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  • hatheoharis

Your Belly Is NOT Your Self.

Why is the belly the go-to exploit of a woman's body, the go-to definitive of whether a woman's body is considered to be in-shape, the go-to visual of "ideal" hip to waist ratio, the go-to visual commentary of "getting a body back", the go-to showcase as you take a mirror selfie post-baby? Why do some choose to force their belly into a suffocating corset to "train their body" to shrink and ignore the screams emanating from their internal organs as they get squished?

When did the belly become the part of a woman's body where she not only feels the pressure for it to be just so but society also labels her as being so not so if it isn't just right?

Every time I see a photo - even a well intentioned one - of a woman showing their belly post-baby, I feel so infuriated, so frustrated, so so so many feelings. I want to scream, "WHY?!?! Why is this a thing?!?" Why do we feel the need to show our belly as representative of post-pregnancy and fail to recognize that our ENTIRE BODY - physical body, heart, and mind - were ALL involved. Why are we not showing a photograph of something ambiguous as the sunlight and saying, "Hey, I had a baby 4 months ago and the sun is still shining, I'm doing good." Why are we so focused on our bodies in a way which minimizes them to their appearance of a particular body part? Does this help us to feel better about ourselves or does it aim to place us lock and key into a forced perspective of what we think we should look like? Does it help us accept our WHOLE self or does it allow for acceptance ONLY when the belly is just so... just so less, just so thin, just so flat, just so ....?

I get it. I was once there. My hip bones have a distinct memory of feeling them above the concavity of my belly to ensure I was thin enough. My college self sitting in the front row of general psychology class mortified to see I forgot to suck in my belly and gosh I hope no-one saw and quickly sucked it back in. When my now husband told me, "Stop sucking in your belly", I pretty much let it go after 30+ years of telling it it wasn't good enough. It doesn't get sucked in anymore. IT IS GOOD ENOUGH and it's TIRED of being labeled as the catch-all to the rest of the body being good enough. Excuse my language, but it has fucking had it with this bullshit.

What does the belly truly want? It wants to just be. It wants to expand when you breathe in and release as you breathe out. It wants to fill up like a balloon and shake as you cackle and express your deepest felt laughter. It wants to be nourished with foods it enjoys. It wants to be able to let you know when it's sad and conflicted, anxious and frustrated. It wants to be loved and not judged. It wants to know it's okay for it to grow and expand during certain times of your menstrual cycle when your hormones have all the control. It wants to wear comfortable clothing versus forcing it to be confined in skinny jeans. When it's wearing those skinny jeans, it wants to be able to let go and be itself. It wants clothing makers to recognize it for it's roundness and make clothing which fits it. It wants you to stop labeling it (it's not a FUPA*, it's your belly). It wants you to recognize it's right to be what it is.

Your belly wants to be what it was when you were a baby, free and just so, free to expand, free to be, and and free to be loved.... by YOU.


*For a moment, I must comment on the aformentioned FUPA and be quite incensed. I'm renaming FUPA from Fat Upper Pussy Area to F.uck U. P.erfectionist A.ssholes.

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