Her: “Kristeeeen! My friend!”
Me: “Hey! What’s up?” -smiles-
Her: “Come here! Let me give you a hug!”
I feel reluctant and instantly tense up…
And I know what’s about to come.
Her: “You gainin’ weight.”
Me: “Yes. Yes I am.” -smiles-
Her: “It’s okay, though.”
Me: “Yea, well, since you say it’s okay…”
Her: “I still love you.”
Me: “Ha. Really.”
Her: “Yea. You’re just thick now!”
Me: “I was thick before.” -smiles-
-another girl chimes in- “Seriously. I wish I had your hips. I have no hips at all.”
Me: “I like my hips. So, thanks.”
Her: “It’s okay!”
Me: “I know it’s okay. I’m not upset about it. I just can’t believe you said that to me. Why in the hell would you think that’s okay to say? I birthed a baby. A child came out of my body and you’re going to comment on my weight.”
Her: “Kristeeeen! I don’t mean it like that! You know I’m just gonna tell you my opinion. That’s why you love me!”
Me: “Yes, but I didn’t ask for your opinion. And if you weren’t drunk right now, you and I would have a very big problem.”
Her: “Ughhhh. I didn’t mean it like that. Y’all, tell her I didn’t mean it like that!”
That’s just a sample from a conversation I had a few nights ago as I left a restaurant and headed to my car. I was shocked at first, and immediately thought to be offended when the weight remark came. Then I decided I didn’t care. It’s no secret that I’ve gained weight, and I’ve gained weight since I had O. The thing that’s changed, aside from my body, is my mindset. I will not be defined by my weight.
I have new stretchmarks, that have little to do with carrying O and more to do with what happens when you have more time to sit still at home with an appetite that comes with breastfeeding. I also have a few more rolls. A bit of a double, if not triple chin depending on how my head is tilted. I jiggle a little more all over, and I’m sure I’ve mentioned just how loose my belly is in a previous post. If that’s hard to understand, think of an athlete keeping his or her appetite after he or she no longer plays. Sometimes your body just soaks it all up. Sometimes breastfeeding doesn’t make you lose weight.
And who the hell cares? I didn’t decide to breastfeed my kid in the hopes of losing weight. I decided to breastfeed my kid in the hopes that he’d put on a healthy weight, have a great immune system, and be healthier. I knew there was a chance weight could be lost, and if that happened, then it’d be a nice bonus. But it didn’t. So… so what?
To focus back on that conversation, it was started by a friend who is, indeed, very outspoken. I am too. I can appreciate an outspoken, opinionated individual.
However, I think there’s a fine line between those two amazing qualities. And on the other side of that line is rudeness.
Most of the time, it takes a lot to offend me. Sometimes, it takes very little. I don’t know if I’ve ever been called flat out fat to myself. If I have, then I don’t remember. I have had people mention my curves or call me thick. I’ve had people mention my bones and call me skinny.
But what bothered me most about that night was the fact that I felt the need to suck my stomach in before my friend walked up. And I’m almost ashamed to admit that. I’m 28 years old. I’d say about 18 of those years I’ve been sucking in. It’s a knee jerk reaction. A habit. And it’s something I’ll keep doing even after I type this. My definition of sucking in may be different than others. I’ve always sort of “tensed” my stomach. I don’t actually “suck” it in to the point of having a hard time breathing… if that makes sense. But yes, I do like to achieve the look of having my stomach appear a little smoother than it really is when I’m wearing certain outfits. So, I tense it from time to time.
That night I really sucked in, though. And I’m a bit embarrassed by it. I’m embarrassed because I felt the need to. That I have allowed myself to be friends with someone who makes me feel as though I need to suck in. I hate I didn’t have to confidence, if even for a split second, to let my belly hang. I hate how I felt when I knew I was about to suck in, then when I did suck in, and then how I felt immediately after.
I felt like I’d betrayed my beliefs. The beliefs I have on this blog, the beliefs I share with my friends. The world I’m trying to build and create for my kid(s). But that can’t be true, can it? After all, I’m a pretty open person. I’ve never made it a secret that I have struggles. That I lack confidence in some areas. So why the embarrassment? Why make the situation any more difficult for myself?
I’m not sure. I guess this is what it means to grow. I guess this is what it means to change.
Confidence isn’t born over night. Neither is strength, or bravery. Not even cowardice. Many things are not like light switches. It takes time to get from the point you are at, to the point you’re headed to. And I think that’s where I am right now.
I’m very close to the point I’m headed to. I’m very confident and I’m close to the level of confidence I’m striving for. I know I will get there.
It’s important to remember the struggles necessary to get us to the goals we hope to achieve. It’s okay that I sucked in. It’s okay that I felt embarrassed of myself. It’s okay that I was angry with myself. It’s okay that I wanted to feel pain at her words, and it’s okay that I decided I didn’t. Because the most important thing is to learn from all of this. Soak it up and mold it into what I want it to become.
Strength. Power. Courage. Bravery. Femininity. Happiness. Selflessness. Confidence.
So I’ve put on some pounds.
I think I gained a lot more from that encounter than she did.
(Note: The picture for this post is a closeup of my face. That’s only because I have no recent pictures of only myself; not because I’m embarrassed to post a full body pic. Most of my pictures contain baby O, and trust me, y’all don’t want me taking a close up tonight just for this post. 😉 )