I'm Too Fat to Feel Butterflies


There’s a common misconception that the “feeling of butterflies in your stomach” comes from emotions for another person. That seeing them, hearing their voice, or maybe even thinking about them can send those hypothetical insects into a frenzy. Well, that isn’t true. No one can give you butterflies; you give them to yourself. That nervousness, eagerness, and that anxiousness for what may come next all center around the anticipation of the person you desire returning that feeling. Butterflies aren't just what you feel, but the hope that they reciprocate that feeling. If you don’t think you have even a slim chance of that return interest, there is a feeling in your stomach alright, but it ain’t no butterflies. Why does it matter how butterflies happen? Because it speaks to not just how we see ourselves, but how we believe others see us as well. Whether our perception inward or outward is correct makes no difference, because it is the reality to us. In the case of the flutters, our thoughts are all that matter. All this is what led me to the conclusion: I am too fat to feel butterflies. Lately the only warm and tingly feeling I've had in my stomach has been after drinking a tea from Starbucks. It has absolutely nothing to do with my husband, he is remarkably unchanged. It has nothing to do with the media or social expectations, they’ve never set my physical benchmark. Lastly it has nothing to do with a person or some unrealistic ideal of perfection I am obsessed with. I’ve never been in competition with anyone other than myself and I’m pretty sure perfection is a myth. I’m the only reason I feel no wings.

Just to clarify, I’m not too fat because of my weight. There is no magical number that butterflies cease to exist. There is no specific size you need to be or shape you need to have. However, you do have to feel a certain confidence about yourself. Somewhere between losing my pre-wedding physique, pregnancy, and postpartum I lost the connection to my body. We used to speak the same language, now I need Rosetta stone to translate between the two. I see myself, I recognized parts of me, but mostly I am just confused as to exactly what I’m looking at most days. Even as the weight on the scale returned to the weight before the baby, things shifted, stretched and drooped in places that they hadn’t before. I didn’t have the muscle tone I was accustomed to having or the taunt skin that I took for granted. I still find myself attractive to a degree, but, I can’t be sure if that’s because I legitimately believe that to be true or if I have just been conditioned to have unbreakable self-confidence. See, the way my self-esteem is set up, it would be practically impossible for me to think I was completely undesirable. I mean, I'm still me after all. So I’m not looking to be reminded of how “every woman is beautiful” or not to “fat shame” myself. There is nothing wrong with being honest with yourself, knowing what you want to look like, and knowing that vision is not in the mirror. So even when I am being critical of my appearance I have no problem highlighting all the things that I still love. The problem has been that list of attributes has been shrinking or coming with more conditions. This has lead to something I have never really had to deal with before, doubt. That more than occasional internal questioning of myself has essentially killed my ability to butterfly.

To reiterate, this is in no way a reflection of my husband. Sure, he still looks like he did when we started dating over a decade ago. Apparently, diet changes, having a child, lack of sleep, free time or gym visits have altered his appearance. Luckily, and annoyingly, he is genetically predisposed to looking exactly how I like until we are old and gray without any effort.  I can’t fault him for having better DNA than me, even though I really, really want to sometimes. Yes, again gratefully but frustratingly, he has loved me unconditionally and reminds me I am beautiful through every adjustment in size. So even though it would be so much easier to find a way to make him responsible for this feeling, I know nothing he can say or do until I either adjust to the new me, find the old me, or settle for someone I like in between the two. He can shower me with praises and lavish me with kisses. He can compliment me until the cows come home and it all would make no difference. I have to be able to feel them for myself. Seeing as I do not think I will ever really feel comfortable the way I look now, I also have to admit that I am, currently, pounds and inches away from that wonderful feeling.

So, what do you do when you are too fat for butterflies? Be honest with yourself and own it. But also believe even if you have to work for them, that you will one day realizeyou always deserve to feel them, you just have to see it for yourself.