I maybe should start out with: I own three pairs of pants. Which, historically since high school, is kind of a lot for me. I have one pair of white cotton slacks (that I have had for 10 years and maybe worn 10 times, but you known, why not keep them?) and two pairs of jeans.
I love my jeans. Because a) they fit b) they were free (hand-me-downs) and c)sometimes I don’t want to shave, ya heard?!
The jeans I’m wearing now fit really well. They are the fit that is just a smidge snug straight out of the dryer, but settles into “perfect” after about 30 minutes. They fall exactly where I want them to on my hips and my ankles. Which, maybe if you have never had body issues and don’t care much about clothes, seems unremarkable to you – but not to me. A right-fitting pair of jeans to me (a person who, awkwardly/admittedly doesn’t truly fancy wearing pants) is just shy of a right-fitting mate on the “List of Ritz’s Impossible tasks.”
So. However (comma). There’s this thing: It’s called a muffin top.
Yes, pplfriends, we’re going there. Well, IIIIII am going there. Will you come with me?
So, the muffin top. It only happens when my jeans (which, like all jeans) fall down a bit and thus fit more snugly on a bigger part of my body. And when I sit down. Lord-Have-mercy, what’s the graceful way to do the “i have to adjust my waistline when i sit down so I don’t look like a troll” move?Anyone? Graceful. I. Ain’t.
Today after working out I realized that my belly has gotten a little ….more malleable lately. (Despite what my HEB angel said.) Now, read me good and read me well: I am not complaining, I’m not saying it’s bad, I’m just saying I’ve noticed. It makes sense, especially since I’ve been getting about half my miles in for the past two months. But the point here isn’t really style or fitness or flab, it’s about a much deeper change I can see, as a result of le top del muffin mountain:
a change in my heart. Deep deep down in my heart.
Because the extra muscle-protective layers (fat) on my belly is something I noticed today. It’s something I pondered for a bit. It caused me to wonder what the best-paired top might be (uhm, NOT the one pictured. I know.). But it did NOT bother me.
Once more, with feeling: MY BELLY FLAB DID NOT BOTHER ME.
And not in a way that suggests that I’m above it all. I still care about how I look and I would most prefer to have rock-hard abs that always kept their form (and gave me better posture, f’realz). I would most prefer to be a hottie boombalottie all the time.* (fair warning, the video is a lot funny, but a LITTLE raunch. you may not want to watch it if you are attracted to women)
I’m …maybe the only human in America who remembers this song.
But a self-proclaimed challenge to physical perfection (the muffin top) did NOTHING to my concept of my own worth when I noticed it today. It wasn’t a value issue. It was just something to notice, like the time of day or temperature of the air. “Oh, hey belly. You look a little different today.”
And as ANYONE who has ever doubted their worth or identity based on appearances knows: this is it’s own not-so-little miracle.
And through this little moment, I was able to see a glimpse of the big changes God has wrought in me. How a probable gain of a few pounds (cant be sure, scale ran out of batteries. the batteries live downstairs and the scale lives upstairs. insurmountable problem, y’all.) didn’t send me off the deep end. It didn’t move me at all.
As an adendum, because I know body image issues are anything but rare, I’d like to share a few of the ways that God has changed my heart on the issue.
1) Falling more in love with Jesus makes you fall more out of love with everything else. Cause he’s a lot better. And when I respond to the call of the Holy Spirit, when I turn my eyes to his goodness, I forget a lot of the crap that was never meant to matter anyway. So he has been changing my heart just by who he is.
2) Having a health plan, which for me involves daily exercise, eating “well” (more research always being done) most of the time, and giving my body the things it needs (rest, relaxation, nourishment, activity) keeps me pretty secure about my body. Even if it’s never chiseled or great looking, I can know that I’m working hard to keep it working, so that I can do the things I was created to do.
3)I’ve made no secret of the fact that my homenovio is ex.cell.ent at loving me in a way that shows me Jesus all the time. In addition to giving me lots of truth, grace, and affection, he ALSO just-so-happens to like my belly. Which my brain cannot even handle but he says it’s soft and most of me is not soft (be good. he’s only touching appropriate places covered by appropriate coverings, ppfriends) and by some logic that is not mine, he likes it. When I said I was getting flabby at another time, he said, “Nope, hush, no,” wrapped his arms around me (the man might be part pteradactyl because they go all the way around and then his hands can grab my flab) and kissed my cheek to silence the issue.
I know. Jesus, health, and homenovio. Dreamy. Don’t be jealous, just join the club. (Oh but if you need a dreamy homenovio, I don’t have any to give out. mine is taken.)
* that’s also not true anymore. While I still desire to be beautiful, more and more each day I want to have a beautiful heart and not be known for the condition of my body.