Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Navel-gazing (or Oscar Goldman is building me a bionic belly button)

I didn't want to freak anyone out with a photo of my actual belly button right off the bat... But my belly button is, in fact, what this blog post is about. I know, right??

Today I am engaging in literal navel-gazing but not because I am excessively self-absorbed. I mean, maybe I'm being a bit self-absorbed; I can see that this isn't really a relevant topic for anyone besides me, and maybe Martha, who is a big fan of my belly button in its current incarnation. There is no conceivable reason why anyone should be at all interested in this story. But I like to keep you abreast of my current goings-on. With my navel. Among other things.

The bold truth is: I am an outie. I have been an outie ever since I was born. My sister once tried to tell me it was because the doctor botched the job of cutting the umbilical cord when I was born, like he sneezed or something and the scissors slipped and he didn't quite make the cut where he planned and then bam, I'm stuck with this goofy-looking belly button the rest of my life. I'm not sure that's really accurate, but you know, older sisters will tell you all kinds of crap to try and torture you, make you think there is totally something wrong with you. And I did, too. Think there was something wrong with me. I thought the freakishly protruding nub in the middle of my stomach was clearly something to be ashamed of, something to hide from people. Only my closest friends could ever possibly know the terrible secret I carried under my shirt. And even still, I was never sure I would be accepted once I had revealed my mark of shame, or whether, upon exposure, my friends would shun me in horror and tell all the world of my gross deformity. I had an active imagination, I guess.

I have only one photo of the belly button of my youth:
This is a photo of my sister, Carrie, and I from 1986 when my high school friends and I went to Mazatlan for our Senior-year-Spring-Break-drunken-let's-pretend-we're-so-grown-up-I-can't-believe-none-of-us-died-vacation. My sister, two years older than I, was one of our "chaperones" (please be sure to visualize air quotes here). She was brutally strict with us girls, except for that one afternoon when she disappeared with Alan, the other chaperone, and they returned to our motel later that evening super stoned dazed and covered with sand. Huh... Whatchoo guys been up to?

So why am I talking about my belly button?

Today is a big day. The end of an era. I'm going to intentionally let a surgeon slice me open in order to correct the freak-show flaw that has been my belly button for the past 45 years. Not because I want to pursue a career as a swimsuit model, as fun and potentially lucrative as that might seem. More like so that my middle-aged self can cough without the fear of popping a section of my digestive track out the hole in my abdominal wall. Glamorous, huh?

It's called hernia surgery. That's why it sounds so glamorous.

In case you are curious, and even if you are not, I thought I would capture a parting shot of the fleshy little blob before it was fixed (sorry):

Then Martha and I thought maybe we'd have some fun with it. Maybe the belly button would like to go incognito to surgery.

Weird? Perhaps.

I'm undecided about an "AFTER" photo. It might be too strange. Or not strange enough. Maybe I will have moved on to obsessing over a different flaw. We've all got 'em.

P.S. The reason I was convinced to bare my midriff in that bikini in spite of the previous policy of concealment at all cost? One word: boys. Oh what a teen-age girl will do to try to win them over.

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