It was after lunch period in fourth grade, I was standing in line waiting to go back to class daydreaming about climbing tree's after school. My older brother had recently embarked on an all encompassing effort to build the first of many Ewok forts in the woods behind our house. I was determined to stake out one of the floors for my friends and I to use as we pleased.
Suddenly, I was snapped back to reality by one of my friends pointing at me, "Look at how your belly is sticking out!" Congratulations...it was the beginning of the end of innocence regarding personal body image. I was absolutely crushed. It was one of my favorite sweatshirts, grey with different colored balloons on the front. Apparently, after having a bit of lunch my kid belly was full and friends were noticing.
I don't remember what excuse I made up to explain why my belly was sticking out, but I'm sure I shirked it off in some way. From that day forward I learned to "suck it up". That's what you do to look...good. Suck in the belly and pull on your pants. Suck in that belly and wiggle into a dress.
Well...today...I let it out...
And achieved the first of hopefully many flat backed dead lifts. I'm not sure exactly what made it click, but through several discussions JD walked me through a description that suddenly made sense. "Stick that belly out!" I didn't realize that I was intentionally sucking it in when I was lifting, but once I intentionally pushed it out...SCORE!
There are things that I've always wanted for my body (who hasn't day dreamed about six pack abs?), but what's even more important to me now is being able to use what I have to be healthy and happy. I wish I could go back in time and visit little Zuul in the lunch line. I would pat that belly and tell her not to worry...that one day, when she's grown up she won't be standing in line worrying about sucking in her belly. She'll be outside, running, climbing and perhaps even squatting trees.