In the 5th instalment of the Love EVERY Body, body positivity workshop we discuss a part of our body that I know a lot of women are conscious of – the stomach.
At 16 I was certain that of all my body parts, my abs would remain flat and firm.
Hahahahahahaha silly girl.
Oh the belly has had it’s fair share of ups and downs. With all the yo-yo weight cycles, the excessive exercising and then emotional eating, the strict diets and purging.
Like any other teen, that period was the start of my descent into self loathing. I worked harder than most girls to keep a trim figure, since I have sloth-like metabolism. It paid off handsomely, I was admired by the opposite sex and I had my fair share of hot, cute boyfriends (something that I always was in disbelief over since I couldn’t see why they would date Me).
I was conscious of my belly from 12, when my apparent ‘obesity’ was picked on by family & friends alike. So that made my teen self all the more resolute to keep the bulge off. And I did everything within my power to keep it off.
At 16, I hit rock bottom.
I was disillusioned with life and angry at the world. I was growing tired of people-pleasing and meeting the requirements of a popular, pretty lass.
I wanted to be Me, whatever or whoever that was.
So I stopped caring. I started eating and yes I was at my then-largest but my god was I happy. Until people started making a huge din as usual, about my appearance.
It’s terrible how much it mattered to me that I look presentable for the opposite sex. It’s what is ingrained in us girls from a young age. We’re meat on a market, looking to be taken by the highest bidder. It is disgusting how early on patriarchy affects our lives.
It wasn’t just the girls my age that were nasty. The boys were terrible. My cousins and friends. My parents. Neighbours. Everybody had something to say about my weight and the first place they stared at was the belly. Because unlike my prediction at 16, it did not stay flat at 17. Oh the catastrophe, that’s how it felt to me at that time. I felt cheated by my body. I was eating proper again with no purging wasn’t I? Why was it so hard for me to be slender?
This is a typical scenario that started back then and that still happens today : I step out of my apartment, take the lift. Before I walk out of the lift the person waiting to enter the lift gives me a once over and decides to stare openly at my belly. I walk out to the bus stop and about 5 other people do the same thing. I enter the bus and half of the passengers do it.
It DOES NOT END until I get home.
I developed social anxiety after returning to Singapore in 2005. Back in Australia, I was carefree about my weight..and I had so much fun dressing up.
I came back to Singapore on a wheelchair and you’d think that would garner more stares but No.. my father was more bothered about the fact that I had gotten ‘fat’ from the injury.
I WAS IN A WHEELCHAIR HOW THE BLOODY HELL WAS I SUPPOSED TO GET UP AND HAVE A BLOODY CARDIO SESSION YOU FOOL?
I became so painfully aware of the belly-stares. It made me close to hysterical sometimes. I would meet the onlookers’ eyes with such rage and contempt. Sometimes I would snap and say something, other times I would raise my voice. Some times I would start shaking and demand to go home. There were days that I could not go past my block of flats for fear of being judged. I developed panic attacks when travelling on buses and trains. I would walk home crying.
All this over my damn belly.
When I decided to lose weight for the wedding, I slaved over trimming my midsection.
I wasn’t happy in anything that I tried on that year no matter how many times my friends and the hubster said that I looked stunning … Which I did, and I wish I could have smacked my stupid head then for that.
I am very glad that I decided to say “Fuck it, Im done” in 2008 and the weight crept back on. I refused to lose weight for 2 years which was a pretty big deal if you knew how obsessed I was about my body back then.
Of course I know that I shouldn’t have gone to the other extreme by becoming an absolute recluse, becoming totally sedentary and gorging on everything but do you know what? I needed to do that. I needed to rebel.
My belly has numerous stretch marks and tiger stripes from the numerous yo-yo weight cycles. It used to have scratch marks because I hated it and I used to practically tear at my body and want to bleed to death. That is why this post has no pictures. I am not ready to show it to the world as yet.
The insides of my belly are weak because of the purging and suicide attempts (sleeping pills). I have IBS, irritable bowel syndrome so there are things that I cannot eat and I must not miss my meals or else I will suffer from intense gastric pains.
The most pain my belly has had to endure were during the miscarriages.
It felt like my insides were being stabbed by a dozen sharp knives.
I have PMDD which means that my monthly cycle is a horror fest. The pain, weakness, nausea is insane.
I’ve regaled you with the ugly.
Let me speak of the good now. Because I feel very differently about this body part since embarking on the body positive journey.
First of all, I think my belly is cute.
It has a soft roundness to it and despite the scars, it isn’t half bad to look at in the mirror.
I have what some may call a plus size hourglass figure. So my waist is smaller and I love the defining curves that show that off. It makes me look amazing in snugly fitted outfits.
The tummy protrudes and there is no hate for it, because I don’t want a flat belly anymore. I like the fleshiness and womanliness. And if onlookers have a problem with that, I seriously cannot be bothered. I do still snarl at these people on occasion. I am not as sweet or goody goody as my pictures depict you know .. 😉
My ginger kitty Zadie loves nothing more than to settle down comfortably on my belly. She falls asleep to its rise and fall, her purring puts me to sleep .. It’s a win-win. Both cats enjoy doing that ‘thing’ that cats do when they’re trying to fluff up their beds, on my belly. It’s really cute. All of my pets enjoy snuggling up to my waist everyday and resting their heads on my tummy.
I would like to feel the full swell of my belly when with child. But if that does not happen, then I will rest my newly adopted baby on my belly where it will feel safe and sound. I’ll keep you updated at age 35, when I can officially adopt 🙂
My belly is not perfect and I don’t dislike that fact.