I was inspired by a Facebook post of one of my friends that asked us to embrace our heavier, imperfect older bodies. I want to feel comfortable in my body. But, always, my belly gets in the way.

This is my belly. On my more humorous days, I call it my “Winking Anchor,” but most days I just think of it as my lumps.

Please ignore the streaks on our bathroom mirror. I could clean them, but they are a perfect metaphor of the exhaustion my belly has caused me.

This belly holds faint scars of a gallbladder surgery and a tubal ligation. The bottom of my “anchor” is the result of two emergency c-sections. Nothing is ever easy with my belly.

The gash down the…


Photo by Lubomirkin on Unsplash

Parenting books say that around the time your child enters school, they should be capable of taking over their own bathing. But they can’t be responsible for filling the tub on their own because a) they could cause a flood and b) they will sit in the tub until the water grows cold, which takes too long. Thus, we have always transitioned our kids to showers during this crucial developmental time.

Son #1 took to this new form of cleaning like a duck to water. Unfortunately, he also bathed like a duck in water, enjoying the splash of the warm…


The last rhino finishes her only race in dead last

Part III: The Runs

“Look, it’s Elaine!”

My dad is pointing at the television, where the Robin Williams Jumanji is playing. It’s the scene where the aunt has jumped out of her car, unable to believe that a stampede of jungle and savanna animals is careening through the suburban street.

“Ha, ha, very funny,” I mutter, realizing my dad has been pointing at the lone rhino who is running quite a ways behind the rest of the herd.

Sad, but true. My career as a cross country runner was over before it began, and I only managed to finish one 3k race the whole…


The author, age 14

Part II: Because Puberty Isn’t Bad Enough

I can remember the exact moment I realized that the image we have of our body in our head is not necessarily what others see.

I had two friends over, and we were probably eight or nine. Back then for some reason, I loved leotards, though I was neither a dancer nor a gymnast. I also spent a lot of time playing with some old swaths of purple spandex fabric leftover from a sewing project my mom took on before I was born. …


The author eats on the itchy brown couch

Part I: A Nervous Stomach

The vomiting began on or around my birthday.

I don’t remember now which birthday, probably eighth or ninth, but I do remember the sort of indignation that comes when you are a child whose special day has been spoiled by something mildly irritating.

Except, this wasn’t merely an irritating illness. There was vomiting, there was diarrhea, and even ice cubes came back up in the yellow bile that was the only contents left in my digestive tract. …


Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

Even before I was old enough to drive, I had stress nightmares behind the wheel of a car I couldn’t control. The earliest version I remember had me careening down a hill with no brakes, my pet Froggy (an invasive species once given away during Girl Scout overnight trips to the COSI museum in Columbus) in a bowl riding shotgun with water sloshing onto the upholstery.

Once I actually learned to drive, the nightmares became more specific. I could attempt to steer the car, but it never seemed to go quite where I had intended. Speed was no longer the…


https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Maslow%27s_hierarchy_of_needs.svg

Anyone who has taken a basic economics course will recognize the image above. There’s a rational order to survival, and if you skip some levels, you’re putting your life at risk.

The same type of hierarchy can be created for those of us with chronic illness. At the bottom are the diseases that can kill you in some way, and you have to treat those diseases first before you move on to treating other issues.

For me, Crohn’s disease is the base of everything. If I don’t treat my Crohn’s disease, my intestines will become blocked and rupture, as they…


We sat in the pastor’s office with a set of surveys to judge our compatibility. It was one of those fill-in-the-bubble tests where you answered things like “On a scale of 1 to 10, children are important to a happy marriage,” or, “True or False: It is important to me that our children be baptized.” We were given the proper #2 pencils and sent to opposite corners to record our answers and return to compare notes.

My first husband and I were not religious. He had been raised Presbyterian, and I had been raised Catholic, but neither one of us…


When I was four or five years old, my family moved to a small former farm outside of Akron, Ohio. A good three to five acres of the lawn were mown on a regular basis, and we enjoyed things like a softball game that used a walnut tree as first base, rides in a go-kart my cousins had, or just swinging from my rope swing or swing set.

But from the time we got there, my favorite thing to do was wander the grounds. From treks through the adjacent woods with my grandmother searching for blackberries, or circling the big…


Back in the mid 90s CD players were just taking off. I saved months of babysitting money to buy a tiny boom box with a CD player and dual cassette deck. On the player was a new button, labeled “Repeat.” What did this button do? Why was it there? Flip through the manual and it is all made clear — this button is for playing a track on a CD over again instead of moving on to the next song on the album.

My friends and I could see the appeal of hearing a song again, but why not just…

Elaine Betting

Recovering librarian who needs an outlet for all of the ideas whipping about my brain

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