celebrated. When a big rump, big hips and a soft feminine tummy were seen as the beautiful and gorgeous works of art that they are? Instead of the expectation of women having the waistlines of pre-teen boys? Women, why didn’t we say nope, we aren’t gonna do it? Instead even women who traditionally reveled in their larger bodies (cough, cough…women of color) now are being hit with these same messages.

Not sure what my next steps are but for me, I have way more important things to do than being bothered by the belly, I want instead to love her and embrace her and this amazing body that has born a couple of amazing human. I want clothes that represent the entire spectrum of body sizes. I want to know the next time my toes are being curled that my thoughts are only in that delicious moment and not on my belly.

6 thoughts on “Oh Jelly Belly!”

  1. I used to love my belly. I’ve never had a problem with my big butt or thick thighs, as they were shapely, but over the years, the stomach has gotten to be a sore spot. It’s the one thing I dislike more than anything about my physical appearance, and that’s true for most women that I know–it’s always the first place women want to lose weight. We change our diets, our workout routines, and supplements to try and get the flat abs. We read gossip about Janet Jackson having ribs removed to get those ridiculous “Son of a Gun” abs and we think, “that’s why I never got them; I need to call my surgeon!” LOL…Seriously, our culture feeds us images of body types that shouldn’t be/aren’t naturally possible, and instead of questioning and rejecting it, we feed into it.

    I’m glad you are embracing your body and coming to terms with it. Self-acceptance is the only validation we really need. For a bonus, your “spousal unit” has no issues with it, either. 🙂 Wonderful post!

  2. I have been working very hard over the past two years. Every part of my body shows it except my belly. I have realized that I have to accept it and most days, I’m good. It is what it is. Some days though . . . the other day I was on the treadmill sweating up a storm. Sweat was getting into my eyes and I was getting ready to mop it up with the bottom edge of my shirt. I stopped short . . . because I didn’t want anyone to catch a glimpse of my belly I’m still totally mortified by it.

  3. Well I used to have the bomb tummy. Even when I was younger and skinny I used to suck my abs in. I used to wear tight clothes all the time so the pooch was not a good look. I remember wearing a halter top at the club and this guy said you have nice abs and my response was that cuz I suck my stomach on all the time. Eat a full meal–hold that sucka in! It helps train the mucsles.

    However, with each of my pregnancies, they took a row of ab muscles with them. So I now too have the jelly belly with the freckin stretch marks! Boooo! They better excel at life they way they destroyed my beautiful unmarred stomach!

    But I am at the fuck it stage when it comes to my tummy. If I can’t suck it in properly then I will get something with a light hold to it. Or wear my tunic tops that I love anyway.

    My tummy did get outta control about 2 years ago. So I did the Belly Fat Diet for about 3 weeks. I lost 13 pounds. But I hit it hard to tho. It really does target the tummy. And the weight has pretty much stayed off.

    My deal is staying flexible. I don’t wanna be all creaky in bed. Joints be all popping and stuff. Epic sex that does not make. LOL

  4. Ok. the best part of this article was “D’s” response!! I don’t like the belly either!! In fact I requested during a massage recently not to have it touched…I have lost over 75 lbs in the past 2 years and my belly is driving me crazy, I want to cut if off literally. So I may consider getting surgery to remove it…yes, surgically remove it, cut it off, for good. I found out it only cost 5K..I have been so busy at work, I keep forgetting to call the plastic surgeon for an appointment…now tomorrow I will make that call…..thanks for the reminder, but don’t let it get in the way of the curling toes…

  5. How timely. I’ve been angry, resentful, and generally obsessed with my belly for as long as I can remember. Just last night I had a dream that I came out of a public bathroom without a shirt on and I was more embarrassed about my belly being in full view of strangers than my breasts. If that isn’t a sign that my psyche is tired of my relentless self-hatred, I’m not sure what is. My problem is I don’t know how to let it go and move on with my life. Even Amanda Palmer’s ReBellyon offered an opportunity for me to take an anonymous picture of my belly and share it with the world (even a safe, non-judgmental corner of the internet! Not even the whole world!), but I never grew the ‘nads.

  6. “In fact the other night in the midst of how shall we put this…some personal time with the Spousal Unit I found myself momentarily bothered by the belly.”

    Now, I hope that in giving said belly a little attention (so as not to feel left out) I didn’t simply end up drawing your attention to her. Because she certainly wasn’t diminishing my enjoyment of things.

    I certainly wouldn’t want you just wildly balloon out in that anatomical region (and being slightly tighter could have aesthetic advantages), but Lord knows I certainly need to trim my own a bit. And, in any case, I certainly don’t find you any less alluring to me for having a little tiny bit of belly.

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