Mr. Wright did a fair job of not appearing completely disgusted. “Did you hurt yourself, somehow?” he asked. No, I hadn’t hurt myself. This was before roller derby, after all. Today, I end up with all sorts of mysterious body damage.
I tried to ignore the dent, but over the next several weeks it deepened, and grew to the size of a silver dollar. In the middle of a caffeine-fueled medical panic session, I Googled phrases like “dimpled skin” and “skin puckers.” All results pointed to cellulite, an unfortunate substance my body produces in abundance, but even cellulite dimple images looked like porcelain compared to my back end. (A few links turned up for breast cancer, but considering the location of the pucker, I ruled it out.)
By last week, I sported a crater the size of a tangerine. I limped into the walk-in clinic for a roller derby injury—which turned out to be not a metatarsal fracture, but significant soft tissue damage—and asked, “Hey, will you look at my butt, while I’m in here?”
The doctor—a kind, grandfatherly sort—suggested I make an appointment with my primary care physician and show that lucky doctor my booty. “I don’t have a primary care doc,” I whined. “I’m not hurt or sick often enough to need one. Please, just look… It’s been there almost a year, and it’s growing.” I burst into tears before the poor man could ask why I’d been living with a cave carving its way into my rump for almost a year without seeking medical attention.
He reluctantly agreed, and I dropped my drawers. “Well, now… That’s interesting,” he said, in a mediocre attempt to conceal his repulsion. “Have you had any shots in that area?”
“Of course not,” I said. “I hate needles. Unless, of course, you’re asking about the cheap shots my husband takes at my ever-sagging rear end.”
Did I mention Mr. Wright was with me? That man never passes up an opportunity to prove me wrong. “You did have a shot,” he corrected. “Remember when you almost died last year?”
About a year ago, I was overcome by a 105-degree fever and intense pain in my upper left side. When I finally got in to see a doctor, it turned out to be bacteria pneumonia.
I don’t deal well with needles, but deal worse with phrases like “brain seizure.” When the doctor jammed a needle in my upper buttock to bring the fever down, I couldn’t protest. My fever, in fact, was so high I’d been quite delirious at the time and literally had no recollection of the poke.
The walk-in doc has a theory about my derriere divot. He thinks the shot triggered a reaction which dissolved the fat cells around the injection site, and as the fat dissipated, the crater grew. “So, how do I get it fixed?” I asked.
“The body,” the doctor said, “will typically begin generating new fat cells and filling in the area after a couple years. If it was my butt, I’d leave it alone, rather than opt for cosmetic surgery. But… I can understand how it might be distressing to a woman like you.”
I’m still not sure exactly what he meant by a woman like you, but it truly is distressing. I’m completely self-conscious, choosing loose layers of clothing and avoiding clingy dresses. And undressing in front of Mr. Wright? Forget about it.
These days, I make a point of encouraging women to feel and believe in their own beauty and sexiness, regardless of body type, features or blemishes—but I struggle with feeling beautiful, myself. Through tears, I confessed all this in the little medical room.
“Perhaps,” the doctor offered, “this is a wonderful opportunity to live by the very words you offer to others.”
So, my friends, I have a cavern in my caboose. Don’t expect a full-page image any time soon, but I’m not going to allow a cosmetic blemish hardly anyone sees deprive me of beautiful thoughts about my body. It’s a good body. It has created life, nourished a child, donated bone marrow, and somehow remains visually pleasing to my husband.
I think that’s beautiful. Don’t you?