Rose grabbed my stomach yesterday and asked if I was “embarrassed about [my] fat tummy.” I can surprisingly say that the question didn’t bother me as much as I thought it would. I actually laughed because I found her childlike honesty refreshing, not because I was uncomfortable.
I’ve struggled with my body image for years and still continue to do so. Even after losing a significant amount of weight after discovering my food intolerances, I still see an overweight body. I see jiggles and cellulite and sagging skin.
I don’t love my body, but I’m working on it. I’m in this middle ground between acceptance and refusal-to-hate stage. I will no longer engage in self-loathing behavior because of the size of my body or the number on a scale.
I am what I am. How could anything be horrible about that?
This doesn’t mean I wouldn’t love to exercise more and eat more balanced meals because those things make me feel good, but it’s COVID. I have four kids at home, and no one is in school. How can doing my best not be good enough?
I may not love my body, but I refuse to hate her. I’ve accepted that I don’t see what other people see. I think I have some body dysmorphia, but for right now, that’s ok. Honoring my body, involves honoring my process.
So when Rosie asked me if I was embarrassed about my fat tummy, I was far more concerned about where she learned to be embarrassed about tummies, as opposed to concerned she thought mine was fat.
So I responded with, “No, I’m not embarrassed. All tummies look different, and they can change over time.”
She lifted up my shirt to inspect my abdomen, and I waggled my belly at her. And a conversation that could have ended in tears, ended in giggles.
Would I prefer to have a tight tummy? I’d be lying if I said, “No.” But I can appreciate that my first thought was not of intense self-loathing but of instruction. I started my self-love journey so that my daughters would never feel about themselves the way I felt about myself. And I can say that it was only hours later when I sat down to write a post that I even remembered Rose’s question. Growth can come in the most surprising of places.
If the same question had been posed to you, how would you have responded? How would you have felt?