Thursday, September 1, 2011

For the Love of a Stomach

As I have grown older and grown up, I have come to a profound realization about something.

A VERY key factor in attractiveness is not bosom size or muscle tone, but rather the confidence in oneself.

I would say that the vast majority of people have bodies no better or worse than anyone else, especially once personal tastes of those one might be trying to attract are taken into consideration. But the differences between those who stand out as attractive and those that don't is the radiating level of self confidence.

Someone who walks into a room fully assured of their awesomeness (competency, sexiness, etc.) is seen as awesome while the one who walks into a room wanting to hide just isn't.

I have been self conscience of my stomach since I was in 4th grade and several other girls were comparing stomachs and, being overly concerned of possibly still having some semblance of that cute little Buda belly I saw on my toddler pictures, I did my best to suck mine in while also leaning over to see what it looked like since I hadn't spent much (like, any) time examining my mid section previously.

The combination of bending over and sucking in made my tummy fold up with a big crease across the middle, and the other girls started laughing over it and talking to each other about what a weird stomach I had.

(Incidentally, this would also be the first time I ever had the sentiment of "girls really are total bitches sometimes", and it was before I even had the vocabulary for it.)

I didn't wear a bikini again until this spring.

Yep, it took almost 20 years and carrying two children to gain the self confidence back in my stomach enough to have the general populous see it.

I'm in the lovely Adrianna sized pink hat on the left.
I did make a faint attempt at it on a class trip to Florida over Thanksgiving break one year in high school, but I spent most of the brief time in that swimsuit doing my best to cover my behind and my stomach with a towel while seriously regretting whatever flight of fancy had made me buy it in the first place, so I certainly wasn't strutting around in the damn thing.

I got my belly button pierced in college, which was a huge step in learning to personally see my body as sexy, but I was still remarkably uncomfortable pulling up my shirt to show people. In fact, I probably would have been more comfortable just showing off my breasts to my friends, a sentiment quickly confirmed by my fairly prompt pregnancy-then-nursing-year after getting the piercing.

Unfortunately, that led to a whole new set of core self confidence issues, with the baby pooch and stretch marks and learning to reclaim my body as mine and not as a hijacked vessel for this cute little parasite.

But reclaim it I did, and got my belly button re-pierced shortly after Kristina's first birthday. You know, to then promptly get pregnant again a few months later.

So.... it took gaining and loosing a total of 120 pounds, accepting permanent stretch marks as merely a part of life, and an unfortunate loss of defined ab muscles to really make me actually get over the insensitive sneers of a few mean spirited pre-pubescent punk kids.

Why is the world like that? That's a crummy way to be. My stomach was fine when I was 9. My stomach was fine when I was 16. My stomach was fine when I was 21.

And my stomach looks just fine now.

Note to self: Remember to get belly button re-pierced some time soon, it looked really rather awesome. 

1 comment:

  1. Your point about confidence is a good one. I've also had two children in the last five years, and I'm overweight and out of shape, with the lovely "pooch" that two c-sections'll leave ya with. I recently started that "Couch to 5K" running thing on my treadmill (while my kids nap) with very little hope that I'd lose any weight OR stick with it, because I've always hated running, but I get bored just walking. Anyway, I've been at it for 5 weeks, stretching each phase out to two weeks, rather than just one. I resolved not to weigh, and I haven't, so I don't know what's happening there, but I FEEL so amazing, and I KNOW that THAT is showing. I think I want to stay with it, just for my mental health, if nothing else!