Gut Smash

I have to wear really long shirts to bed, because if I wear regular shirts, and my belly falls out, it will wake me up, usually with a stomach ache. 

Sometimes when I drive I try to not suck in my stomach but I don’t like the feeling of my fat touching each side of the seat belt pressed into it. 

I remember when I stopped going off the diving board, one of my favorite activities as a kid, because I hated my belly jiggle on such a wobbly board, when I was so visible to other people. 

Today, my lower belly hung out of my shirt in yin yoga, and I wasn’t able to be ok with that. I’ve been ok with how not ok I am with that for a long time. But, I can’t yet just let my belly out, I’m not there yet in my recovery.

I want to be ok with it. I want to be body positive. I want to be confident and a good role model of body acceptance. But it’s too much. It’s distracting. It’s everything I think about. I have spent every moment of my life hiding my low belly from the world, even now, that I don’t hate it, I still hide it. It’s my pattern. 

I don’t like it. I tell myself I do. But I don’t. Maybe there is power in admitting that. Maybe there is lots of space between hate and like. I don’t know where acceptance falls on that spectrum. Acceptance enough to let it be seen by someone else.

I tell myself I am not trying to fix my belly anymore. But I don’t know if that is true. I know there is nothing wrong with it to fix. I know that there are much more deep reasons why I insist on being perfect, that have nothing to do with my body fat percentage.

I know that hating my body is a way to avoid figuring out what I really don’t like about myself. 

I know men find me attractive. I know I am sexy. I know I am healthy. 
I don’t know if I have stopped wanting a different belly. 
It’s just my pattern. 

I get stomach aches on Wednesday because, Wednesday, at work, I am in a room where I see myself in the mirror for hours, and I suck it in. 
I can’t not. I’ve tried. It makes it worse. It’s an endless loop.
I don’t hate my belly anymore. I just can’t deal with the sight of it. 
How do you define hate?

In yoga they tell you to put one hand on your belly and I just always skip that part. 
It’s not something that makes me feel more grounded. 
Acceptance is being ok with where you are now. 

Sometimes when I am working out, my high waisted yoga pants fall below my belly button and I can feel my stomach press into my shirt and I have to stop to pull my pants back up. 
I’ve tried to ignore it because it can get very annoying when your pants keep falling down, but I can’t bare the feeling of it. 

I can’t wear tight shirts. 
Yoga with mirrors require high waisted pants. 
Why does yoga have mirrors?

I think I have spent my whole life sucking it in. 
I think I don’t know how to release my abdominal muscles. 
I’ve laid in bed and tried but the jiggle bothers me. 
I don’t want it to. I don’t hate my stomach anymore.
I worked really hard to be able to say that.
But feeling it jiggle still feels pretty horrible.

I am doing a women’s erotic movement class and part of it is touching your own body, for your own pleasure. I touch my neck, legs, back, butt, all day and enjoy them, but I’ve always avoided my lower belly. I just kinda work under the assumption that touching it will put me in a shame spiral so I avoid it. But I decided to try it. I remember a soft, brief little touch where my belly falls over my shorts on the way down to my pubic bone, and thinking, you know, I can see why this is sexy to some men. 

I think belly fat is very attractive on other people. I usually think flat stomachs are kinda boring. 
I told a lover about my realization in dance class, but when he touched my belly I froze and said I wasn’t ready. 

I think I don’t like spooning/snuggling because it’s really hard for a hand to not touch my belly. 

I remember severe stomach aches from pretending like I was ok with a hand on my belly, until he fell asleep, I could move his hand, and regain my ability to breath until I could go to sleep. 

I am, as I write this, realizing I don’t sleep well with people in my bed because they usually touch my stomach, or I spend the entire time fearing they might. This has a really negative effect on my life and relationships.

I suck it in, my gut, when I am scared or insecure. It’s my guard.
I get stomach aches a lot.

Tonight, I was in yoga, and we laid on our bellies on a small squishy ball to roll out our abs muscles. 

Instantly the pressure was overwhelming. Every excuse I could think of for why this was injuring me came rushing up. I tried foam rolling my abs once before and had the same instant pain. I asked a Physical Therapist who was there if it could be bad for you. He assured me it couldn’t. But I didn’t believe him and didn’t try to foam roll my abs ever again. 

It felt like I was dying. Or should die. My brain screamed in fear. 

It legitimately felt like I was going to have a bowel movement, or vomit. Or that the weight of the world was sitting on my belly button. The area around my belly button, the area that holds the fat.

It was a soft, gentle, thin rubber inflated purple ball, and I was gently laying on it.

My brain was being forced to process, for maybe the first time ever, that that part of my body exists. I couldn’t pretend, ignore, or hide it. 

I took a few deep breath attempts. I have been doing a lot of yoga, meditation, somatic training, self care, and personal development lately. I am becoming increasingly more and more aware of my embodiment, and lack thereof. 

I asked “Is this pain, or is this trauma?” and the tears instantly poured out of my eyes. 

I watched my brain violently surrender into the powerful realization that my body was safe to allow my nerve endings in that area to accept feedback. That there is life there. That my skin and fat around my belly button was me, was us, was home. 

The overpowering realization of how powerful my thoughts, fears, and dissociations are to have created this actual physiological adaptation, to associate a part of my body with severe pain, merely because I have spent so long wishing it didn’t exist--- was nearly as overwhelming.

More tears. 

I felt the pain of feeling the area I swore away for 31 years, and silently chanted something like pain-fear-i love you-pain-fear-i love you. Labeling the emotions. And telling that skin, those little hairs, the muscle under my belly button, the intestines underneath---that whole section of my body that I loved it too. 

I have had my doubts about all this brain-body connection stuff. But this was real. 
This was logical. It makes total sense. 
And it allows me to feel so powerful.

I am not a victim of bad habits that don’t align with my values anymore from a lifetime of eating disorders and body dysmorphia. I am all powerful. I created this, when I needed to.  And the universe is supporting me in my journey to not only move past it, but gave me solid proof to surrender into the power of my thoughts, the knowledge of my body, and the interconnectedness of it all. 

This is another step on my journey to trusting the universe to support me. 

I have a feeling I am going to be able to start overcoming some of my body image barriers soon. Realizing that the pain of the exposure is real, but only from hatred, I can now slowly introduce to both the world and myself, a part of me that’s been hidden. And I can do it with love and compassion.

I might become a better snuggler, enjoy more variety of fashion choices, maybe put my hand on my belly or wear whatever I want to yoga. I might have even figured out some of my life hindering chronic bloating, digestion, and upset stomach issues. 

Your body talks to you. 

When I left yoga I was greeted with one of the most beautiful sunsets I had ever seen as I walked home, confirming that god/the universe is a cocky shit and loves me unconditionally.