Don’t You Deserve A Flat, Sexy Belly You Can Feel Proud Of Every Day?

So yeah, this post title is the title of an article I saw on Twitter.

Let’s rip it to shreds, shall we?

Note: I wrote the above two sentences and then walked away from this for hours. I checked back in two or three times and walked away again. I couldn’t figure out why I was struggling with this and I think I’ve figured it out. There is just so much about the article title that pisses me off that the words are getting jumbled up in my head. 

I guess, just start at the beginning.

What do we deserve? The only thing we deserve is basic respect from the other humans.

Conversely, if we don’t treat people with respect, then we deserve to forfeit receiving respect. I don’t, however, think we deserve a flat, sexy belly that we can feel proud of every day.

If we work out and eat right, then it’s conceivable we might get a flat, sexy belly that we can be proud of. Every day. But that isn’t a matter of deserve much as it is cause and effect. Deserve seems more arbitrary to me. If a person works very hard at their job, they might deserve a raise, but it doesn’t mean they will get a raise.

Or award shows. We can argue all we want that Pulp Fiction should have beaten Forrest Gump for best picture in 1995, or Pulp Fiction deserved to win, but it didn’t win.

Changing our bodies, however, is entirely up to us.

And no matter how much we work out, there is no guarantee our abs are going to look like air brushed models. Deserve doesn’t have shit to do with that.

How about this? And this kind of goes along with the basic fucking respect we deserve, but how about we all walk around in our own skin without being judged based on the flatness of our belly or the size of our ass? How about that?

How about people without a flat, sexy belly feeling good about themselves?

Perhaps feeling pride in themselves for reasons that have nothing to do withstatues aesthetics. I just spelled “aesthetics” right the first time without asking Randy how to spell it. I am quite proud of that. 

Also, I know the article title doesn’t say a non-flat belly can’t be sexy, but it sort of does, doesn’t it? I bought into that shit for years. But what I’ve concluded is we are all as sexy as we feel, regardless of belly size. I have expanded and contracted many times and I can say being thinner never made me feel better about myself. I may have felt physically better, but it never made my head feel better.

Accepting myself as I am right this second feels better than being thin ever felt.

Okay, fine. I don’t feel perfect about myself. I suspect I’ll be working on that for the rest of my days, but I have been working on self acceptance which doesn’t include beating myself up over not having a flat, sexy belly that I can feel proud of every day. 

I’m not suggesting that it isn’t important to be healthy. I’ve been working super hard at dropping my excess pounds and I’m making progress. I want to feel better. I can feel proud of my accomplishments, but any progress I make is because I make decisions, every day, to be more healthy. Well, not every day. It’s possible that I ate a half bag of Tootsie pops last weekend. Again, deserve has nothing to do with my weight loss.

What the fuck is up with the whole “proud” thing? Proud?

I’m all for pride in oneself because self love and self advocacy is important. But being proud of specific body parts seems strange to me. Granted, I am still working against having a negative view of my physical self, so that could be part of it.

I can say that I like my feet. I have always liked my feet. My heels are nasty, but my feet have a pleasing, symmetrical shape. I like them. I’m not proud of them, though. What the fuck?

Okay, now the “every day” part.

Fuck this. I see this and it makes me tired. Not just for me, but for everyone. My grandchildren and nieces and nephews. My kids.

We get bombarded with words and images reminding us that we suck. Every day.

We buy into the sentiment, don’t we? Defy your age! Cover the gray! Be skinny and strong! Because if you are not these things, then you can’t possibly be happy.

You certainly don’t deserve the good things in life. Don’t stop thinking about it. Not ever. Find a way to be proud of a body part every day and, if you can’t, then don’t forget to feel bad about your body part. Every day. Also, please spend your money on our shit you don’t fucking need. We don’t care if we’re making you feel bad about yourself, in fact, that is the plan! We want you to feel bad enough that you will part with your money. Of course, you could just eat right and exercise on your own, but that doesn’t benefit us at all, so….

It’s not just flat, sexy bellies. It’s everything. Our hair, our clothes, and how shiny our lips look.

