The Skinny on the Fat

I was pouring out of my training bra in fourth grade. My breasts didn’t need to be trained, they needed to be tamed. Every other girl was looking for toilet tissue to put in her shirt. I was searching for duct tape.  My two budding friends were growing at an exceptionally fast rate and to top it off my other friend Flow decided to start her monthly visits early. So there I was a very fertile 10-year-old with the beginnings of perky boobs. Before you go all pedophile on me, you should know that I was a chubby kid. I held onto my baby fat until ninth grade and in my opinion there was nothing pinch-my-cheeks-cute about it. I figure however that between everyone's glasses, braces and uni brows I fit right in during middle school. 

Then there was high school. An all girls catholic high school. Survival of the thinnest on steroids. Laxatives, diet pills and skipping meals were common prom and semi-formal prep. Ah youth— if I wanted to lose four pounds in one week it would happen in the snap of a finger. It was amazing. That teenage bitch girl had no idea how good she had it. 

I was also amazed at how quickly I acclimated to not seeing boys in class anymore, unless of course you count my obsession with my all male teacher day in my schedule. A certain male teacher who shall go nameless once told me that if he saw my skirt too far up above my knee again he would have no choice but to get out his cattle prod.  The all girls school thing was starting to get to me because I took this as more of a challenge as opposed to a threat. It was time to get a boyfriend.

By the time junior year came around, I relished in male interaction outside the confines of campus. I had begun dating a naughty public school boy. Gasp.  Having a serious boyfriend exacerbated the need to have the perfect body.  I worked hard to stay in shape and did so minus the college years where my diet was a bit heavy on the yeast, hops and many a late night food binge. Then there was my mid to late twenties where I tried every diet and exercise craze out there to stay in shape.

So when I found out I was pregnant one of my first thoughts was that I was not going to gain a ton of weight. I was going to be that pregnant girl who only gained weight in her belly. You know, that girl whose hair you want to pull out.

I was doing pretty well sporting a relatively petite figure with a little baby bump well into my sixth month when my ass popped. Yup, most women’s stomachs pop, but instead, my ass did.  I went from flat white girl butt to a hybrid version of Kim Kardashian meets Jennifer Lopez. Don’t even get me started on my breasts. As you have read, I was never a flat-chested girl, so you can imagine my disgust when my boobs went from a C to an E overnight. Sexy, right? Sexy, no. Have you ever worked out with a medicine ball? Then you have copped a feel of my pregnant boobs. Soft, squishy and motorboat worthy they were not. Hard, stiff and bounce a quarter off them, they were. 

Then there was the swelling. Dear God, would my feet ever fit into my size sevens again? I walked to and from work a half hour each way, every day. God love Manhattan. The shifting from one foot to the other probably kept them from swelling too much during the walk. Should I stay on my feet for too long after it however, it was like a Hobbit had taken over from my ankles to my toes; minus the exorbitant amount of hair. Thank God for small things.  When my wedding band started cutting off my circulation, I decided it was probably a good idea to put it back in it’s pretty little box for the time being. There were a few nights there where I wasn’t sure I would get it off safely without taking my finger with it.

There was one body part however that had maintained its original form. My buried treasure. My gal pal. My six-letter-layer-of-love. And then it happened. One unseasonably warm February day, she disappeared from my sight.The little alien inhabiting my uterus must have grown while we slept because I could no longer see my “down there” anymore. Or for that matter— my feet! I was starting to feel like I was an inhabitant in someone else’s body. Nothing seemed to be mine anymore.

And in reality, it wasn’t. Part of me lived in someone else now and I would spend the rest of my life nurturing, guiding and willing this individual to experience all the best that life has to offer. After an instance of morning sickness from having Mexican for dinner the night before, I quickly realized I was second. She was growing inside me and demanded nutrients and hormones from my body that I was given no choice but to provide. My body was her first home and it knew before I did what it meant to be a mother.

Like I always do, I called my mother with this news that not only did Mexican food bring on some fierce morning sickness, but that I also felt like the Stay Puft Marshmallow man had taken over my body as my stomach had gotten humungous. After responding sardonically that Mexican food is not the best choice for even a non-pregnant person’s digestive tract, she offered me a motherly nudge. She implored,  “And where would you like that baby to grow? You can’t carry her in your ass you know.”

She was right, but my rear was certainly carrying excess I reminded her.

“Do I need to slap you?” was all my mother had to say.

It was then that I embraced my pregnant body. After all, how could I not respect the first place that rocked my first born to sleep and allowed her a place to grow?
Before I had a daughter of my own, I needed to love and respect the body my soul lived in. I needed to start tendering it no matter how big or small. 

Little Miss Tynan, among the many things you will learn as a growing woman, please embrace this lesson from your MeMa. Be braver than most women and love your body no matter what. Love it skinny. Love it chubby. Love it sweaty. Love it while sick with the flu. Love it during times of stress. Love it if you are an A cup. Love it if you are a D cup. Love it when you just miss fitting into that smaller size pair of jeans.

Because my dear, when you accept and understand this adoration, you can move mountains. When you omit these feelings of affection for your own being, these come back to you in the form of a devoted husband or life partner who will someday love you and your body no matter what size or shape.

An occasional binge on a box of chocolate chip cookies is good for the soul. Trust me though love bug — an every day binge on self-love is good for the heart.

The size of you in my belly on Thanksgiving 2012.
No matter what size or shape I will always love you, Cookie face. 


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