Open Letter to my WUG

Hi WUG.  I see you there.  I bet everyone else does, too…they just don't know it because they don't know my name for you.

WUG is an acronym.  It stands for Weird Underarm Girth.  You know, the part of your body that kind of puffs out over the top of your bra band or tank tops.  I hear you're also known as "sideboob."

I came up with the nickname WUG in high school when out trying on clothes.  Tank tops are pretty standard summer fare in St. Louis because it's so darn hot, so I had lots of opportunity to see my WUG and to dislike it very much.  I had very little affection for you, WUG.

But now, that's different.  I guess I do have a certain affection for you. It's not because I suddenly love excess body fat distributed in seemingly random places.  It's just because, well, you're part of me.  Like it or not, there you are.

Same with the smile lines at the corners of my eyes and my exponentially increasing amount of gray hairs, and the muffin top pooking out over the top of my mom jeans, and the stretch marks, and the bugbite scar pitted up legs, and c-section scar, and varicose veins, and the dark, tough little hairs growing out of moles on my face, and my unruly eyebrows, and all the rest of it.  The imperfections.

I'd never make it as a supermodel unless there was liberal use of Photoshop (and as it turns out, pretty much nobody can make it without Photoshop these days, since we seem to be Photoshopping away our reasonable achievements of beauty into oblivion).  

Too many flaws.  This used to bother me quite a bit.  I never aspired to be a model, super or not, but every girl wants to know she is beautiful, and every guy wants to know he is attractive.  I spent most of my teen and college years in doubt of this and doing many of the various cultural prescriptions for beautifying.

Waxing, bleaching, dyeing, dieting, working out, Spanxing, push up braing, shaving, nail polishing, sucking it in, and most of all, despising.  That seems to be the unnamed prerequisite.  Despise something about yourself, and then buy/do whatever it takes to fix it.  

There was a rather embarrassingly long amount of time in which I assumed that the only reason I was single was because I didn't look a certain way.  It couldn't have had anything to do with my personality, my time in life, or Divine Providence. 

 No, no, it was clearly because I was a size Medium on top and a size XL on the bottom.  It was clearly because I have these weird little hair-growing moles that have a mind of their own.  It was the fat legs!  It was you, WUG, wasn't it! 

Wasn't it?

With time came perspective and lots of grace, grace to learn about myself and my insides mattering more than my outsides.  I began to accept myself more as I was instead of looking at myself with disgust.

Then came this guy, who married me at my top weight and has spent more time around me while I'm pregnant than while I'm not.  

And speaking of pregnant, this WUGalicious body has produced some rather adorable offspring (who have contributed to its further stretchy, pooky, squishy nature). 

WUG, I'm not even calling a truce, because that would imply that there's still a battle raging.  The battle's pretty much over.  I'm still working out, and I still need to eat healthily.  I'm still not always happy with how clothes fit me, and I don't know when--if ever--I'll be wearing clothes whose size label is considered acceptable by whatever cultural standard is prevailing these days.

But I'm not really fighting you and hating your existence anymore.  You just are.  Not even sure what I'd look like without you, really, and I don't think you really bother anyone else.  You're just a happy little WUG, occupying some really undesirable real estate come summer time.  Good on ya, WUG.

You just keep WUGging along, and I'll just keep remembering, a day at a time, that I am in fact living the life I always wanted.  I'm a wife and mommy.  My body is a gift from God, and to despise it or any part of it for even one more day is just another culturally-sanctioned blasphemy against my Creator.

Rock on, WUG.  I got your back.  Or…maybe you've got mine.


  1. This is awesome Jenny! You go girl!

  2. I would never have noticed the WUG- I think the top picture of you is gorgeous!

  3. 1.) I love you and your family
    2.) skype personal training sessions. when.
    3.) you are my inspiration
    -your little brother chris

    1. Skype personal training: is that one of the services you offer now that you're a certified personal trainer? That's pretty rad! I can only hope it involves the kind of personal training tips that our little sister gave you when she was only a bit older than Ruby is now…lift a milk jug full of soda can tabs with your pinky finger. Remember that one?

    2. Oh, and thanks! You are pretty inspiring yourself! Everyone I tell about you is quite impressed that I'm related to you. Although, I have been telling them that your name is Jon and my maiden name was Hamm. Is that wrong?

  4. Jenny, this is so beautiful and inspiring!! I couldn't agree more. I have always considered you one of the most beautiful people I've ever known in my life. I've been learning to love my body again as a spiritual center, no matter what it looks like . We can take care of ourselves by eating well, caring what we put into our body and giving it the exercise it needs to be healthy. I figure if I'm doing my best on those fronts, then whatever it looks like is a-OK with me. I think every woman on this earth has body issues, and thats just plain stupid! Thanks so much for the beautiful post and for sharing your beauty with the world!!! Lots of Love! -Colleeny

  5. Just went clothes shopping for an upcoming trip. I always walk out feeling less than. Loved that I read this in the car ride home. I feel *much* better about all of my WUG-tastic like additions of late. :)


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