“You know, I can do a quick liquid liposuction to take care of that,” the doctor said. He was pointing at my belly fat... and I was mortified. I was in the dermatologist’s office to talk to him about removing a mole -- not to get my belly fat sucked away.
I pulled my jacket around me. “Yeah... Well... I just started going to the gym. I’ll probably lose that in a couple months.” I forced the sides of my face up into an awkward smile -- one there was no way I could feel. The doctor’s attendant half shrugged at me, making it clear she didn’t want to get involved.
Completely oblivious to the look of absolute horror on my face Dr. FeelGood continued to make me feel horrible, saying, “With your body type that kind of belly fat isn’t going anywhere. You’re a big girl,” he clarified -- as if that thought had never crossed my mind before.
I looked down at my tummy, amazed that I was still actually physically in the room. It felt like I had floated away, escaping my daytime nightmare by air. But, no. I was still there, being made to feel horrible even when my health was perfectly fine.
So, just like in every AA meeting you’ve ever seen on TV, let me say: “Hi. My name is Abiola and I have belly fat.”
This wasn’t always the case.
I never had washboard abs or anything that would put me in the Sports Illustrated "Swimsuit Issue." I did, however, have a smaller tummy that was easily sucked in, and that, my friends, was close enough for me. I could suck my stomach in for hours, no Spanx or other gadgets needed to give the grand illusion of flatness.
Unfortunately that was 20 pounds and two slices of pizza ago. Now, my tummy is, well, pudgy. But, hey, I have a pretty face, right?
And I wasn’t lying to the doctor. I did join a gym. My goal was (and is!) to get healthy rather than to get skinny. I almost forgot that when he pointed out the benefits of lipo.
So what happened next? Did the doctor finally get the clue and leave me alone? Nope. He actually leaned over and poked me in the belly. Poked. Me.
“I can get rid of that so quickly that you’ll be in a bikini by summertime,” he said.
“AHEM!’ The doctor’s assistant loudly cleared her voice. It seemed like their inside code for when he was saying or doing something inappropriate.
Her secret signal worked because he dropped his jabbing hand abruptly. The quick motion snapped me out of the shy, insecure girl I used to be, the one who would have been crying from his insults, and reminded me of the confident woman I’ve become.
I stood up and remembered that nobody, no matter what, has the right to make me feel bad about myself.
“Thank you but no thank you,” I said. “Maybe I’ll lose my belly fat in the gym and maybe I won’t. Either way it’s fine because my tummy is a part of me and I love it because I love me.”
The doctor grumbled something about his next appointment as he made his way out of the room.
His assistant smiled up at me. “You’re beautiful,” she said.
And deep down, I know that’s true.
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