I don’t really get a lot of the new-age pop music the kids are listening to these days. And if there has ever been any absolute indication that I’m getting old, it’s this realization.
Admittedly, I’m a bit of a party girl at heart. I have a soft spot for spontaneous evenings, stiff drinks made with cheap booze, LOUD music (preferably poppy dance jams or rock classics with a real high potential for air-guitar solos) and, honestly, there is nothing I love more than taking shots with people I love. Yes, I am that girl and I have no shame. Since having kids, though, my partying days have significantly decreased (thank god) and my admiration for the top-40 pop hits has really declined. Let’s be serious, a lot of things have changed since having kids — like, my bedtime, my hobbies and my belly (amongst other things).
Not that this is much of a change since before I had kids but I’ve been spending a lot of time lately thinking about my belly. For the past few weeks there’s been a pretty loud running dialogue going on in the back of my head solely pertaining to my body. The “conversation” goes from what I can do to change my body, to wondering why I’m not doing it, to wondering why it’s suddenly so difficult to change, to worrying about the newfound aches and pains, to running through the list of food I’ve consumed that day, to calculating the amount of water I’ve drank, to brainstorming new ways of hiding and covering my body, to altogether just saying fuck it, to listing my body’s accomplishments, to judging its color and its form and its shape. It’s honestly never ending. I think about what other people think about it, I think about the impact (if any, but obviously some, right?) it’s having on my job search, I think about what it used to be and how I used to think I was “so fat”. I think about how naive and fucking dumb I was to ever think that before now. I think about how I might have lived differently had I known how strong and healthy and happy and not fat at all I actually was. I wonder if I’ll ever look back at pictures from right now and wonder the same thing.
I think I should say “FUCK IT!” to everyone who thinks they have a right to look at my body and make any assumptions.
But then I see myself in a picture with my two perfect mini humans, a rare occurrence thanks to the nonstop dialogue in which I can’t seem to find peace within my own body, and all I can see is the size of my arm and all I can do is nitpick the possible discoloration of my skin. I can’t help but fixate on the way my sunglasses sit on my cheeks and the strained version of my smile. I could have positioned my arm better, to not rest on my body, so that it looked smaller. I could have sat up straighter so my shoulders didn’t appear so round and my collar bone would be more pronounced. I could have scooted my glasses down a bit on my nose so my cheeks didn’t push them up so ugly-like. I could have gotten out of the fucking picture altogether.
At least then I’d be able to focus on the other two perfect humans sitting on my lap. The two humans I grew in my uterus over the span of three years. The two humans who share my brown eyes and my flat feet. The two who account for the only two real surgeries I’ve ever had, who were ripped out of my body 18 months apart through a six-inch slice in my abdomen; an area of my body so completely changed by my c-sections that I refer to it by a new name, my C-shelf. And it’s still sensitive to the touch.
Months ago, I walked into the living room and sat down next to Seth while he was watching a golf tournament. As I watched a man in black tailored pants and a brightly-colored, tucked-in shirt walk up to take his swing I caught myself critiquing his build and the way his clothes fit him perfectly. In that moment I looked over at Seth who was intently watching the screen and asked if he ever watched golf and thought to himself, “gosh, if I was that tall or that skinny, I could wear those clothes or clothes like that”. In his cut-off tank top and baggy mesh shorts, Seth looked over at me with the most condescendingly confused look on his face.
“You know, do you ever watch golf or other sports and think about how you wish you looked like someone? Or wished you were built like some other dude or thinner so you could wear the things their wearing?”
“What?! No. I wish I could hit the golf ball like them. Or that I maybe had a swing like theirs. But I don’t give a shit about their clothes because it doesn’t matter.”
I don’t know that I have ever been more annoyed by or jealous of a man than in that moment. No wonder he gets annoyed when I take too much time deciding what to wear or change my clothes last minute. He doesn’t care about looking good as much as he cares about functionality and purpose while all I can think about is how I present myself and what others will think about it. Most of the time I wear what I think will draw the least amount of attention. How depressing.
The other day while we were lying on the couch, Matty laid his head on my belly. After a few moments he looked up at me, patted my belly and said, “your belly’s nice, Mama. I like your belly.” My immediate reaction was to make a sarcastic joke, even though I was partially relieved he thought so. I told him I was glad he liked it since he was the one who had made it so soft. Seth scoffed and gave Matty a hard time because he always calls Seth’s belly big. I wondered at what age Matty might change his mind about my belly being nice. I think I might have a few years, tops.
Last week I had a friend tell me a story about the time her daughter referred to her as “fat” in front of other people. She said when it happened she could tell the people around her were uncomfortable but that she thought it was hilarious. “I mean, technically I am fat. But that doesn’t mean I’m fucking ugly. They’re not one and the fucking same. It’d rather be fat and pretty than skinny and ugly. But everything is subjective.”
Anyway, I don’t really get a lot of the new-age pop music the kids are listening to these days but there are a couple songs I’ve really gotten behind in these past few weeks. The first is one I refuse to even think about lyrically but I play on repeat because I can’t stop, well, and because super-douche Justin Bieber has a voice as smooth as velvet:
I’m the One by DJ Kahled
The second song I couldn’t stand because, quite honestly, I was just too old to get behind it (I’m 33, y’all) UNTIL I caught wind of what situation the song was actually addressing (thanks to Jezebel) and now I AM ALL HERE FOR THIS:
Because we’re never really too old for a good old-fashioned pop song lady anthem.
ME: “nothing but sweatpants
lookin like a princess” lookin’ like a hot mess
YOU: Doing your thing
ALL OF US: Feeling like DAMN QUEENS.