Remember that time you went bathing suit shopping and the lighting in the dressing room was amazing, and every suit you tried on made you feel like Princess Ariel's hotter mermaid sister? Me fucking neither. At least not recently. Before you start rolling your eyes at me, stop. I'm entitled to irrational moments wondering where my 21-year-old body went just as much as the next person. And for every day I've looked in the mirror and wondered why my husband hasn’t shipped me off to a bell tower yet, I've also had a day I saw my reflection and thought, "Dang, beauty! Beast sure out kicked his coverage." I'm human. This story isn't about one of those beauty moments though. This is about one of those moments when I feel like I'm still in my twenties and I wonder whose quasi aging skin sack has taken over my body. And what THEE FUCK did she do to my ass!?
Two months ago, I started going back to the gym after a 3-year sabbatical. I even started eating better. I've told people I'm doing the Whole30 diet but really, I'm doing more of a Half15. Cause wine. And cheese. And fuck your rules, I'll do what I want. (Not really. I'm just hangry right now.) Despite my flexible dieting I've been feeling confident about my body getting stronger and healthier, inside and out. So, when I realized it was going to be May soon because of a Justin Timberlake meme, I got excited to bathing-suit shop.
Fast forward to me at the mall. There I was. Standing nearly naked in front of a full length, three-way mirror in a dimly lit dressing room with bad overhead lighting. I had turned around to see how my ass looked and was met with two deflated butt-cheeks melting down the back of my thighs. "What the fuck!?" I couldn't believe what I was looking at. "That's not my ass. These bathing suit bottoms are shit." I quickly moved on to the next suit. A red one-piece that I imagined myself looking Baywatch AF in. Nope. Nope, nope, nope. (Nope.) Next one piece. Disaster. I started wondering if all one pieces were thongs now? That had to be it. I summoned an employee to assist me.
"Hi. Did you need help with something?" I opened the dressing room door with a shirt wrapped around my waste.
"Yes. So, I'm wearing a medium-long and it's too small. It keeps going straight up my butt. I guess that’s the thing now?
"Really? You don't look like you're that tall. And this looks like it’s fine up top. Do you maybe have a bigger butt," she asked me with a 'yas girl' grin on her face.
"Uh. Maybe. That must be the problem. Never mind then. Thanks." I shut the door.
"Ok. Let me know if you need help with anything else."
I didn't need help with anything else. I knew what the problem was, and it wasn't a big ass. It was a looong ass. When did this happen? Why did this happen? What did I do to deserve this? I was immediately furious at my husband. How could that dickhead not tell me my ass looked like it had a leaf blower pointed at it, PERMENANTLY!? No "blowies" for him for at least a month.
Shoulders hunched and feeling betrayed by my own body, I shuffled out of the store and made my way back home. After I gave my husband an undeserved earful about how terrible he was for not telling me my ass was disgusting and I needed to hit the gym, I listened to him give me an earful. And basically, he made me realize it wasn't the droopy butt on the outside that was disgusting, but the droopy butt I was being on the inside that was. I mean, Ariel was a fish. The Hunchback of Notre Dame was a hunchback. And beauty and the beast, do I really need to say it? All fairytales, yes, but also stories that remind us that what matters most is love and acceptance. I'm not talking just from others either. I'm talking love and acceptance for our fucking selves. So what, my ass needed work. "That was no reason to go spiraling into an 'I'm repulsive, no blow jobs, bathing suit boycott' black hole," according to my husband. And he was right. The booty can be worked on, but the shitty way I talk to myself and feel about myself will linger.
Fast forward to me in front of my computer. Here I am. A 34-year-old woman. A writer. A mother. A wife. But least of all, my aging ass. I'll do squats another day. Today, a little of what I love and whole lot of laughing at (accepting) myself. And a little wine. And cheese. And a "yas girl" grin on my face.