By: Liz Furl
A perfect storm of pills that lower my blood sugar and rationalizing pastry binges has gifted me with 10 extra pounds. Some is in the bust, which is never a terrible place for it to go. Some fills out the seat of my pants, and I love that, too (I have never understood the big butt “problem” that so many girls complain about). Most, though, has circled lovingly around me at the latitude of my belly button, filling out my shirts in a way that’s vexing to a wannabe vixen.
Jeans don’t cling to it like they do to hips, and shirts won’t lie flat over it, so this space of exposed flesh is created, white as an uncooked marshmallow, and of similar consistency. A day is peppered with opposing tugs at fabric, some up, some down, and this foggy sense of embarrassment: clothes that fit upon their purchase lie awkwardly over an oddly shaped body that never quite feels like it belongs to you, and everyone can see, even if they don’t notice.
Undressing in front of my husband feels strange. I’ve always been his younger sexy girl—am I still? Does he notice the new jiggles when we fuck? We both love my fit body, how it looks, how it feels, how I feel in it—what of this new skin I’m in? Am I still the girl worth seducing? Am I still cute in my dressy sweatpants and tank top, or have I moved into a new zone? A “married zone” where new shapes begin to blossom and things begin to stagnate?
These are thoughts I have from time to time, when my high waisted pants curve outward over my stomach, when I feel guilty for indulging in dessert or a midday snack, when I look at myself in the mirror and am thankful that it’s too far from bathing suit season to fret over a bikini. I feel like a 9-year-old girl in a one-piece, leading with her adorable pot belly, but when you’re 26, it’s not so adorable.
If Taylor Swift won’t show her belly button, why should I?
When my hairdresser complements my figure, I say thank you when I mean to make an awkward excuse or denial.
There’s a fine line between being satisfied after a meal, and being stuffed, and I’m always hungry. Damn those medications, and damn having been the girl whose metabolism always sprang eternal. Now it yawns, rolls over, and presses the snooze button like a teenager with excessive hormones and a bad attitude. Like me, when I consider yoga or the gym.
But the other morning, I had a different sort of moment in my body.
It was early morning; I was driving to work. It’s been frigid lately, and offices are what they are—namely cold, and all the time. Commuting clothes include: socks, scarves, hat, peacoat, and multiple layers beneath. It’s meant to be cozy, meant to be like a mug of hot chocolate to sooth me before settling into my desk chair, to continue the feeling of morning hibernation as long as possible.
At that time, on that day, the softness around my waist felt like the comforter atop my bed. It felt like a pliant solidness that hugged me gently, like big arms when crying. It was familial, the scent of grandfather’s tobacco against his sweater; kindly and empathetic and the only beauty about it was the utilitarian sort—the broken-in sweatshirt, the pair of new slippers, the grace of small and forgotten things that bring solace in late hours and cold mornings. It felt like these pounds of flesh were finally, thankfully mine.
This feeling comes and goes. Last night I dreamed that my husband ate my last strawberry cheesecake protein bar, and met my protests with the comment that he thought I was trying to eat less anyway. The nauseous aura around BEAUTY in capital letters does not fade across the board.
But in the mornings, in my last lovely moments of relaxation before the workday tension begins, those extra 10 pounds become a gift of sorts, a way for my body to give me a little moment of winter luxury. And in that half hour span, my body is fully mine, effortlessly, gladly, lovingly.
Originally posted on Furl Unfurled.
Liz Furl is the co-founder and co-host of the LadyBits podcast on the 5by5 network and the founder and editor-in-chief of Real Talk. Both are geared toward twenty-something life shown in its rawest, realest light. Recently, she has also made forays into freelancing, and has published pieces with xoJane, The Daily Muse, Twenty-Something Living, and Pink and Black Magazine. She’s a recovering workaholic who has eschewed a 12-step program in favor of 24/7 support from her amazing husband and two ridiculous cats. You can find her on Twitter @LizFurl if you like irreverent musings, rants about minutia, and/or sincere appreciation for others, or on LizFurl.com.