Beauty and the Beastly Belly

I’ve always been that mom that allows nudity with my children up to a certain age point. I believe if you make something dirty it will be dirty. My older two kids are 15 months apart and a boy and a girl. Until about six or seven they bathed together and played naked without even a notice to anatomical differences. If anything was said about anything it was, “what is that?” Or, “why?” And I simply said, “boys and girls are different. God made us this way. It’s not a big deal.” Or, “everyone has something and you two are different.” Simple, honest, straight forward. Of coarse age changes that and we lose innocence. Now if I so much as walk in while my older daughter is changing I get screeched at. Honest, my son is probably more likely to not freak out than my daughter about me walking in at the wrong time.

All of that being said let me also say I’m the mom that got in her undies and sat in the kiddie pool in our very private backyard. If a small child was standing outside my shower crying I’d open the curtain and place them in the shower with me. Sometimes it’s easier, they get clean, you get a shower, who cares? I took Lennon to public restrooms with me as a child. Is there any other option when you have a male child and you’re alone in public? No, there isn’t.

My point is Story is my last little one and she’s no stranger to nudity. We are blessed to own several acres of land and have a very private back deck. If I have been working outside and I’m filthy I’ll strip down before going in. Sometimes I even rinse off with the water hose. I actually keep a few towels back there to wrap in just in case my son is home. In the summer Story follows that pattern and strips and climbs in her kiddie pool. She knows no harm in following her daddy in the bathroom while I’m at work and asking him questions and him responding, “yeah. I’m a boy, I’m different.” And we leave it at that. Honest. Simple. Easy.

The part I didn’t realize I was teaching her (and hopefully I taught the other two as well) is the idea of beauty. Yesterday the older two kids were gone and my husband was at work and we were on our porch and had an impromptu water fight. I was in my underwear and she was naked. We used water balloons and squirt guns until we were both sopping. It began to rain and we tiptoed through the house leaving wet footprints and got into the shower. She made a comment about my stomach. I instantly wanted to hide.

My stomach. It’s a mental wound for me as well as an eyesore.

Three children, the loss of 90 pounds, and bad skin genetics all have left me with a body part I’m not comfortable with to say the least. I know all women have insecurities. I know nobody is perfect. I know, girl power, women equality, love yourself, and all the other things that should go here. You should know when my ex husband wanted to hurt me he’d say something cruel about my body and that was his favorite thing to point out. You should know that in seven years of marriage my husband now has never been invited to see that particular part of my body. If he’s seen it it was an accident. You should know that my pants won’t fit the right way and that I’m most comfortable in compression pants. I can’t workout or do anything physical in regular pants. It is painful and annoying. You should also know that I’m in the process of having a skin removal surgery. There are many hoops to jump through and I’m just beginning that journey. Insurance. Drs. Medical clearance. Scheduling. Days off for my husband to take care of me. The list goes on and on and makes my head ache. Add to that the fact that I’m a diabetic with a family history of heart disease that has had extreme cases of eczema and skin problems my whole life. In fact, before essential oils* I always had a spot somewhere on my body that itched like the devil and was generally an open wound. Having the skin removed is more than cosmetic for me, it’s necessary for me to continue being healthy.

Anyway, back to the Story story. She said, “you’re belly is so beautiful”. And I said, “why would you say that?” She said, “because. I can’t wait until I get a baby in my pocket and I can see my belly once the baby comes out and know I made that baby”.
Keep in mind that “the baby is in her pocket” has always been the explanation about where babies come from and where they are kept while the mom is pregnant. Also that morning we’d been to visit a friend who has a younger child that Story considers a baby even though the child is two years old. I said to Story, “momma doesn’t need that pocket anymore. I’m going to see if the dr can take it off.” Story said, “WHY?!? It’s so beautiful!” I said, “well. I don’t need that anymore. It’s in the way.” She was so distraught and began to ask so many questions. What would happen if God gave me another baby? Why would I want to take my pocket off? Where would another baby live? I said that I wasn’t having any more babies and that I wanted to look normal and feel normal. For hours after she’d touch my stomach and say, “it’s just so beautiful momma….someday I’m going to have a beautiful belly like you.”

Oh my sweet child, how I wish the world were more like you. How I wish you could stay like this and not be tainted by beauty standards and other impossible to reach goals. May you always know the true meaning of beauty.

I just stood there stunned by her attitude. Here was this unabashed child that made no apology for wanting something so ugly simply because it meant God gave her a child to love. I never knew that when she saw me that’s what she thought. She saw what this body has done. The work it’s put in to get three kids here and the sacrifices she knows nothing about but somehow she’s aware of. How wonderful that her desire is to have a hideous midsection because to her it means she’s been blessed with a child. Her attitude stopped me dead in my tracks. I need to change my thought process. I need to be kinder to myself. I need to show some love to this body that I’m in. I take care of myself. I workout. I eat right. I sleep. I rest. But I need to change myself inside. Surgery or no surgery I need to start looking at myself differently. I need to stop myself from measuring my self worth by what number I see on the scale or on my calorie counter app. I need to accept that I am the weight I am and that it’s not my goal weight but that is ok. In truth, it’s better than ok. No, it’s freaking awesome.

All of this is easier said than done though, right? I mean, you don’t just snap your fingers and start thinking positivity and rainbows. That’s unrealistic. So this is me, on a journey to not only be grateful that my body works and functions but that it is beautiful even when I think it isn’t. That is a hard journey. This is a huge task. I need to marinate mentally on how to tackle this task….more on that once I wrap my mind around it.

Let me also state that when I began this process of weight loss I wanted to lose 100 pounds. That was my goal. Every ten pounds my husband made sure I received a frivolous gift. I picked out ten Alexis and Ani bracelets for the 100 pounds. I kept them in boxes in the back of my underwear drawer. I’ve lost and gained the last ten pounds at least ten times in the past year. I fluctuate based on a lot of criteria. On occasion I’d open that drawer too far and see the last bracelet waiting on me inside its box. My failure to get to 100 pounds just sitting there. It’s unworn and this September it will have been there two years. I’ve decided I’m not waiting to wear it anymore.

*if you’re interested in more on essential oils and skin care my contact info is on the home page under “wanna talk?” Feel free to contact me. Taking care of people and teaching them to take care of themselves using natural homeopathic methods is actually my full time job.


4 Comments Add yours

  1. fredakay72 says:

    Joy, you are beautiful inside and out!! Psalm 139:14. Love you!!


    1. honestjoy says:

      Aww. Thanks Freda. 💜


  2. Sharon says:

    If everyone could see the world through Story’s eyes. It would be a much kinder and better place. Enjoyed your writing. You have a talent ?for writing. Having Just one conversation of any length. I can understand why Robyn enjoys your friendship so much. For health reasons glad you are having it done. It will be okay. For being a lovely person , you don’t need it at all. God Bless


    1. honestjoy says:

      Thanks Sharon. I’m glad Robyn and I connected even though it’s been years since high school.
      Maybe the world wasn’t ready for us in the 90’S.


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