A Reflection on Flab

Can fat people go skinny dipping?

What is flab? According to the Websters Dictionary, flab is defined as, excessive, loose, or flaccid body tissue. How boring. I can do better than that. What is flab according to Polly? How about jiggly jelly rolls, great gelatinous mounds of flesh, or excessive excess?

bellies2I speak of that which I know. I have flab. Yes, you read me right. I wrote flab. F L A B. I can even say it out loud. Give me a microphone and I’ll say it in front of a thousand people. It’s not as if it’s a big secret. I do my best to camouflage it, but no matter what I wear, I still look lumpy. I think it wants to be seen. I catch it peeking out. Unlike Webster, I won’t try to minimize flab, for that would be impossible. It’s so much more than just so much more, isn’t it? What is flab?

It’s a winter coat that I can’t remove. It creates warmth whether I need it or not. I bounce like a ball. It cushions my fall. It may keep moving when I’ve stopped. I have a bobble belly rather than a bobble head. I have to lug these tires around and that tires me out. This reminds me of a memorable moment with one of my elderly patients. I was leaning over to adjust her pillow and she poked me in the beef.

“You got a couple of spare tires there, don’t ya?” she grinned.fatandskinny2

“They’re all season,” I replied.

It’s a barrier. It creates distance. It keeps people away. It also makes it difficult to fit into a world of small clothes, bucket seats, and amusement park rides.

It’s a self-hug. It’s soft and squeezeable. I’m told there are men who prefer a luscious lady to a hard body babe. At the same time, way too much of it is a health hazard, a wearable death wish. Some people wouldn’t be caught dead in it. They find it revolting. Personally, I find it no more hideous than translucent skin stretched taut over a skeleton.

fatchicks2The abundance of flab points to an abundance of food. In my world, I don’t know hunger, unless I choose to. From what I understand, goodly girth used to be a status symbol denoting wealth. Nowadays, the saying goes, you can’t be too rich or too thin. What happened? When did all the fat chicks disappear from paintings? Why is thin now in? I imagine living in that era and I’m reminded that there were no appliances. I’d rather be chubby and unappreciated than sittin’ by a river beatin’ my clothes against a rock.

To many people, flab signals a lack of self-control, a surface self-loathing. It’s physical evidence that we abuse ourselves with food. I prefer to think of flab as a pantry that I keep stocked up for the next famine. Who needs an emergency surplus in the basement? What if you can’t get to the basement?

Flab is something most of us struggle to get rid of. I’m amazed at the lengths people will go to ditch their blubber. There are those who get it sucked out and injected elsewhere. Yuck! There are those who go to the butcher and have it cut off. Scary! There are those veggies2who take drugs and herbs, drink milkshakes, and eat huge platefuls of one miracle food. Some people starve. Some people chow down and throw it up or pee-poo it out. Then there’s the “eat less, move more” club. We swear off sweets and chuck the chips. We stuff ourselves full of (gasp) vegetables. We spend hours preparing recipes we would never eat otherwise. We slow our eating. We gnaw on plain pieces off teeny plates. We force ourselves to drink when we’re not thirsty. We torture ourselves by lifting hunks of metal and dancing with dreadful machines. All the while, we heap up unrequited yearning that will not be denied. The resulting binge that follows a long starvation is nothing short of orgasmic.

I’ve lost and gained so many pounds and here is what I’ve learned; looking good, fitting into ever-smaller clothing, having the freedom to move any which way, in the end, is never as important to me as enjoying what I put in my mouth. A friend of mine once said, “If you can’t eat well, you might as well be dead.” No matter how firm my resolve or woman-674977_19202how many times I say, “I’ll never go back there”, I always return to my old eating habits. I choose taste over a waist.

In my twenties, I was at a farmer’s market and there was a band playing on the patio of a corner cafe. The singer was a large, African-American woman with a huge voice. She wore a very tight T-shirt and she was ripplin’ like a ribbon of fudge. I was at once repulsed and envious. I wish I could be so accepting of my curvy girl status. I’ve become less concerned about having the perfect physique. I’m trying to treat my body with more kindness and respect. It’s a banged up floor model that’s been through a lot of life and three kids. It deserves my special attention not my derision. And, unless my future holds a concentration camp, my flab is here to stay. I’m always trying to downplay the importance of the package, but in this case, I’ll make an exception. Body dearest, you are simply flabulous!

Complete the experience. Listen to Megan Trainor’s All About that Bass and shake some booty.

Posts come out every Monday morning, a poem every third Monday. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to receive notifications of my posts via email. Follow me on Instagram username: pollyeloquent. Thanks for reading. 🙂

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