I will never have Abs, but that's not even my Main Hang up on my Stomach
When I was four years old I was taken to the ER by my mom because I had a really high fever. She had taken me to the doctor multiple times for the pain and fever but 1 - I was a happy bouncy child and 2 - she was a single mom. So the Doctor diagnosed me with needing my mother to stay home and be a real mother and that it was all just for attention. The ER docs diagnosed me with something different.
They told her to take me home and get my favorite stuffed animal and be back at the hospital at 6am. They weren’t sure what was wrong, but they needed to perform surgery. So the next morning I went in for the first of what would be six (I think it is six, I should know this but I would have to look it up) surgeries. They did an exploratory surgery that cut me open from my chest to my groin. They found a large durmoid cyst, stuck under my rib cage and removed it, along with a few other things. I had really weird dreams that included a dream were I was much older with a child and two that were apparently about purgatory. Yes, I acknowledge how weird that is, but anesthesia is some weird stuff. The doctors were caring, the scar was massive and keloided, I learned many things about myself and I had my first real awareness of death.
A lot for a four year old. But I am who I am because of this.
I have only once worn something that showed my stomach, a bathing suit in 6th grade that was what would be classified as a tankini and that is it.
See, as the years went on, and my body, specifically my stomach, became a tableau of the changes in modern medicine, I was always super self conscious of my body. First and foremost because of the scars. Change for gym class, I would get asked about the scars. It was never mean in the asking but it just drove home I wasn’t normal. I didn’t look right. I was flawed.
I also still have an intense fear of my body betraying me. Trying to kill me. Preventing me from doing what I want to do. I used to love to dance. But it is REALLY hard to be flexible when the scar tissue inside you is ripping as you grow and when you move certain ways the pain is so intense it can make you throw up.
I feel stunningly uncomfortable being naked. By myself, sure. But with others, especially someone I want to be intimate with, I can’t help but feel like they must think I’m a freak. That they are questioning why they are even with me. My body shows my failings so fully I can’t hind them in any way. It is there for full display.
Now intellectually I know this isn’t true. We all have failings, and now I have fat in the mix too and a ton of other people have that. But yet, emotionally, I just don’t feel beautiful. To be beautiful in this world physically you need to look healthy. I will never look that way. the scars will always be there, betraying that my body is not.
I have tried to overcome everything my body throws at me and I joke that my body tries to kill me every five years or so, but deep down, it scares me and scars me. Because I have known since I was four how true that statement really is. One day, my body will kill me. It does everyone. That is the definition of life. And every day I see the scars reminding me of this.
Now, I know, this sounds depressing and in someways it is. But it is also something else. It is a reminder of the battles I don’t talk about and how I have won them. But that isn’t enough to overcome the fear of showing the scars to others.
I will never have abs because my abs were sliced and scar tissue limits their ability to become tight and toned. I will never have those 11s models will have no matter how much I diet and how many crunches I do. Heck, doing a full sit up is difficult (though I used to be able to do a plank for minutes so that would be awesome to be able to do again). But what I really want is to be able to show my stomach and not be riddled with fear. Fear of rejection, fear of loathing, fear of pity. I want to be able to be like the women who wear a two piece even though they are thicc and yet still are rocking it out there proud and comfortable.
I don’t know if that will ever happen. But I need to focus on trying to make it happen. Maybe if I could, I could come to terms with the failings of my body. And that, that would be one of the greats battles to win.