Have you ever heard of a banana roll?
No, it's not a delicious pastry; it's a little roll of fat under my right butt cheek. I have a third cheek, if you will. This thing gives me major heebies when I even think about publicly donning a bikini. Like any part of a woman's body which deviates from the big, scary "norm," I can't help but think everyone one the beach would cease whatever preoccupied and unify to point and laugh at the girl with the third butt cheek.
I was a fat kid. I was the slowest kid to finish The Mile every single year in gym class. In middle school, I wore the same tent-sized Bam Mergera (IT WAS MIDDLE SCHOOL, FORGIVE ME) hoodie every single day; it did wonders to hide the rolls of skin beneath my shirt. I’d like to be able to tell you that I wasn’t ashamed of my body, but truthfully, I just can’t remember if I was or not.
There were definite times of angry embarrassment illuminating red hot cheeks like when a boy told my “fat ass” to get out of his seat in second period English. But, Lord knows, I never gave up my daily ritual of patiently watching the microwave for four minutes as it cooked my afterschool chicken fingers.
At a time when my friends all had a username moniker and avatars instead of faces and actual names, food makes for an excellent real life companion.
Then, after middle-school graduation, my body changed just as it happened for my mother and her mother long before that. I grew up and thinned out. The thin privilege I gained in high school when my body started to settle into what it is today made for some drastic changes.
No one feels free to lob insults (or objects) at me anymore, no one calls me the "thing" that makes my tall and lean best friends look so good anymore, and no one dares to try and tell me not to show off my body.
My booty for instance, is a part of me that I love. I love it in pants, in leggings, and, lord, have you seen a nice ass in a maxi skirt? If I could, I would conduct the body acceptance train, screaming “I LOVE MY BODY” like a train horn. The only problem is that I can't help but to whisper “except,” and feel like I'm hiding a dark, dirty secret beneath my clothes... again.
The same insecurity from middle school had manifested itself in a new form.
“This ass is not what it seems,” my brain would tell me every time I’d drop it low. “Watch out for that third wheel down there,” every time I’m invited to swim. I’ve waded through department store bikini sections trying to find the perfect bottoms to conceal the little somethin’ extra that makes a new debut each year, and each year I fail.
So I resort to old middle school tactics of waiting until everyone else is in the water paying me no mind to take off my clothes and then slip into the water as swiftly as possible. Every moment from bikini exposure to the safety of the water the dark, irrational parts of my brain taunts, “They’ll know. If they see it, they’ll know about your fat ass in that guy’s seat!”
Seeing it in words really displays the absurdity.
Banana rolls are so uncommon that I’ve never been told that this is a problem in need of a fix. No women’s magazine has featured a tip on how to “nix that pesky third ass cheek” in their annual bikini body articles. Then I realized that I was the only person in my life who has defined this as a problem. I’m the only person facing the mirror backwards pinching at extra fat and flesh in disgust in some irrational fear of my past self.
Well, fuck that.
When I sat down to write this article I wrestled primarily with one thing: why the fuck am I writing this? Where’s the purpose in writing an entire article about insecurity that transcends a decade? Duh, post a picture of my most shame-inducing spot on the internet, and flip all of those nasty, home-grown thoughts on their head. I’m not going to hide anymore. Meet my banana roll.