I’m sitting here in my stretchy Walmart-worthy yoga pants and reveling in the Alone-ness. Buttercup is asleep, The Husband isn’t home from work yet, and the dogs aren’t very reliable witnesses. So I take a deep breath, and as I exhale, I smile as I mentally turn off the auto-suck.

You know what I’m talking about, ladies. Unless you’re Kate Moss, there’s a high probability you’ve got a belly pooch even if no one else thinks you’ve got a belly pooch and gets all pissed off and offended when you insist that you do because my left thigh is bigger than all of you so you turn off the auto-suck and at the same moment I do, too, and then we both marvel at the fact that we might not be able to rock a bikini but damn we have strong abdominal muscles if we can hold that in all day.

Spanx are not involved. Auto-suck is simply the ability to train yourself to breathe in such a way that your diaphragm moves up and down instead of in and out while performing what has to be the single longest standing crunch in the history of mankind. The upside is that when you pee you don’t have to worry about painting yourself back into the sausage casing that is a pair of Spanx because that convenient crotch hole they designed is not convenient at all. The downside is that Spanx aren’t affected by too much wine, resulting in a You’ve Had Too Much to Drink Obviously Because You’re Pooching Out So Give Me the Keys rule initiated by The Husband, who happens to be a fucking genius. I never told him about the auto-suck. He just figured it out all by himself. And he still asked me to marry him.

Pretty snazzy.

So was the expression on one of the maternity ward nurses as I was waiting to be emergency induced almost five years ago when The Husband, who was bored, asked me to show her my mad abdominal skills to pass the time. I prepared much like a weightlifter getting ready to dead-lift something ridiculously heavy by closing my eyes, taking a deep breath, and focusing on my goal. Then I simply auto-sucked my 36-week pregnant belly into myself before gently letting my bump take up the three feet in front of me it had been before my little trick.

“Did you see this?” the nurse asked a co-worker who came in to join to prep for my delivery. “Do it again.”

So I did. And The Husband and I laughed as both nurses stared in amazement and gushed about how I’d probably push the baby out on the first try with abs like these. And yes, they were wrong, which totally sucked.

My recovery time involved peeing out about 15 pounds of water retention and then getting pissed off when I realized I was going to have to work to lose the rest while consoling myself with something dipped in chocolate. Not once did I consider lacing up my running shoes and winning a marathon six-weeks postpartum like this mom did. Yay for her and her obvious lack of need for the auto-suck. I’m cheering for her, really I am. I’m also thinking it’s over-achievers like her that make the rest of us look bad and calling her names which I know is evil and spiteful so I take a deep breath, close my eyes, and free the belly I subconsciously sucked in while reading the article about Marathon Mom.

Good for her. Now where’s the chocolate?

 

It's socially acceptable for me to joke about this now...

 

*Ya know how I tend to gravitate towards list-style blog posts when my mind goes blank?

*There’s totally a reason for that, but first let me tell you…

*That I stood on a scale backwards on Friday.

*Not mine. The doctor’s. And I told the nurse not to tell me what it said.

*She was too confused to bother asking me why.

*I don’t need the scale to tell me that I’m hormonal and in need of chocolate right now.

*So really, it’s all for the best.

*Mainly because More Chocolate is totally not the answer.

*What do you mean, there was no question? Don’t confuse the issue.

*I can do that perfectly well on my own. The naturopath I’m seeing now told me so.

*See, I went in with my notes and my story about being stiffed with the shallow end of the genetic gene pool, fully expecting him to nod his head, confirm my allergy suspicions, and tell me that all of my problems would be solved if I only drank water and avoided anything that actually tastes good.

*But before the allergy tests comes blood work and then another appointment to discuss the results from the lab. Oh, and it turns out that in the 60 minutes I’ve been talking with Dr. Naturopath, I’ve looked at my phone to check twitter or respond to an email no less than 15 times. Dr. Naturopath told me so before asking me if I always talk this fast and if The Husband is always accusing me of doing things the hard way and do I like coffee?

*Um, yes, yes, and yes. But how did you know that The Husband is an asshole and no I don’t drink it because it’s pointless when the caffeine doesn’t affect me, Dr…So um, what’s your point?

*I believe you have ADHD, says Dr. Naturopath. But I won’t know for sure until you’ve tried the medications for a few days.

