I just had a great weekend in LA where I participated in the Mixed Roots Literary & Film Festival. I was fortunate enough to be invited to read my work which was a huge honor. One of the other writers posted a picture of the event on Facebook and when I saw it I was like…. Ahhhhhh!! I’m hiding under my manuscript!!! Do you see that?? (click on it for a closeup)

For as long as I can remember, every time I sit down I have to cover up my (ginormous, bulging, incredibly HUGE) abdominal area. (I try to be anatomically correct and not say “stomach” which is the fist-sized organ inside) When I sit down on a couch, I immediately search for a cushion or pillow to hug. If that’s not available, I’ll look for a shawl, or a jacket or coat, or a book or a laptop computer or a small animal or child. ANYTHING. I feel incredibly vulnerable having my, er, abdominal area, out there. When I am at the beach or by a pool, you can bet there’s a giant beach towel the size of Rhode Island draped across my midsection. Even when I am DRIVING MY CAR, I will often fold up a sweatshirt or jacket and lay it over my seat belt. As if. As if what, I don’t know.

So imagine my surprise/not surprise when I saw this picture and what do I see? My midsection is basically blanketed in my bright-white manuscript pages. It looks ridiculous. But that’s just how instinctive and automatic that gesture is. I’m just not going to sit there without SOMEthing on top of me, and that’s all I had – six sheets of printer paper. Jeez.

Since seeing that picture I have vowed to try an experiment. I am going to try and consciously not do this. I feel like it looks stupider to have random stuff on top of my body than to just let my body be there. You know that website, Stuff on My Cat? (it’s really silly, where people lay various items on their cats and then take pictures of them) Well, I could start a new website: Stuff on my Tummy.

I’m going to try and let it all hang out there. I’m telling you it’s not going to be easy.

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