My favorite body part? I don't know what that is; I might have to sift through piece by piece until I figure it out. But among my earliest memories is this sentence - and I remember it well because I heard it relentlessly throughout my childhood: "Geez kid, you've got a bony bum!"
"Geez kid, you've got a bony bum!"
"Geez kid, you've got a bony bum" was the response most adults gave me as I wiggled and squirmed around with my sit bones digging into their thigh bones whenever I went to seek comfort from a lap. It turns out laps are only as warm, soft, and willing as the bum that sits upon them, as I learned and learned again each time strong hands lifted me up by the armpits and deposited me back on the ground.
I hate this bony, boyish bum! My mother's thin, square hips, flat bottom and short torso are offset by my dad's long legged leanness, and whichever one's gene pool provided the decent breasts - the only real give-away that a girl lives in this body. In the summer before 7th grade, newcomers again in another small town, the first group of kids we met commented on my sister and I as they rode off on their bikes into the setting sun. "Which one do you like?" Billy asked Pat, who replied, "They both seem ok to me, but I can't figure out why that kid has bigger tits then his sister."
Once Pat figured out I was a girl, he was pretty eager to get his hands on them, but my lower half still seems to be better suited to a prepubescent boy. It's impossible to find pants to fit this bum nicely; they are either too tight and ride way up, or too loose and droop down like I've just pooped in my diapers. Stretch pants and skirts fall straight to the floor if I don't literally tie them to me, and "gusset" or not - that crotch is unseemly most of the time.
It's the one body part I just can't get comfortable with. A tomboy anyway, I feel awkward even attempting to wear "girly clothes" and I am always conscious of that flat, non-existent, non-heart-shaped, non-pretty bum. It's my worst part. No question.
Except I'm kind of certain that I owe my career to it. That bony bottom, squirming on laps, also squirmed on hard wooden school chairs, church pews and the seats around the dining room table. Rolling off my sit bones and into the soft, thin, fatless layer of flesh behind them and collapsing into my curving low back was one strategy I took to find comfort, until my back ached with the effort of holding me, and I learned to squeeze my bony bum just hard enough to sit up straight, using my muscles, not my nonexistent fat, to cushion me.
That squeeze, that strength, that connection to the straight spine and pelvis that allowed me to sit without pain, is the foundation of the work that I do in the world. What a lucky bum!
If I sat on your lap today, you'd probably still tell me I have a bony bum, and drop me back to earth by the armpits, but I guess I'm going to have to love this bony little bottom after all.
What's your favorite body part?