Tight Sweaters: Navel Attire
If you were at discussion yesterday, you know that while in Madison, WI, I went to an amazing concert, a great bookstore, and bought a lovely book entitled The Bigger the Better the Tighter the Sweater and I have loved it so far. The concept is simple – women writing hilarious essays about the ridiculous things their bodies do (and don’t do). The point is not to cure you of your insecurities but to help you realize you are not alone, and hopefully make you feel happy your life is not quite as ridiculous as these women’s. I have decided to post a few of my favorite snippets of hilarity and solidarity here, as sort of a running thing, with occasional quotes, summaries and musings.
The story I want to talk about today is called “Navel Attire” by Jennifer D. Munro and is, predictably, about a woman getting her belly button pierced on a lark, for no particular reason, other than to show her sister she can be a bit wild. A comment from the woman doing the piercing about how they both have larger bodies brings up reflections about her body – a funny quote:
You have to understand. If I were naked in a dark room you could find me every time by the telltale glow of my luminous round belly, shining white like a full moon … Kind lovers have told me I have an hourglass figure, and, it’s true, my ass is up to the task of balancing out my belly.
She then thinks about the scar her belly button bears from her first child, and she considers it a symbol of shame and failure to birthe a child properly. When the piercing is finished, she is “awestruck by [the] beauty” which decorates her scar.
My belly, my shame, becomes a lovely thing, adorned as if worthy. I stare in the mirror whenever possible at my sexy, sensuous stomach. I think about the the beauty of the word belly. Violins have bellies, smooth, round, and strokeable.
Through this ability to see her blemish as a beautiful decoration and something intrinsically part of her, she is empowered and able to be more intimate and confident with others in her life. The difference in her writing, in the way she compares herself to a beautiful, finely crafted instrument that many admire is completely different from a grudging hourglass.
It’s amazing to think that a small action like piercing a body part can have so much effect on a person’s body image and personal life as a result. Have you ever had one of those “aha” moments where you realize something about you really is beautiful? How did that happen?