Yesterday I talked about exercising your right to bare arms and my love of going strapless. Today I wanna talk about VBO (or, Visible Belly Outline). VBO is a hot topic these days. It’s something a lot of folks struggle with. It’s something I still struggle with, though there are times where I just don’t care. Bellies come in many shapes and configurations. I used to refer to mine as a double belly. Now my bff Michaela and I call it a B belly, just seems more accurate. Because of this doubleness, certain types of tops and dresses don’t look the same on me as on other, single bellied people. This has caused great discomfort with my body and choosing clothing to wear.
I used to always wear baggy tops and layers of clothing in order to hide and cover my belly area. I never really cared about my big ass. I figured there’s no hiding that, but my belly situation was not something I loved. Besides, I told myself, there are songs celebrating big asses, but not big bellies. My grunge era attire fit into this covering certain parts of my body thing just fine. As I grew up, though, I couldn’t hide behind those garments.
When I found myself in the corporate world I had to step up my wardrobe. The hardest part of this were those dreaded (by many a large breasted or large bellied individual) button up shirts. They never seemed to want to lay right on my body. The chest would gape, the bottom flaps would spread awkwardly causing me to constantly tug and check and smooth and straighten them. There was no hiding my insecurities.
It wasn’t until I opened my own cafe that I realized that I could wear whatever the fuck I wanted and it didn’t matter what anyone thought about it. I cut my hair and experimented with dresses for the first time in over a decade. At first it was hard because people treated me different when I wore dresses or makeup or anything more feminine than what they were used to seeing me in. This caused me to hold back much of my femme-ness, but I’m a rebel at heart so it didn’t take long for me to say fuck it about that shit, too!
Finding cheap dresses at Ross (Dress for Less) gave me the chance to experiment and figure out what styles I liked on my body. Soon I found clingy dresses that I actually loved on my body and decided once and for all that my rolls were nobody’s business but my own! Zero fucks! I was fortunate, too, to be surrounded by rad fatties at the time and would go to local BBW clubs to dance the night away. Connecting with my body through dance was the final push for me to let go of those belly worries. It’s just so much more comfortable to dance in less restrictive clothing. Layering just wasn’t an option, my comfort came first.
I would say that I’ve never looked back, that I have since always loved my belly, but that’s not true. It’s something I still struggle with today. I’m usually pretty confident and secure with myself and my body, but it’s just not always as simple as that. I have loved seeing the Fatkini movement grow and seeing people of all sizes embracing their bodies and reclaiming the old beach body thing in a more positive light. But when the idea of wearing a bikini for the big dance show came up, I was at first excited but then terrified. I thought I was ready for that, so bold and so rebellious! But I wasn’t. I’m not.
My relationship with my body is good, solid. My relationship with the parts of it that I struggle with off and on (I think) is normal. Our bodies change over time, that’s just nature. It’s important and valuable to not hold onto a specific idea of what your body must be or look like. It will change. You can’t prevent it. But you can embrace it and be kind to yourself and your body. It’s the only one we’ve got! I choose to do no harm. I hope you will, too. Rock on with that VBO! (Pics enlarge when clicked.)
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