I tried to buy a bra today. God knows why, as I am perfectly aware trying to buy a bra invariably kicks me into the Slough of Despond and then pushes me in deeper with a broom-handle.

I was standing, naked from the waist up, in a cubicle, with mirrors on every damn side. It is hard not to observe one’s bulges curves under the circumstances. In a spirit of good-will and great cheer, I began the observation by reminding myself I had lost more weight, yes, and was about half a stone away from IVF weight now, I am so very good and clever, and so I should be looking noticeably slimmer. And I was. Am. Really. I look noticeably slimmer, noticeably even to sour-puss Bitter McTwisted ol’ me. (Also, now, none of my trousers or belts fit properly).

But, arse and bugger and damn, I do not look good. I have stretchmarks on the backs of my arms, fer Chrissakes. I have a belly like over-risen dough. And muffin-top. I still cannot force my hearty peasant calves into knee-high boots (I cannot wear wide-fitting knee-high boots because I have skinny feet and ankles. Why, yes, I do look like I stand on pig-trotters. It’s a fab look, dontcherknow). My breasts, which are DD, are sliding veerrrryy slooowwwwwly down my ribs, and to my peeved and jaundiced eye, no longer look in the least bit cute or interesting, at least, not without the aid of a Very Good Bra Indeed. We shall not discuss the thighs. I did not take my trousers off. I was trying on bras, also, I have some sense of self-preservation left. I look, in short, like a collapsing soufflé. I hate it.

I hate that even all the weight-loss in the world won’t make me perky again. I hate that the stretch-marks are permanent. I hate that even if I do get all the way down to a dainty BMI of 25 or something, I will never have a flat stomach. I will have loose skin. I’ve been too fat, too long, and anyway, the scars on my belly have rather interfered with the way my skin arranges itself.

(I could add a very self-pitying and snivelling paragraph here about how most women who look like me, look like me because they’ve had at least one kid, and if I had a kid, I’d wear the sag and flab and scar with, if not pride, exactly, then at least with the resignation of someone who knows that there was a point to it all, even if said point is currently eating his own ear-wax in the middle of the super-market aisle. But I shan’t add such a paragraph because I never never snivel. What, never? No never! What, never!? Well, hardly ever).

Coupled with the infertility thang, it all gains enough momentum to feel like a smash in the teeth. I can’t like my body for nurturing or feeding another human, because it bloody hasn’t and seemingly won’t. I can’t like it for giving me an easy ride through life because it prefers to hurt me or go wrong in complicated surgical ways. I can’t admire it for its ornamental properties because appears to be made out of suet. What the hell am I supposed to do with it? What the hell have I done to it? What did I do in a past life? Who did I piss off or fail to sleep with? Why can’t I go back in time and tell the 20-year-old me to a) eat salad rather than chocolate and b) fucking do some fucking exercise already?

And then H tells me my ears are pretty, and I want to cry, because he has such faith in my attractiveness, he believes I’m cute, an I’m sure this is based on his mental image of me aged 20, the days when I had great legs and a teeny tiny waist, and I am terrified he’ll suddenly decide to take a really good look at me one day, and think ‘oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.’ And then all the pretty ears in the universe won’t help.

Also, none of the pretty bras fitted properly, and I went home with a bath-sponge and a pair of tights instead. Go me.

11 responses to “Flab

  • a

    Can you like your body for getting you through each day? I hope you can find something to like, even if it is just your ears. I don’t think there are too many women out there who look in the mirror and say “I look hot.” Most of us, I think, say, “Well, that will do for now” or “I don’t look terrible, but I could use X, Y, Z.”

    I can’t buy a piece of clothing at all these days. Someone said that you always look pretty in shoes and jewelry, no matter what you weigh.

    But, excellent job on the weight loss. I hope you reach your goals soon.

  • Heather

    You should love it because it is yours. Imperfections and all. You are the only person that has to be with that body every day for your entire life, you should be the one to love it most…even its flaws.

    If only you could see yourself the way H does, through his eyes. Even for just a moment. I bet you would be shocked at just how beautiful you truly are.

    And, you are a mother, you do have a daughter. One day you will get to hold her.

  • geohde

    Oh, honey…

    I won’t chuck in some platitude about the things I hate about my figure, because as you point out, I am very lucky to have had the chance to cop that sort of physical beating…


  • Hairy Farmer Family

    Oh, my dear, I could have written nearly all of this post; I do sympathise right from the bottom of my 33BMI heart.

    I am still wearing all my nursing bras because they are the only ones that fit, and I’m buggered if I’m spending £40 per bra at Bravissimo when it’d be a waste of money because I SHALL LOSE WEIGHT SOON! YES, I WILL! …cough…

    A and Heather are both right; I don’t think there are many of us who look in the mirror in full expectation of being announced the Fairest Of Us All, and I feel sure that H sees you very differently to the way you see yourself.

    It’s a bugger, though isn’t it?

  • Aphra Behn

    I feel so much of your pain. Fortunately they do love us for our minds, and the filth that resides therein, as well as for our bodies.

    I’ve a book of erotica somewhere wherein a Chinese philosopher ponders that women either look beautiful or feel beautiful. I content myself with being voluptuous and grey in the dark.

  • Bexx

    As someone on another part of the scale (BMI of 21) I just want to reassure you that it doesn’t matter what size or shape you are, we all concentrate on our bad bits when we look in the mirror and yes we all have them.

    I too have stretch marks (thanks to my boobs and arse deciding to spring up practically overnight) and I’ve also been cursed with oily, spotty skin. In fact, some days I hate my skin so much, it’s all I ever see when looking at other people. I never notice their size or whatever imperfections they might stress about themselves, just that their skin looks beautiful and I wish so badly that I could look that good too.

    When you’re feeling down, focus on the positive things that you have and that you’ve achieved, like your recent weight loss. That’s no small achievement and you should be very proud. 🙂

    And for all the jokes we may make about men, they still manage to see how beautiful we really are and stay by our sides.

  • Nina

    My husband called me Biggie Smalls the other day, in reference to my current condition. I would smack him, if I weren’t afraid it would stay that way. We know you’re beautiful, even if you don’t feel it right now. You’ve described your curly dark hair, and if you only knew how much I’ve wanted pretty curls over the years, well….I hope you feel better soon, and congrats on losing to within 7 lbs!

  • QoB

    ah, stretch marks. as a teenager I hated mine and would have gotten them lasered if i could. since then I’ve only gotten more and I find I don’t mind. they fade. I figure I’m just prone to them.

    And I haven’t grown a person either, all I did was grow hips and thighs and a bum. which have all drawn praise from partners.
    in fact, the only person who has ever commented negatively on the stretch marks is my mother (no surprises there).

    By which I mean, I think I agree with all the other commenters.

    I find I like my body more when I know what it can do; more pressups than last week, a yoga stretch I couldn’t fully do before… etc.

    congrats on the weight loss.

  • Womb For Improvement

    The title should have been “Flab or Fab?”. In which case I would have voted you for Fab every time.

  • Rachel

    Bra shopping is the pits. Absolutely.

    I can’t find your e-mail address on your blog, but will you send me an e-mail sometime: longdistanceinfertility at gmail? Thanks!

  • Minawolf

    So I can’t get to the site here (at work) but I know of an absolutely wonderful bra (and before you ask, I totally have some of the same issues you were complaining about). This bra manages to make me look hot (it’s a push up) but is still really comfy. Best part! It doesn’t show side bulge! I’m a 38D so rest assured, I’m not that far from feeling your pain. Shoot me an email and I’ll find you the link if you’re interested while I’m home one evening.

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