An Ode to My Muffin Top

For years, when the puff-out above my waistband caught my eye,
My body would sink, pulled down by repugnant gravity.
Disappointed, I'd roll my eyes and think, "You again?"
And the mean, old bitch in my head would begin ticking off her list:
You're still eating too much
If you exercised enough, this wouldn't be a problem
You'll never fit into your skinny jeans again
You failed at keeping the weight off.

But today, I ran my hands from my breasts to my belly
Down over your protruding warmth,
And I've decided I owe you an apology.

I'm sorry I haven't ever touched you with care
I'm sorry I never recognized your beauty
I'm sorry I didn't try to see your neutrality
in the war I wage on my body.

I could tell you all the reasons
I have treated you dismissively
Or how it was just easier
To pretend you hated me
And wanted to make my life harder.

But the truth is that it never occurred to me
that you needed to be loved.

I never noticed how soft you are under the press of my fingers.
Nor how comfortably the heads of my nieces rest upon your squishy edges
as I read them books or tell them stories.
I have ignored the way my lover reaches for you at night, before we are asleep.
I didn't consult you before I had a an art-deco version of me
in naked, corpulent splendor, tattooed across you on my left side.
(to remind me I have always been beautiful)
Yet you provided a perfectly smooth, flawless canvas for the artwork anyway.

I didn't know that you could teach me about loving no matter what
I didn't think you had anything to tell me about acceptance
I didn't know you would whisper back,
"You are wonderful, just exactly the way you are.
Right now."

I didn't know that when you spoke, your voice would echo in a male timbre
I didn't know that you would sound like my long-estranged father,
Only warm and kind and sweet.

©2010, Mandie Stout. All rights reserved. May not be reprinted without express permission by author.

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A World Without Shame

What possibilities would emerge
What healing could occur
If women stopped feeling shame
Shame for having appetite
Shame for having a body
never good enough
to satisfy an
Shame for feeling

Shame is removed from
life's equation
when each and every woman
chooses to defy status quo
Chooses to break out of
the box
Acceptable Woman
Good Girl
Chooses to remain vigil
in fighting off
the internal voice that says
No matter what

Shame leaves the dance floor
when women stop seeking
praise from others
For praise from others
never lasts
and does nothing
to feed the soul

Imagine the world if women
committed to living through
Soul Expression
Gave to the world
our unique gifts
and allowed our beauty to shine
from our hearts
from Essence

Soul expression
It starts with a
change in perception

Look at your fat
your cellulite
your sagging breasts
your wrinkles and scars
your thighs
and butt
your belly
Look at your female body
and see your soul
Be gentle
See life
Human beauty
in a life lived
See beauty

Ask yourself,
What is my true purpose
on this planet?
How am I unique?
What is my dance?
Is it my desire
to be an object of perfection
at which people stare?
Or shall I participate
in my life?
Be a subject
An active contributor
to the world around me

I do not believe
we were put on earth
to whip ourselves
for our imperfections
I do not believe that
beating ourselves up is
part of the
Divine Plan
Use your time wisely,
because life
passes quickly
See your beauty now
for as the years go by
you will look back
and say
God, wasn't I beautiful-then!
Too bad at the time
you labeled yourself

Life's precious moments
wasted on self hatred

I take the challenge
to try new things
even though
I fear humiliation

I will dance
I will sing
I will write and
create art
I will tell MY truth

I choose to NOT
pick up the arrows
slung at me and
stab them into my heart
I choose to leave them
at my feet
I will use courage
to walk away
In a different direction
Towards myself
Towards my heart
I choose love

©2002, Connie Sobczak

All rights reserved. This poem may be reprinted with permission from Connie Sobczak.


a "wife" and a husband

"My thighs are fat."
Your thighs wrapped around me when we conceived our son.
"My thighs are disgusting."
Your thighs make the lap where you hold our son to feed from your
breast, and where I lay my head in rest.
"I hate my thighs."
I love you... entirely.