A strange prompt, but one that stuck out to me. Just some musings. Now that I’ve finished writing it, I’m not sure I like the confusing verb tense / flashback I chose to use. Borrowed from writingforward.com.
My body mocks me from the glossy photograph. The offensive photo was taken last week at a family barbecue. I remember taking the time to put on makeup, to tame my wild hair, even adding a cute little braid to get my long bangs out of my face. Sure, the sage green sundress had felt a little tight when I zipped it up, but at the time, I was pretty sure it was supposed to fit like that. Besides, it was totally my best color.
Now, I can’t stop staring. I am smiling in the photograph, completely unaware of how unflattering I am going to look later on. The dress doesn’t hang quite right. It hitches up on one side, creases awkwardly on the other. The bodice is too big (as always), so one of the wide straps is falling off my shoulder. The worst part of all is that the dress’ cut creates a perfect little pocket for my tummy to rest in. And it is taking full advantage of the situation.
Congratulations, I think to myself. You officially have a Mom Body. I close the laptop lid to hide the proof.
I’m not sure when this happened. Yes, yes, I had two kids, but I distinctly remember losing the baby weight. They tell you that you will gain weight when you’re pregnant. What they don’t tell you is that toddlers will make you even fatter.
Maybe it’s because it is more difficult to squeeze in an hour (or even ten minutes) of exercise, because the only time you’re alone is when they are sleeping. And when they are sleeping, you will do anything to ensure that they stay that way as long as possible. Exercising when they’re awake is OUT, because they laugh at you. No, really.
Maybe it’s because toddlers have terrible eating habits, and, well, if they aren’t going to eat their crust, why shouldn’t you? Waste not!
Maybe you picked up some bad habits when they were newborns. During those 2am feedings, you had to find some way to stay awake, and you discovered Pinterest! Projects galore for a time when you have more time. Someday. Maybe.
Regardless of the reason, I am still in shock. My body has never been something I was overly worried about. I was an active kid, borderline “skinny” at times. I never had body issues. I don’t even know how to respond to the thirty pounds that seem to have taken over my body. I don’t feel fat. I do want to exercise more, but I don’t have time to be a gym woman. I do want to eat better, but I don’t want to deprive myself of my favorite comfort foods.
I open the laptop lid to take another look. I am reminded of a quote that I see on Pinterest a lot. “Real men love curves.” I’ve always thought that was a little bit mean-spirited. Come on, ladies, skinny girls aren’t skinny just to spite you. I laugh to myself now. I’m not even curvy.
I am smiling in the photo, accentuating the roundness in my pink cheeks. I remember I had been on the brink of laughter, because my husband was flirting with me from behind the photographer.
All the angles are soft. Soft arms, soft tummy, soft legs. I look cuddly. I smile to myself. Maybe I am. Maybe that’s okay. Just this morning, my husband’s alarm went off, but he stayed in bed. He pulled me into his arms, just to hold me. Just for comfort. “I love waking up next to you,” he’d said. I may not have a bikini model’s body anymore, but my husband’s eyes still light up when I walk past him in my underwear.
I think about the way my kids run to me for snuggles. My youngest likes to bury his face in my tummy when he’s tired or not feeling well. My oldest likes to snuggle in close when we read a story.
I realize that these are the things I treasure the most. These three people would do those things no matter what shape my body was in, because they love me. Love has a way of smoothing the wrinkles, of finding joy in the imperfections, of ignoring the unflattering sundress.
Love also has a way of making me smile all the way into my chubby cheeks, making me pose for a picture because I want to remember this day, and making me walk around in my underwear just to see that look on my husband’s face. My life is beautiful because of the people in it. I am beautiful because they love me. While that doesn’t mean I won’t ever try to be in better shape, I’m not going to live in a dissatisfied place because the scale doesn’t say what I wish it said. I’m going to live in THIS day, and find the beauty in it, and in myself.
I will also go shopping and buy a sundress that fits. 🙂