Dear Fat Rolls:
It seems only right that I would acknowledge you on the day before your holiday. I am conscious of your presence with every rise and fall of my breath. Yours is a landscape I view often, but never admire. Jill Scott once said that there is power in these rolling hills, but in you, my fat rolls, I have only found shame and defeat. I cannot eat my way out of this feeling.
It is a cruel joke that we women call you cute, appetizing things to disguise our misgivings about your existence. It is not fat, but a muffin top bulging over the constricting wrap of denim fabric. We peel jeans off slowly like the delicious prelude to eating a cupcake. We call them love handles, when love often has nothing to do with it. Even the less flattering word, rolls, conjures up that sweet King’s Hawaiian bread; I should invite someone to spread butter on me and nibble. But I do not feel appetizing, I feel lumpy, like poorly beaten gravy poured over chunky mashed potatoes.
I pinch myself where I am thick and yeasty. Take forefinger and thumb, grab flesh and tug to see what new terrain you have spawned on me. I hope for pregnancy and PMS in the same bloated moment. Some days, I wonder why I am holding my tummy in when there is no one but us. And I realize that I am uncomfortable with the swell of the hills on my body, so much so that I cannot be myself with myself. This, then, is the battle of the bulge: self-acceptance.
I can chart your growth like the menu for a tailgate. Rounder left flank? Gotta be those buy one-get one free Klondike bars. The soft fold on my belly when I sit up is all potato chips and salsa. The jiggle in my thighs is frozen pizza, and that lump of back cushion is a double Checkerburger with cheese.
And tomorrow is Thanksgiving. I will no doubt add curves to my body where hills were once plains. But I am thankful for this body, as imperfect as it is. It has carried me 31 years and it carried a baby for 10 months. It deserves more respect than I afford it.
Although I have claimed myself to reject society’s standards of beauty, fat rolls, you challenge me to walk upright even knowing I am pudgy. Loving yourself is easy when you fit in; this roundness places me squarely outside my comfort zone. I am forced to ask myself, Why did you maniacally eat healthy when pregnant and nursing, but abandon veggies after weaning the baby? I cannot forget to baby my own body while mothering.
Fat rolls, you are my overflow, the softness pillowing my walk through life; funny how cushion is deemed beneficial everywhere except on bodies.
I can’t go ruining Thanksgiving apologizing for each bite. Everyone knows that eating sweet potato pie with a dollop of recriminations causes indigestion. I promise, right after this holiday, I can and will do better. Exercise, healthy eating, appropriate bed times that allow for more than four hours of sleep.
But more importantly, I will butter my fat rolls. I will tell them they look delicious whether they swell or shrink. I will nibble away at my own shameful habits and bloated expectations about what my body, this body, should look like. Because the only thing that truly feels unattractive on a woman’s body is her own shame.
P.S. And if anyone would pshaw your existence on me, I caution them to read my defense of petite women’s body issues.
in love and war,