I’ve always had a “belly.”
I’m not talking about my stomach – which I realize I need to digest my food.
No, it’s my belly that has been a constant source of hardship and complaint since I was a teenager.
I cringed as I flipped through the pages of teen magazines. And at 14, 15, 16 my confidence lowered each time I wore my 2-piece bathing suit that showed up the roundness of my belly. Never flat and taunt like the swimsuit models I envied.
I remember, clear as a soft summer day, a green polka dot 2-piece bathing suit I saw on the cover of a teen magazine. I lusted after that suit. It covered enough area that it couldn’t be called a bikini, but it wasn’t my mother’s era of an old-fashioned 2-piece either. The green was the color of grass just watered, and the white polka dots were sharply round, the size of doughnut holes.
I searched and searched for that suit while shopping all summer long, and finally found it in the middle of August. Yes!
I tried it on and nearly cried right there in the dressing room. My bust fell out of it like I was a Madame in a brothel. It didn’t do that on the swimsuit model. And my belly was rounded, not flat, above the too-tiny suit bottom.
In other words, I looked like a chubby 15-year-old awkward girl in this suit, not a svelte, pretty teenager.
I took the suit off and left it hanging in the dressing room while trying on five other suits and finally buying a boring 1-piece navy blue tank.
At that point, I realized I would never be a cute, adorable, green-and-white-polka-dot bikini-wearing footloose and fancy-free kind of girl.
At that point, I began to discover the real me.
Round belly and all.