For four decades, I surmise. Entirely disciplined, looking out for itself. It knew it would get a severe aria of scolding if it misbehaved.
My tummy when I was in college had a perpetual measurement-watcher: the waistline of our maroon skirt. Yup! A skirt! If you couldn’t zip up your side zipper, that meant trouble for the tummy.
However, if your skirt kind of swirled around your waistline after you zipped up, that caused a New Year’s Eve of firecrackers and fireworks!
That was when I was in college.
On to my stage actress career after college. Your tummy didn’t get your attention because it remained pauper-ly thin, because you don’t get paid enough for your art.
You just do it for the passion of loving what you are doing.
This was when I learned both the abyss and the Alps of what passion and work should be.
If you don’t have any passion for what you are doing, whether it be needlework, football or CEO, you fail.
Then, advertising called. Yup, the pay was good and my tummy behaved because people in advertising kick you out of their subconscious if your tummy greets them first before your lips do: “Top of the morning, sir!”
It was easy to keep tummy-tight in advertising. You are in overnight shoots, endless meetings for three TV commercials you are doing all at the same time, and a radio commercial on the side.
Yummy buffet. Winner of “Top Chef, Manila.” The client the hungry monster and the agency the master chef and you, the producer, the crumbs.
And if your TV commercial didn’t have the right aesthetics, the right oomph, and didn’t break on the right date, you don’t get dessert.
You’re thrown into the garbage bin labeled “recycled.”
The rest of your life calls during this decade and after.
You do the stupid thing called falling in love.
You fall in love with the one casually called “the wrong man.”
People are shouting into your ear about how plainly stupid you are, but because l’amour is deaf, blind and dumb, you go ahead.
Your tummy really gets silly-crazy here. Uuuuuhhmm. I wanna be the sexiest woman for him. The skinniest, with a tummy almost clinging to my ribs.
Success! I’ve been invited to the Red Carpet!
Then you find out your husband, earlier called the “wrong man,” is escorting somebody else.
Your best friend.
Your tummy gets thinner because of retching!
Soon, you get into your ’50s.
And so does your tummy. From 26 inches to 32 inches, and you think the branded shirt you’re trying on in the dressing room is tagged wrongly.
But you won’t give up.
Hang out, tummy. Go ahead. Hang out for various reasons that are associated with (Can I say it? Of course I can!) advanced age, commonly known as old age.
You’ll get there, I promise you. Advanced age, I mean.
The late nights are now spent studying your iPad, cruising the latest book, or checking out papers and reading them thoroughly, if you’re a teacher. Like me.
That means you sit the whole day.
And your tummy gets to stretch its arms and legs for a good day’s sleep, blowing itself into a balloon.
Facebook, Twitter, Google—vacation islands you go to, and you get lost in their other-worldly spikes for three hours without you noticing it—all in the little tummy-monster called the desk computer and its sister, the laptop, both keeping your lap atop, and your tummy melting at the edges of your thighs.
Suddenly, while standing up, you can’t see the shoes you’re wearing anymore.
Yeah, ye olde made-to-suffer tummy strikes back.
It’s a God-given ode to His Creation. And this ode says: A busting tummy should come with wisdom. Wisdom learned and wisdom to-be.