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Where It All Begins:

Once again today, I am gazing at my navel. Not contemplating it, just gazing at it morosely--no, just staring at it with hostility, mourning lost youth. On some occasions, the intensity of this reverie moves me to tears. I practice this reverse down-lifting meditation to lower my self-esteem at least once a day. If I really start counting, I guess it's a lot more often than that--obsessive even--after every bath, sometimes while sitting on the toilet, almost every time I change clothes. I don't get a chance to do it if I'm in a rush to get dressed because I hear my beloved husband coming up the stairs.  He hasn't seen my navel more than three times in the past four years, and he's not allowed to touch it. That's because it's ugly.

Coughing my way through the first bout of pneumonia produced a cracked rib and a teensy little tear in the ring of muscle that surrounds the navel.  The second round of pneumonia two years later irritated that rib something awful and finished the job on the navel.  I gave myself an umbilical hernia. I have an out-ey now, and I despise it, loath it with every fiber of the rest of my ... too flowery. Let's just say it looks like a damn elephant trunk, and I can't stand the sight of it, and I can't stop looking at it.
How I Lost My Belly Button and Found Myself
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