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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Breathe (08/19/10)

TITLE: Pot Belly Positives
By Arlene Showalter



With a family wedding a mere two days away, I’ve donned my favorite crushed velvet turquoise skirt to check the fit. I turn this way and that, a scowl creasing my face, as I scrutinize my figure. No amount of sucking in will cause the prominent baby bump to vanish.

Problem is it isn’t a baby bump. It’s a post-menopausal reminder that I’m not as young as I once was.

Exhale. The wind escapes my lungs like a blooded horse at the races. My pot belly settles back to its original comfortable protrusion.


When I met Hubby five years ago, I was thin. No, I was seriously underweight. My hip bones poked out like cartilage wings. My tummy, while never flat, thanks to Grandma’s genes, had been unfed into submission. Full time work and college filled my days, as I strove to overcome the abandonment of my first husband.

Then I met Hubby, who’d recently lost a wife to cancer. My weight, or rather lack of it, frightened him. He fed me cream puffs and left gourmet style meals in my refrigerator, determined to add some pounds.

Marriage and menopause arrived together. I blossomed in love and figure. Thirty-five pounds later, most of which sits contentedly between the formerly stuck out hip bones, is this post-menopausal, well fed pot belly.


I’m a writer. Writers research. My belly and I plop down together in front of the computer, click on internet, and then type pot belly in the search box. Four choices pop up:

First result: Photos of pot bellied people. Huge bellies hung over and leering into the camera.

Yech. Quickly I move on to…

Second result: Pot Bellied Pigs. Carefully I research all the positive data. These pigs are intelligent and playful. That’s good. They’re also odor free and generally non-allergenic. Hmm. Interesting. But, do I really want to align myself with the porcine population? I forge on to…

Third result: Pot Bellied Stoves. Ah, Americana at its best. That useful, practical, heart- and-butt-warming American fixture of yesteryear. And yet, is association with antiques such a positive? In desperation I turn to…

Fourth result: Pot Belly Song by Freshlyground, from South Africa. I click on the YouTube link. The lead singer croons, "Fat thighs, flabby arms. A pot belly still gives good loving." Oh yes! I have found my theme song. I watch the video over and over again.

Later, when I catch a glimpse at my reflection in the mirror, my face scrunches up in familiar disgust—until I remember the Pot Belly Song. A smile chases the frown into oblivion as I hum the words; “Fat thighs, flabby arms. A pot belly still gives good loving.”

My body might feel (and look) lousy, but my spirit knows who I am. I am a daughter of the Most High God, wife of an adoring husband and spiritual mother to countless children.

Yep. I thank God for this brave, young band that has adjusted my attitude—permanently.

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This article has been read 503 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Anthony David08/27/10
Good story. The writer is very frank and sincere. Perhaps the story goes a little off the topic though.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 08/27/10
You did a great job with the descriptions. i too used to be almost deathly thin, and now I avoid the mirror and camera as much as possible. Your light sense of humor made me smile and feel not so alone. Thank you for sharing your"pot belly" with me.
Sarah Heywood08/28/10
Four c-section later, I, too, have a permanent pot belly or "kangaroo pouch" as I refer to mine. So, I could definitely identify with your piece! It's too easy to get focused on what really doesn't matter (like our physical flaws) and forget the important, as you reminded at the end of your piece. Good writing - I enjoyed this!