A Love Letter to My Stomach

Originally Published: 

We’ve had our share of disagreements lately. I’ve pushed you away. I’ve tramped you down. In a word, I’ve sucked—you in, that is.

It’s confusing, I know, because I used to regularly suffocate you—in Spanx—much to your annoyance and discomfort. But in recent months I’ve gone remarkably slack. You must have noticed.

I suspect you think it’s a ploy of mine, a dysfunctional bait-and-switch before I punish you with yet another tortuous round of Pilates at the hands of some sadistic former dancer who confuses turquoise Lycra and toeless socks with fashion.

But, no, sweet paunch. No. This isn’t a game.

This is me coming to terms with who you are. With who I am. And realizing that, honestly, we’re one and the same: We’re soft.

Can we be soft together?

It’s true, we were much, much tighter before my children arrived. You know how it is: Kids change everything, even the firmest of relationships. I hear you, I do! They got in the way of us, of our time together. Remember how we used to like to hang out at the gym for hours, and get really pumped at the thought of crunching, sitting up and side-planking like mad fools? Yeah. Me, too.

I think our youth made everything easier. It just didn’t seem like hard work back then, did it? My God, we used to be more than satisfied with a six-pack! Even splitting one! We didn’t need to spend a small fortune trying to attain designer abs. Maybe we’ve lost our way …

That’s why I’m writing to you now. You see, I think it’s time for us to get real. If things have gone belly up lately, I’ll own up to it. Of course it’s my fault! I’ve gotten too comfortable. OK, I can see that. But you need to manage your expectations, too. Constantly, wistfully eyeing that hot little number in my closet—you know the one, the midriff-baring slut ensemble that’s most at home in a dark downtown bar at 2 a.m. with a stiff cocktail at the ready—isn’t fair to me, either. And your unhealthy addiction to the wrong size of Rag & Bone jeans not only puts the squeeze on me, it makes me your gasping enabler. Gasping because I can only manage to button them at the waist if I fully refrain from inhaling and exhaling altogether.

So. Here we are. I know we have plenty of issues to sort through—mainly my trove of old Self magazines I haven’t had the time or interest to read because I’m a mother now! I’m way too busy to spend my precious time studying photos of teen models performing isolating exercises on four-color spreads! Do you know how stressful it is trying to mimic in real life what those lithe, pretty gals are doing, and on my living room’s hardwood floors?

Of course you don’t. Because you only ever saw what you wanted to see in me—a flat, picture-perfect image. But I’m 3-D, dear. Fully dimensional! And if things keep going the way they have been, there’s only going to be more of me to love.

Because that’s what this is, dear stomach. A love letter. To you. One that professes how I’ve come to accept everything about you. Your puckering dimples. The way you’ve really stretched yourself to give to me. Even those cute little side handles that don’t make any sense! I don’t weigh any more than I ever did—yet there they are, hanging out, practically begging for someone to grab hold and take steer of me. But I embrace you—us, darling, us!—the way we are. Because longing for the way we were should be saved for sappy Barbra Streisand movies. Or maybe Real Housewives forced to pretend they’re 30 in order to pay for the upkeep of their tacky Beverly Hills McMansions.

Tummy—yes, I’d like to call you that again, if you’ll allow it—let’s grow old together. And I do mean grow and grow …

Because I think if we let ourselves (go), we could be happy. To our core.

Yours (literally),


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