I wish I could go back in time and unspend the hours and the money I’ve spent on getting my hair colored or embarrassingly expensive cosmetics.

I’m not sorry I wear makeup. I have always worn makeup. I feel comfortable wearing makeup. But the super expensive stuff really isn’t much different from the drugstore stuff. And if I could have all the money back I’ve spent on getting my hair colored, I could probably buy a car. A fucking car. Maybe not an Escalade, but at least a 1999 Ford Focus.

I didn’t do these things because it pleased me to get my hair dyed or enjoyed spending money on the best makeup, I did these things because I found myself unacceptable. I couldn’t be gray. I couldn’t look tired. I did these things because I cared what other people thought when they looked at me.

Of course, we should do what makes us comfortable. There is nothing wrong with making yourself presentable. But “presentable” shouldn’t be decided by some stupid article that was written to sell something. Fuck that. “Presentable” should mean what we want it to mean. We get to decide.

Getting older is the shit, you guys. Seriously. I love not caring how gray I am getting. I sort of dig it. I’m not mortified anymore if I run into someone I know and I’m out without wearing makeup. My face is my face. My not-flat belly is my belly.

If I am going to be proud of myself, then I’m going to be proud of all of me and it sure as fuck isn’t going to be based on the way I look.

I want to help people, I want to be kind. I want to make a difference. I can be proud of those things. Every day.


Photo courtesy of Juhasz Imre.




Add your comments below. Profanity is encouraged, but not required. ;)
  1. Wonderful post, well done, this needs to be said more 🙂

  2. Donna says:

    Right, the fuck, on!!!

    Even at my skinniest, I’ve not had a flat belly. For years I tried to flatten out my little bump – zillions of sit ups daily to no avail. Not everyone’s built like a Charlies Angel model and that’s what makes the world more bloody interesting.

    Right now, I just try to be as physically and mentally healthy as I can be and, boyhowdy, that’s hard enough without fussing over the size ‘o’ my trunk junk.

  3. Emily says:

    I had to laugh.I have a flat tummy (because I have become skinny) but I’m 72 and that flat tummy is covered with old lady droops. Also, I’ve heard several times in my life that men like a tummy.

    Advertising is insane. I stopped my TV when my kids were young because of the ads. They assume a shiny suburban world in which everybody has two cars, two parents, good teeth, on and on…all lies. Ads are like wallpaper. You don’t really see it. Meanwhile you’re absorbing the unspoken message, which is (as you point out) you’re not ok, to be ok you need to buy…..

  4. Marcia says:

    Wonderful piece. Something you can be proud of. Even every day if you want to.

  5. Renee says:

    YES! This sure turned out different than I expected…I almost didn’t read it cause I am tired of focusing on our bodies, flat tummies, etc…I want to be kind…generous and giving…and I hope I can….

  6. Love this. Those article titles are insipid! Even when I was a personal trainer and yoga teacher, I knew they were insipid. Maybe that’s why I’m not those things anymore… And I so agree with you on the “deserve” thing!! (Another one I love is bumper stickers that say: “I love my wife and kids.” Really? How nice of you.) All kinds of bodies can be beautiful, amen. And I like my big old masculine looking feet too. 🙂
    I’m wondering if there’s something about women with anxiety etc. that makes us parse words and sayings over and over and…

  7. There are so many words in that title that are wrong. I have a sexy belly. It isn’t flat and it sure as Hell doesn’t make me proud. I also wouldn’t think of or even look at my belly every day. This is just plain shite and it always makes me wonder what the fuck I googled to be ‘served’ shite as a side dish.

  8. KK says:

    Sing it, sister across the pond!

  9. Hey, I’d like a flat, sexy belly, and I promise I’d take good care of it. I’d groom it and give it plenty of water and feed it regularly. I’d take it to the belly park and let it play with the other bellies. I’d clean up after my flat, sexy belly and teach it how to behave around strangers. I won’t let it run loose around the neighborhood, and I’ll be sure to get it neutered because there are too many stray flat, sexy bellies in the world already. Maybe I’d get a second flat, sexy belly to keep the first one company while I’m at work or off somewhere eating corn dogs dipped in nacho cheese and drinking beer straight from the pitcher because, hey, I’m going to be responsible with my flat, sexy belly, but I also need a little time to do things away from my flat, sexy belly.
    So, yes, I’d take good care of a flat, sexy belly, but I don’t think that means I deserve one. And I wouldn’t judge anybody else’s belly because nobody deserves an asshole.