*Shut the front door, says I.

*I really want to look at my phone again.

*I twist my wedding finger hard enough to bust a blood vessel instead.

*Dr. Naturopath explains to The Husband all of the reasons he suspects I’m now allowed to use ADHD as a punchline with little revelations like my tendency to burn eggs while trying to boil them because I suddenly remember that the garbage needs to be taken out At This Very Moment and while coming back to the kitchen notice The Laundry Basket Full of Clothes Still Needs to Be Put Away Upstairs so I carry the basket up and set it at the end of our bed with every intention to follow through but first I Forgot to Respond to that Email and Oh Look It’s My Turn on Draw Something and HOLY SHIT WHY DOES MY HOUSE SMELL LIKE BURNING EGGS?

*The Husband nods knowingly.

*I stare at both of them trying to figure out how Dr. Naturopath just read my mind. And also how I get a retroactive pass on all the times I used ADHD references in social situations as a punchline because I didn’t wake up like this yesterday. In fact, it’s all starting to make sense and…

*Oh look, a Squirrel carrying Something Shiny…

*What did you need again?

Mar 122012
 

The Husband has been uncharacteristically quiet lately. Not in typical, every day conversation, mind you. He’s got plenty to say when Buttercup asks him to pretend he’s five of her princess dolls at the same time. And we’re managing to keep the texting each other from across the table to the times we are paying someone else to make our dinner, so, you know, the face-to-face thing is still good. And when he’s talking on the phone he has this crazy annoying habit of pacing the entire length of the house because, apparently, it’s physically impossible to sit still while unconsciously raising the volume of his voice loud enough that we never actually have to tell the neighbors we are going on vacation and need to collect our mail for us.

For those who are acquainted with The Husband, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about when I say that it’s kind of unnerving. I said “I Do” with the full understanding that I was becoming Mrs. My God, You Can’t Help Being An Asshole, Can You? And by Asshole, I totally mean Honest to a Fault. And that fault is named San Andreas.

The time I spent sixty bucks and half the day at a salon getting my kinky curls straightened into gloriously shiny and straight tresses for a family wedding?

He said: Looks good. Don’t do it again. Translation? I love your frizzy curls even if you don’t.

My response as I stood on tiptoe to kiss him? You are such an asshole. Translation? You are such an asshole.

Or the time I was pregnant and was crying about the size of my ass  and my freakishly short legs and said something about how I wished the baby would inherit his genes?

He said: Yeah, I do too. Translation: Oh shit. That’s totally not what I meant. Except for the freakishly short legs thing. That? I meant.

My response as I tried not to fall down laughing: You are such an asshole. Translation? You are such an asshole.

And the time I was being sewn up by the hottest resident not cast in a television hospital drama because giving birth isn’t exactly a fucking picnic and my little baby was snuggled up on my chest?

He said: She really ripped you a new one, didn’t she? Translation: It would have been physically impossible for me not to say that out loud.

My response as I glared at him for the first time during the entire birthing process: You are such an…

Oh never mind. We all know where this is going.

The point is, he was born with a broken filter and prides himself on it. It’s one of the things I love about him that drives me absolutely insane at the same time. So I guess I was a little surprised when I realized that he has yet to comment on my recent (read: since Christmas) lack of OCD-like strict avoidance of processed foods and that brief love affair I had the with elliptical. At least until I was brainstorming writing ideas out loud and mentioned how I’ve realized the scale can call me a fatass one time and it blows my entire routine and reason for living out of the water and drives me straight into the nearest source of sugar-laden guilt covered in chocolate. So, I said, what if I avoided the scale? What if I told society (and my own) obsession with The Number to fuck the hell off and instead focused on how eating right and being active is just plain old Good For Me and Makes Me Feel Good? What if I just trusted how I feel instead of what the scale makes me feel?

And then, because I was just thinking out loud and had a billion ideas in my head that were spilling out at the same time, I skipped right on to the next Thing In My Head. He listened. I threw more out and then he listened some more. And when I was finally done Not Thinking Silently, The Husband stopped being quiet.

He told me how I base my entire self-worth on what the scale says and the rising of the very sun depends on it not pissing me off and making me cry. He said that I can go months and months with respectable losses that keep me motivated enough to keep going and then the One Time I weigh myself and the scale politely asks me why I want to know what the average weight of a newborn baby hippo is, I give up instantaneously and then go months and months before deciding to repeat the whole cycle again.

