One day, you are going to get fat. Even if you’re one of those perfectly genetically engineered anomalies with perpetually skinny knees, you better believe that one day the backs of those pretty little knees are going to start looking like cottage cheese that’s been squeezed through a stocking. This is not a threat; this is a step towards body acceptance. There is nothing wrong with a bit of fat.
I’ve got to a weird age where I’m still young enough to go to the kinds of bars girls in their early 20s go to, but old enough to find these bars far too loud. I’m also old enough that I feel nostalgic about being 21, having perfectly smooth skin, tiny little legs and a flat belly no matter how much beer I drank and 3am McDonald’s I ate. Those were easy days. When I was younger, I never attributed the ease with which skinny came to me as something that was entirely based on my age.
I distinctly remember one of my dad’s friends (a fitness fanatic) chastising me one day for always eating so recklessly. “One day your metabolism is going to slow down,” he said. “Just wait until you hit 25.”
25 came and went without much difference, but as I inched closer to 30, I started to see changes in my body, despite adding extra exercise to my routine and dropping the junk food. My hips widened, naturally, to let a baby through. My body began retaining fat where previously there has been none — specifically, on my tummy, butt, hips and thighs, also presumably for said phantom baby. My tits grew too, but who’s complaining about that, really? (Not the baby!). No seriously, my body is saying, someone put a damn baby in me.
I’m not going to lie. I was upset at first. Here I’d always had this cute, tight little body that I put minimal effort into maintaining, and now I was decidedly rounder with dimpled skin, despite a healthy, conscientious diet and regular exercise. It sounds like a stupid thing to get upset about, doesn’t it? In the end, that’s what made me accept my new body — but it’s still an interesting transition to go through, having always looked one way, and then, in what feels like an overnight transformation, looking another way almost entirely.
Finding peace with my new shape had a lot to do with the miraculousness of it — the way I could literally see my body preparing itself to be impregnated. I think it’s fascinating that no matter how we evolve culturally or technologically, the female body still moves in these primordial ways. It’s special and it’s utterly delightful, and if you think any differently then congratulations, you have been successfully brainwashed by the popular media.
The changes that have happened in my body since I’ve become older are beautiful. Sure, I had to buy bigger jeans when I couldn’t afford to, but at least I could look at my credit card and say, “What, did you want me to go pantsless into the street did you?” A lot of being OK with the way your body appears is realizing how little it matters, and how unrealistic the perceptions of “perfect” around you are. For instance, I think pot bellies are perfect. I think hairy vaginas are perfect. I think muffin top is perfect and thighs that you can grab from underneath to make jiggle from side to side like Homer Simpson’s gunt on a treadmill are perfect.
We change on the outside just like we change on the inside, as we grow older and the events of our lives shape us. It’s all part of an important evolution of becoming — and what’s more important than fitting into a size 4 pair of jeans, is learning to love the development of nature, and the constant morphing of both your physical and mental states. Because once you’ve learned to accept this new brand of perfection — the one with stretch marks and spider veins and the emergence of tiny little lines here and there — then you’ll really be able to have your cake and very literally eat it too.