Most of us have one body part we dwell on more than others, wishing it could be different. For me, it’s my stomach. I have very little body fat overall, but my tummy sticks out like a 5 year old – unless I get really thin, and then I lose my ass completely! The Star tabloid once mused I was pregnant because a photo of me in a short dress at a premiere showed a protruding abdomen. Nope, just a regular day for Alexandra.
Because of 5 surgeries that cut through my abdomen, my belly button looks weird. When I appeared in a magazine in a bikini a couple years ago, one reader commented the photo was retouched because “no one has a bellybutton like that, it doesn’t look real”. Actually, that was my real bellybutton, looking as weird as it always does.
When I was in my 20s, I thought that by the time I was 50 I would have gotten over my wish to change parts of my body. What I really thought was that 50-somethings have lost all passion in life so they don’t care about how they look. How wrong that arrogant younger self was! I know people in their 60s and 70s still at war with their bodies, so I realize I cannot rely on age and time to magically make me at ease with my corporeal self. I have to work on it myself.
I have decided to reframe the way I look at my body – instead of focusing on what it looks like, to appreciate more how it works, and that it works. How amazing am I to have survived so many medical issues! How unique am I, to have a stomach decorated with such a paean to surgical advancement! I never have digestive problems – I have no idea what acid reflux or heartburn even are. How grateful am I to have broad shoulders that can swim for miles, strong legs to wrap around my husband in bed, arms that can pick my kitty up with ease and feet that carry me on delicious hikes with friends.
It would be so boring if we all conformed to the “ideal body type”, whatever that is. (Ironically, if everyone conformed to it, it would no longer be ideal). Thank goodness for all the different sizes and shapes out there, even those tummies that stick out like 5 year olds.