Then, he told me to take the batteries out of the scale.

Why? I asked.

He said: Because even if no one reads whatever it is you turn this into, you need to learn that you are not a number and stop this professional yo-yo bullshit.  Translation: I love you.

My response as I stood on tip toe to kiss him: You are such an asshole. Translation: I love you, too.

And we put the scale away.

 

It’s been about a month since I went all My Life Sucks and Let Me Prove That Crazy Creative People theory, so I figured it was time for an update. Because asterisks make me happy, this one’s going down List-Style, y’all.

* If black is the new brown, then anti-depressants are the new happy. And Siri has been a very good girl when it comes to reminding me to pop the happy every morning, especially when I get cocky and think my brain will manufacture visions of unicorns and rainbows without the pills.

*Of course I’m not seeing unicorns and rainbows because of the pills, you dumbass. It’s not that kind of drug. I was simply illustrating the point that seeing a unicorn would make me as happy as taking the medication does. Probably happier, if I really stop to think about it.

*Dammit. Now I just want a unicorn.

* But since I’m pretty certain I won’t be seeing a real live and in the flesh unicorn anytime soon I’m settling for the pharmaceutical definition of happy. Copay? $5.

*Insurance is a beautiful thing.

*Also? About that Calling You a Dumbass thing? You’re welcome. I ignore the people I don’t like. I save terms of endearment for the special people in my life.

*Of course that means you. And you…And…wait. No. I’m ignoring you. Everyone else here is cool.

* Humor is a wonderful coping mechanism, isn’t it?

* Yes, I’m still a certifiable mess. But these rose-colored glasses are kind of making everything look a bit pretty, so I’m taking things slow in the Getting Back on the Wagon department.

* Forget the counting of calories, the number on the scale, or labeling of Good versus Bad for the foods I am consuming. Instead I’m focusing on how I feel and taking note of an acknowledging the setbacks as well as the steps in the right direction.

* How I feel is also a factor in deciding to take the plunge and make an appointment with a local naturopath because traditional doctors either don’t want to listen to me when I tell them the tests stating I’m normal are all lying, or they want to help and just don’t know what to do with me. I don’t know how to describe it other than telling you that I am certain there are autoimmune issues and possibly serious allergy issues that need to be addressed. Like, yesterday.

* How do I know this? Because one day about six months ago I woke up to find out my Mexifro had decided to give up the cute curly look and instead opt for the Detroit Crack Whore look. I can say this because I’m from Detroit, so that makes me an expert. The soft kinky curls morphed into straight, flyaway pieces of straw and it was breaking off at my neck but the new growth was fine. Which made me realize that…

* That fluke thing that happened to me when Buttercup was a baby that lasted for six months and then suddenly went away and I woke up with normal hair and a smile wasn’t a fluke thing. Still, my doctors think I’m crazy. And I think most of them are assholes.

* It’s kind of a stalemate.

* Of course, me cutting off all my hair with the scissors in the junk drawer just because I suddenly thought it might be a great idea but mainly because I had so much break off it was either that or a wig might give some credence to the doctors’ argument, especially if you focus on the Suddenly Great Idea and Scissors part, but since I don’t have paparazzi hanging out in my garbage cans and my name isn’t Britney Spears, I’m totally fine with that.

 

 

Kinky hair
Olive skin
Big brown eyes
Full set of lips

Mascara? No thank you.
Tweezers? Yes, please.
Eyebrows getting crazy
Lady-stash? Pluck off.

Crooked smile
Baby teeth
Double D’s
Holy hips

Hour glass curves softened by motherhood
Body image altered
Cellulite
Muffin top

Doesn’t matter what I see
What matters is
How she sees I see me

Celebrate the kinky curls
The crooked smile
The lady-stash tweezers

Love the comfort of my soft curves
Make way for me (and my hips)
Cuz I’m coming
into the me that was always there

Hidden beneath myself
Insecurities
I find the me
Born this way

***

I wrote and published this poem on Aspiring Mama just around this time last year. I thought now was a good time to remind myself of what I saw then. I hope you are reminded of something beautiful when you glance at your own reflection, as well. Our daughters are counting on it.

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