Tuesday, May 3, 2011

My very own Buddha belly

I have spent a significant amount of time hiding from my own body.  I don’t shriek in horror after every mirror I pass.  I do, however, think about how to distract you from my burgeoning midsection when I’m out in public.  I have (for better or for worse) an hourglass shape.  This comes with some genetic gifts (hooray boobs!).  But with my child bearing physique came the hard cold truth that the universe has blessed me with a tummy. 

I have had a flat stomach thrice in my life.  Once when I was Illinois’ (and the world’s) worst female water polo player.  The second time was when I had lost the will to eat (the key to the perfect body is having the love of your life fly off to Argentina for the summer).  And the third time was when I had a maniacal obsession with everything that I ate.  And as my water polo career ended, boyfriends moved on and my relationship with food improved I learned a thing or two about the trade offs that come with life.

I believe that learning to love yourself the way you are is a life long goal.  And not an easy one considering the constant pressure on both genders to look a certain way to achieve happiness.  And as a one woman experiment – I can tell you that I have not been happiest at my skinniest.  Back then I was a miserable person to be around.  I was the girl at the fancy restaurant in Vegas pushing mixed greens and balsamic vinegar around my plate as my friends happily chowed down on beef and guzzled beer.  It was a skinny life but it wasn’t life at all.

I’m generally happy somewhere in the middle of the depravation/gluttony spectrum.  The middle is where I have the general health to move around in the ways that I want (i.e. downward dogs, high kicks on the dance floor, long walks around Santa Monica) and the emotional freedom to enjoy the food and beverages that I like. 

This past weekend I found myself living “in the middle” at a yoga work shop.  The teacher had the class start off by rubbing their stomachs in a circular motion.  For what felt like 20 minutes. Halfway through the process I realized that I almost never touch this part of my body.  Not only that but I try not to even look at it. So I decided that this was not the time to launch into a self induced “you are fat and ugly attack.”  It was probably the time that I had to grow up and put things in perspective.

So I decided to rub my damn buddha belly and meditate on a few things ....

Flat stomachs don’t define you.

Body parts don’t disappear if you avoid them. 

And the body you have is the body you take to the grave so now is as good a time as any to be grateful for it.   



  1. I really enjoyed reading this post today, because I've been feeling down about my decidedly NOT flat stomach as well. It's much better to spend my time being grateful for my body than hating it and I'm always glad to have a reminder of that. :)

  2. Exactly. It's hard for a mid-40-something who's been fortunate to have a decent set of abs & figure her whole life be overtaken by the dreaded 'lower pooch sag' upon which the peri-menopausal among us bemoan. But if it gains me a little more bootay and som'n som'n upstairs (which I've been lacking my whole life)? Then I pat my little buddha belly and sit back as I feel more like a curvaceous, sexy woman than a stick insect these days. Yoga does teach us to breathe properly - and belly dancing has taught me - um - you need a BELLY to have shimmy, ladies! Brave belle donne!