What is it about my belly?

I’ve been (probably over) thinking about my body dissatisfaction.

So here’s the thing: I have to admit that I have thought to myself if only I had a flatter stomach I could live with the rest of my body. Sure I have a big booty, but I can live with that. But if my stomach was flat, and my waist smaller, then I’d be ok.  

When I really spent time thinking about it, I recognized the feeling that maybe my belly fat is protecting me. I have created a protective layer between my vulnerable abdomen – and all that lives there – and the world. This makes sense on a couple of significant levels. 

First, my abdomen was literally cut open nearly a year ago. I had a healthy kidney removed from my body and placed into my sister’s body. [See Frankenbelly below:]


And that got me wondering, what is it about my belly?  Why is that the specific focus of my dissatisfaction? What is it that a few extra inches around my hips doesn’t do, but a few extra around my mid-section does?



I imagine it takes a while to fully recover from organ donation, perhaps even longer than the doctors would have you believe. I feel recovered, but every once in a while I stretch too much and something pops deep inside – something let’s go. Scar tissue? Old habits? False perceptions?  

However, I was wondering if there was more to it, this physical protection of my vulnerable core. I began looking into the symbology of the belly. In Women Who Run With the Wolves, Clarissa Pinkola Estes writes, “Angst about the body robs a woman in some large share of her creative life and her attention to other things.” This is particularly interesting when you consider that the belly is also the location of the second chakra. Your body is known to have seven chakras – each one is a center of spiritual power within our bodies.

According to the  Chopra Center, the second chakra “is associated with creativity and birth―both literally to a new baby but also metaphorically to new aspects of ourselves, projects and ideas…[W]hen this chakra becomes congested, we may experience a block in our creative powers and a sense of dryness or emptiness.”  It is not surprising then, with the amount of change I have recently gone through, that I may be protective of that tender, vulnerable part of myself. 

Now that I am on the other side of my mother’s prolonged illness and death at age 61 from severe early onset dementia; the breakdown and eventual end of a long-term, emotionally abusive marriage; the successful life-saving kidney donation to my sister; as well as positive changes – like a new, healthy romantic relationship – is it time to release myself from such real, physical, tangible protection of my vital organs? 


I also read that the second chakra governs one’s sense of self-worth. This really resonated with me, since I am clearly struggling with my sense of self and perceived worthiness.  Who am I, really? What good am I entitled to, and how can I manifest good things in my life? What do I really want and do I feel I deserve it? Can I accept the possibility that what I want is within reach? When will I release old beliefs that are holding me back? Can I let them go? 

These are the questions I am contemplating as I move forward with this deep introspection and move toward fierce and radical self-acceptance. I believe that when I am really ready, really feeling safe and secure, the protective layer of adipose tissue will let go, dissolve away. Or maybe it won’t and I won’t care anymore, because I will know and value who I am, deep down, below the outer shell that covers me, but isn’t me, just as the thick paint strokes of a Van Gogh or Monet only serve to add depth, interest, and tangible character to a larger work of art.

Protectively,
Jessica

Current fabubellyness. 



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