Body Love: I Bared my Midriff in Public
Saturday evening, I was going through my normal routine getting ready to go out to a holiday party: trying on nearly every combination of skirts, shirts, dresses and heels in my closet and then discarding them on the floor until my bedroom looked like a department store fitting room on Black Friday. I was having a bit of a war in my brain—the angel on my shoulder was saying, “your body is amazing and beautiful and healthy and strong!” while the devil on my other shoulder berated me for honoring my body’s recovery from a sinus infection that week and skipping a few days of workouts.
Then I grabbed “the” shirt from the closet. You know the one: the "skinny" shirt. The one that you will rock with confidence when you lose x amount of pounds. For some people it is a dress or a pair of pants, but for me it is a shirt because I always considered my belly to be my “problem” area. It is a slight midriff-baring, curve-hugging number from one of my favorite designers (Alice+Olivia) in a bright, vibrant shade of blue. In other words… it stands out.
I put on the shirt with a high-waisted (faux) leather pencil skirt and considered myself in the mirror. Right then and there, I knew that I had a choice:
I could embrace my body and my love for the shirt from the moment I laid eyes on it. I could put it on and honor my desire to be bold and feel sexy and confident.
Or, I could put the shirt back in the closet, telling myself I am not "skinny" enough, choosing fear over authenticity. I could throw on my go-to black jumpsuit and let the shirt hang there for another couple of years until I give up on it and sell it to a thrift store.
This time, for the first time in my life, I chose option one. I wore the freaking shirt.
I actually went out to a hip L.A. restaurant with a bit of my midriff exposed. And aside from the initial first few steps into the restaurant, it was not scary at all.
Later that evening I was recounting the drama of my outfit to a colleague at the event, and telling her about how it was time for me to start really owning the body-love that I have been preaching, and she said something really true:
“So often we wear something that totally freaks us out and we think that it is going to be so out-there that everyone will be staring at us, but in fact no one notices.”
NO ONE NOTICES.
It is so true.
So many people complimented me on the shirt that night, telling me that the bold blue brought out the color of my eyes. NO ONE commented on my exposed belly.
And now I feel like I have the confidence to wear what I like and dress the way that I want more often… because boldness inspires boldness. And because I have nothing to hide and no one to answer to.
And you know what I did after the party to celebrate my boldness?
I went to my favorite Italian spot and had pasta and wine. In my skinny shirt. With my midriff exposed.
I know that this story will bring up lots of thoughts like “that’s good for you, but I could never…”
If that is where you are right now, I just want to remind you that you have been gifted with one body to carry you through this life. And the way that our bodies work is a miracle. The way that they persist despite what we put them through is a miracle. And every day we wake up with a choice: we can either choose to feel good or to beat ourselves up.
We can choose to be grateful for our bodies and to celebrate and adorn them because of all that they do for us, or we can choose to “punish” our bodies with restrictive diets, over-exercising, bingeing, and hiding them away from the world.
But consider this: you don’t deserve that.
Your body doesn’t deserve that.
It deserves to be nourished and cherished and celebrated. It is your vessel for serving the world. So deck it out in leather and lace, bright colors, bold outfits, red lipstick, or whatever makes you feel good. Because that is what you deserve.