  10. BarbaraM says:

    Me too. What you said. It used to be that most all fashion designers and cosmetic “scientists” were men, so we could blame them for unfair expectations. After all, they’re men. But now women designers are piling on, when we should be getting support from them. When I was in my 20’s-30’s I used to watch cosmetic commercials about skin care and the models looked to be about 16. Now the models are in their 20’s and 30’s and I’m in my 60’s and know I’m never going to have that kind of skin tone again. Do I want it? Maybe – I did look healthier when I was young – but nature is what it is and no mega-dollar product is going to get it back for me.

  11. Spiked lee says:

    I was talking to happy hubby last night about religious trauma and also the “nice lady” at church who seemed to make it her personal mission, when I was a pre-teen and teen, to make sure I didn’t think I was pretty. At all. I was too skinny, my hair was too straight, my pants were too short, my legs were too long, my face was too pale, my eyebrows too heavy, and, her favorite, “look what scraggly thing the cat just dragged in!”
    that had a lot to do with the messages of not-good-enough we get, and not much to do with where those messages come from.
    So, yeah we deserve basic respect. But people and articles like that don’t respect us.
    And I do not deserve a flat tummy, I deserve a nice slightly round tummy with a couple of good stretch marks on them, that remind me everyday of my awesome kids and the life I’ve managed to carve out for myself and beauty and love and healing I’ve given myself in spite of the messages, both personal and internet, that try to take that away from me.
    You, Michelle Rubber Shoes, are beautiful. And so am I. And so are all the readers on here.

  12. Harry says:

    Our forefathers fought and died so we could all have flat stomachs and you’re taking a knee?!

    I’m not sure what anyone “deserves.” Plus, I’m a guy, so I don’t really need to figure it out – the crow’s feet and gray hair are supposed to make me look distinguished rather than past my prime, which really wasn’t much of a prime, really, to be honest.

  13. Shani says:

    *sighs deeply*
    This is a big trigger for me. Maybe I bought all the hype sold throughout my life on how a person should look and how that matters.
    I know I bought it.
    I’d like to be that person secure enough not to care-but I am not. Even though I don’t really actively work on certain things (I wear make up when I have time for it for example) on certain things, I still care. I know that because when people compliment me on how I look I am rather proud of it. Don’t get me wrong as I also love compliments on how hard I work or how well I do something etc…but yes I still eat up any sort of praise based on nothing but my looks.
    And I did have a couple of body parts I was totally proud of. And that now they are both scarred and I feel I have to cover them—I wish I didn’t feel that way. But I do.
    I’ll just hope to reach your level of self acceptance one day!
    Great post!

  14. emelle says:

    When I first left my unhappy marriage and arrived in Los Angeles, I was blessed to have Mommy along to help me get on my feet. We lived in a lovely, large apartment COMMUNITY that had two business centers/clubhouses, two large swimming pools and hot tubs, and a convenience store, all behind a gate.

    I started using my closest hot tub and pool daily. Hot tub, 10ish minutes. Tread water in the deep end of the pool, 20-30 minutes. Hot tub, 10 minutes. Walk home, shower, walk the entire community to let my shoulder-blade-length hair dry.

    Peeling off my sleep shirt for a shower one day, I did a double-take at my reflection. Where had those deltoid muscles come from? Where had that flat, sexy six-pack abdomen come from? Did I DESERVE that? Because of all of the suffering from my first marriage? I had to weigh myself. I’d lost 33 pounds in 6-ish weeks, without really TRYING. Did I DESERVE it?

    Not a chance. In fact, once I was aware of what had happened, I lost momentum and regained a little bit, which covered over all of that beautiful muscle tone. Maybe because I’d been PROUD of it. PRIDE was my downfall.

