GRABBING MY BUTT IN THE PARKING LOT
By: Lauren Anderson
Have I got your attention? Good.
Except now that you’re here I have to tell you… this isn’t some story about a creep in a parking lot who grabbed my butt. Thank God. I am so grateful that’s not the scenario today.
Yes yes. No creep to be found. Because in the case of this parking-lot butt-grab?
THE CREEP IS ME.
Ahem, let me explain.
A while ago, I was shopping at a local Target along with every single human person on the face of the Earth– or so it seemed. Adding insult to wallet injury, the day was particularly slushy and winter gross. There were huge slush-puddles of ice melt that I had to leap across before I could hit the doors of the famous red bullseye.
Leaping over the puddles, I was actually managing to mine a bit of fun out of what was sure to be a grueling errands run. Until I noticed something weird happening to my butt when my boots hit the ground.
Wait… was that a, a jiggle?
I stopped dead in my tracks in the middle of the parking lot. I reached back and touched my butt. Jiggle. Hmmmmm…. I grabbed it. I lifted and released. Another jiggle.
I grabbed again–because any good scientist knows the more trials, the stronger confirmation of the hypothesis.
I grabbed one more time, and just as I was doing so, I looked up and saw a woman staring at me with a “What the Fuh is that crazy lady doing to her butt in the middle of a Target Parking Lot on a cold winter early evening?”
I had been caught butt-handed. I let go of my behind, and flashed her a toothy and DEEPLY embarrassed smile, and scuttled into warm glowing light of Target like a spider fleeing from a rolled up newspaper.
As I walked through the aisles and aisles of consumer opportunity, I couldn’t help but think about my newly-jiggling butt. I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. Other than it was– NEW.
Here’s the deal. I’ve always had a really strong butt. I’ve written about it before, so I won’t belabor it here– but perhaps a quick refresh:
When I was young I never wanted anyone to know I was nervous, so I would squeeze my butt together as hard as I could. Then outward “me” could appear calm, and all that nervous energy could be channeled to somewhere, um, less obtrusive.
Since I’ve been anxious from the jump, you can bet over time it’s given me quite the powerhouse of a backside.
To the point where my number one party trick is to lay down on my stomach, and have people stand on my butt and “surf” while I bounce it up and down. It’s as fun and as unsettling as you think, and a point of strange pride.
Long story long, my butt is strong. Always has been. It’s even quite difficult to pinch, because it’s usually so tight with anxious muscle. (Another strange thing to admit, but hey, that’s the truth.) And really, it just keeps getting more extreme the more squats and weights I lift at Solcana.
I’m pretty happy about that too, honestly.
And if I’m being REALLY honest here, my butt and it’s strength were something that I always really liked about my body. Even when I hated everything else. No matter what size I was, or where I’ve been on the road to fitness, my butt has always been something I could like, something I could rely on. Always there supporting me and my lower back like a champ.
To put it simply, my butt has always been “behind” me.
(*Pause for groan…high five myself for the excellent pun.)
So when I felt the unfamiliar jiggle in the lot, I was like, “What the hell?!” And it stopped me dead in my tracks. It forced me to forget where I was and reach around and immediately investigate.
You know, if I’m being honest, I had been a little lax in my workouts. Perhaps the winter had made me more sedentary that I cared to admit? As I winded through the BOGO deals of foaming cleansers in the pharmacy, I said out loud to myself,
“Okay Anderson, you know what to do.” And then I said the thing I never I thought I would say after discovering a newly-jiggling rear. Especially in a very public place, surrounded by people. I stopped, took a deep breath, and quietly said out loud:
“My body is Good.” I exhaled. And that was that.
* * *
Now why, dear reader, am I sharing this with you? Well, because this seemingly mundane moment of self-talk by the deodorant aisle at Target is the mark of a HUGE leap forward for me.
Because I didn’t beat myself up. I didn’t call myself names. I didn’t go “Ewwwww, my butt jiggles!” (Cause real talk– ALL butts jiggle. I mean, that’s what they do! They’re BUTTS!) I didn’t judge myself like I would’ve in the past, or my butt. There was no familiar gut-wrenching feeling that my body was not okay, and that I should be ashamed.
In fact, it was the opposite. I just noticed. I let my body be. What it was in that moment, and I let that be all right. Because my body IS all right. Right now. AS IS. I took a breath, and thought again, “My body is good.”
I have been slowly working towards a moment like this, for years now. Chipping away at the monolith of body-shame in therapy, and letting the new body-pride manifest at the gym.
My work at the gym led me to therapy. And my work in therapy is leading me to the version of me I’ve always dreamed about, but never thought was possible. A person who thinks their body is GOOD.
(Cue the swell of the orchestra playing emotionally-charged music!)
I think we all have things we are working on– whether it’s in our bodies or minds or both. But I was overcome by the fact that on this trip to Target, I was able to give myself the grace that I had been yearning for, for so long.
It wasn’t validation from an outside source. It was from within. It wasn’t a “someday” promise like, “When I lose this weight, or look this way, I’ll be happy” kind of thing.
It was a right here/right now, kind of deal. And let me just say… it was POWERFUL AF.
* * *
Cut to a few trips to the gym, and few squats later.
I’m walking out of the box to my car after a good workout, and I am feeling myself. I’m strutting a little too much for mid-winter safety and I slip a little on the ice.
When I do, I kind of put my hand on my backside to steady myself. I don’t fall, but what I do notice is that all too familiar tightness in my butt has returned. My first romance, in terms of body love.
“Oh hello old friend.” I say out loud. And I kind of stop where I am and give my booty a playful slap.
And wouldn’t you know it, a guy walking down the street sees this, and kind of laughs at me.
I laugh too, and give the guy a thumbs up. It’s an odd exchange, and I wonder what he thinks was going on, except I don’t really care. Because my butt is back baby!
In “Hindsight”… (*Pause again for louder groan…high five myself for another pun.)
I think it took the hardest part of me (aka MY BUTT) to soften (aka JIGGLE),so I could see that I am now able to love more than just one small piece of my body. The whole thing deserves it. And I’m finally able to start giving it.
I mean, they always say if you love something let it go… and if it’s real… the backside will come back.