Before I discovered a low-carb diet that includes replacing every single delicious noodle and potato chip with a form of vegetable or rum, I was one of those people who had the she-may-or-may-not-be-should-I-risk-asking perpetual three-month pregnant belly.
(I always say that unless you’re watching as the baby is actually crowning, DO NOT ASK.)
What was annoying about it was that I have always worked out like a motha. I also ate like a complete and total fatass, so there was that. I just figured if I ran 6 miles, I should've been able to have a damned cheeseburger, so you can bet your arse I was snarfing one right after I hopped off the treadmill. And 7 chicken nuggets. And small fries.
Anyhoo, my mom, an avid worker-outer herself, always told me the gut was hereditary. I remember one time, years ago, we were both at my dad’s house. Mom was watching me run stairs while she snarfed a bowl of chocolate ice cream topped with chocolate syrup, hand-crumbled chunks of Oreos cookies, and Hershey’s semi-sweet chocolate chips. My parents had been divorced for a good few years, but Dad still stocked the cupboards with that kind of stuff because she liked it.
“You’re never going to be able to get rid of the gut,” my mom said, eyeing me lazily as I turned to walk down the stairs so that I could double-hop up them once more. “Trust me. I tried for years. It’s just hereditary. You’re welcome.”
I stopped for a moment and looked at her, drops of sweat dripping from my face. “Haven’t you been divorced for, like, 3 years? Don’t you have your own house to get back to?” I asked.
“Yeah,” she replied, “but mine doesn’t have ice cream. I’ll leave when I’m finished with this bowl.”
I rolled my eyes, but I knew she was right. I had seen her doing the exact same stairs routine I was doing for years; where do you think I learned it? In fact, when she and Dad had bought that house, one of the first things that attracted her to it was that it had been built on a perfect one-mile running route. She, too, had worked out like a motha.
And still always looked like a 3-months pregnant one.
I figured it was just my lot in life.
All of this still didn’t stop my mom from asking me from the time I was 14 years old if I was, in fact, pregnant. Don’t take it the wrong way; she was trying to be a caring, concerned mom, there for me if I’d gotten into any “trouble” and needed a mom-shoulder to turn to for advice on babies raising babies.
But I think it was fairly obvious that I wasn’t getting any action simply by drinking in the sight of me: mousey brown hair that flowed in a sister-wifey, lank kind of way (this was well before I discovered what a vat of bleach could do for even the horsiest of creatures), thin bangs, and a long, Tori Spelling-like face.
Friends, suffice it to say that I probably couldn’t have even engaged in reverse prostitution and paid someone to do it with me just to see what it was like. In fact, I used to thank my mom when she asked if I was pregnant. “So you think I have a chance?” I would whisper hopefully, tears of joy springing to my eyes. “That someone will want to have sex with me someday?”
I swear there’s a point to all of this. I mean, not a good one or anything; not something you couldn’t have gone your whole life without hearing, but still…there’s a point.
A few years ago, I saw my sweet grams just as her dementia started encroaching on her lifelong prim, proper, and always classy personality. (I don’t know how she ended up with a granddaughter like me, but I always tell her it must be God’s way of getting her back for something really bad she did in a past life.) And when she excitedly pointed to my belly and said, “Oh, we’ll get to plan some more baby showers! Shay’s pregnant!” I laughed. Honestly I kind of enjoyed this new no-holds-barred (what the hell does that actually mean?) personality of hers.
“No, Grams, sorry. I’m not pregnant.” I seriously wasn’t even embarrassed even though several members of my family were pointing at me and laughing.
I could tell Grams felt bad, though, so I gave her a hug and told her to please stop getting upset; in fact, she’d just given me a topic about which to write.
Because comments like that? I’d been involuntarily training for them since I was 14 years old. It’d be like asking me now to run a mile after I completed my 15th half marathon.
Bitches, please. I got this. I’ve always had this.
Oh, and by the way—I love you, Grams!