    Would I like to have a flat, sexy six-pack again? Sure. Am I willing to work two-to-three times as hard as I did the first time to get it (because aging and metabolism, yo)? Not likely. So I guess I’ll have to be okay with my little poochy belly. I look all right nekkid. I look purty good in my clothes. I don’t deserve more or less. I respect how far I’ve come in the last five decades. I’ll keep respecting that.
    Every Day.
    Wow. Not a single fucking curse word! Holy shit! How the hell did I manage that? Damn, I’m one sweet asshole of a bitch! 😉

  15. Doug in Oakland says:

    Advertising is evil. Pride of ownership is a basic marketing strategy, and to apply it to human bodies without regard for the humans in those bodies is fucking evil. Those models in those ads in those magazines? They don’t look like that in real life. Those images were produced by a team of professionals backed by research into what most effectively pushes the buttons of potential customers, and gets and holds their attention long enough for them to absorb the message of “you are flawed and only buying our product can save you from the shame of it.”
    They are pushers and lies are their heroin.
    Sort of like Republicans in that way, but never mind that now.
    Girls are not “things” to be upgraded for better marketability, god damn it. Women are not items to be traded in for a better model. That subtext is incredibly damaging, but like the addiction that sells the heroin, it is a reliable marketing tool.
    I don’t know what to do about it, but my guess is that they will keep doing it as long as it works.
    The good news is that what works changes, and can deliberately be changed.
    The bad news is that like the pursuit of that flat sexy belly (we know what it is, we want to know where you got it) it requires effort and dedication and even so is never a sure thing.
    As for what anyone deserves, who would presume to know that?

  16. I’m reminded of a Lore Brand Comic (I know I’ll get caught in your spam filter if I link, so just go google that shiz) called, I believe, The Credit You Deserve. In which he opens a bit of spam mail which reads, “Isn’t it time you got the credit you deserve?” and tells us that, considering the state of his student loans, the credit he deserves is a stiff beating with a tire iron at 20% interest.

    Whenever people go on about what they deserve I’ve got that bit of side-eye. At best, we deserve what we’ve earned. At BEST. All we really deserve is to continue to live, breathe, and be treated a basic level of polite by people we’re not actively harming.

    Also, I know plenty of people with flat, sexy-as-fuck bellies and you know how much of their time they devote to feeling good about them? Zero and a bit percent. Max. Most of their day is spent worrying about money, family, time management, and other stresses, and the ability to flash their cute belly buttons really doesn’t enter into their calculations.

    So that article can jump up its own ass and starve.

  17. Mary-Anne says:

    Thanks for ripping it to shreds. You saved me the trouble.

  18. AR Neal says:

    Love this, especially since I have been belly hating all week …

  19. Anonymouse says:

    Flat, sexy belly *with pelvic organ prolapse, is what I see. Women in the USA have been taught incorrectly to “tuck & suck.” This posture is abnormal & will cause pelvic organ prolapse. That’s the least sexy thing I can think of. Look at and see that we’ve been fed a lot of BS about posture. Stop the madness. Lift your rib cage (like your HS choir director said), keep your shoulders down & back, have a normal lumbar arch and relax your belly. Bam! Sexy AF. With all your important parts on the inside.

  20. AmberLynn says:

    I have two young boys and I have stressed to them that the way we look isn’t the same as the health inside. And, that being healthy is the most important part. I truly believe that mental, emotional, and physical health are far more important that what size pants you fit into…..and I am a certified trainer with my masters in Exercise science….no flat abs pushed here!

  21. Lisa K says:

    Stupid spam filter sent this to the wrong box 🙁

    I am your basic conspiracy theorist…

    The drug and food companies are in cahoots.
    Drug Company to Food Company: You keep ’em fat and miserable and needing drugs to lose weight and feel better and we’ll keep ’em sad and miserable so they want more food.

  22. Kerry says:

    Thanks for writing what I’m often thinking. You make me laugh out loud and I’m grateful for that!

  23. curvyroads says:

    Damn straight girl! 🙂