For America With Love: A Burrito Baby Photo Shoot

 

I’m not pregnant.img_2364

Not even a little. No babies in my belly these days.

Nor do I have a belly tumor, so fear not, dear ones.

What I do have are three things:

  1. A love of burritos (where “burrito” = all the food)
  2. A special talent for pushing my belly wall to the max
  3. The knowledge that all of us — even me — are worthy of Deep, Abiding Love, exactly as we already are. Beloved. Valued. And Beautiful. ← This is a true a truth as I know.

That why I’m making the announcement today that I am having a burrito, friends. And, as we women do for all the momentous events in our lives, I had a very special maternity photo shoot to commemorate the occasion — a photo shoot we’re calling:

Not a Baby
(Just a Burrito)

I’m giving these pics to you, America and the world, because I’m pretty sure burrito babies can help make our world a better place, and Dear God in Heaven, we need the world to be a better place right about now. 

img_2359The truth is, a few months ago, things were hard at our house. They’ve been hard before — we don’t live an uncomplicated life, after all, what with the five children and myriad special needs and we parents who are stunningly imperfect — and they’ll undoubtedly be hard again. But this time, my kid was falling wildly apart, psychiatrically speaking, which is, so far, my Very Least Favorite kind of falling-apart when it comes to our children. Mental illness is a deep, deep darkness — I would know — and it’s hard sometimes to remember to wave in the dark to the others who are waiting for dawn, as well, so we can recall we never wait alone.

It’s been a tough season, and it’s not over, but we’re on an upswing lately, and we’ve triumphed the way triumph happens in real life; by taking the next right step amidst many missteps, by breaking all the way down and cobbling ourselves partly back together, by circling back to our humans, by practicing radical self care in tiny ways, by trying to get good sleep, by reading escapist novels and a few trashy ones, and by being kind and cruel and then kind again to ourselves and our people. And, of course, by eating all the french fries, which, though completely unsustainable in the long run, is one of the best damn short-term strategies I know.image-1img_2378Listen, though: Let’s acknowledge that we do not come out of tragedy or loss or grief or even a shift of expectations unchanged. We do not come out of eating all the burritos unchanged, either. Right now, I’m wearing the past season of life in my skin.

In my skin.

In my body.

I grieved. I worked hard for my kid. I ate All the Things.

And also, I am lovely.

AND ALSO, we are lovely.

Not “but we are lovely” or “nevertheless we are lovely” or “somedayif we’re very lucky and never, ever touch a burrito again we’ll be lovely.” No. Not those things at all. We come out of tragedy and grief transformed — sometimes utterly — AND ALSO we are lovely. Little and big bellies and all; we are stunning. And we are, every single one of us, worthy of deep love and celebration. From others. From ourselves.

When we know that’s true, we can learn to laugh and love a lot, and enjoy the hell out of our lovely, stunning selves.

Including during the burrito seasons.

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In conclusion, I don’t know how long the burrito belly will last. It waxes and wanes like the moon. But I’m sure going to celebrate it while it’s here.

With abiding love,

Signature

 

 

 

P.S. Thanks to the crew, aka the Lovelies who attended the Grace and the Grime Spiritual Formation Retreat and got roped into helping with a Burrito Baby photo shoot. Y’all are good sports.

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Photo Direction:
Kim McDonough

 

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Photography:
Emily Chlumak

 

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Make-up:
Crystal Kuttner Wolf

 

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Bra and Burrito Holders:
Carrie Zelnar Hutchinson
Angelina Littrell

 

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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
21 comments
  1. This is the most beautiful tribute to the burrito I have ever seen. And if there is a food that deserves its own photo shoot, it is certainly the burrito and french fries. Thank you for honoring what is best in us….our ability to eat all the things!

  2. Can I say I love you?

    For saying ALL THE THINGS out loud instead of worrying that you are The Only One and pretending that it is possible to be invisible in the mud? For rocking the burrito instead of sidling backwards around in the hopes that rear ends are admired more than burrito bellies?

    I am in the 8 kids is a lot of kids stage (with one chocolate bar on the way), and I have so much TRUTH falling out of my ears now thanks to binge-reading your blog, that now I can laugh with my life instead of crying, and I can even cry because that works too.

    I’m Jewish and prudish, but you are 100% my sister. You say things like they are and I LOVE you for it, because now it’s okay for me to feel it and know it too. You are seriously G-d’s gift to humanity, and your hubby and your bro and your parents all your kids are AWESOME for being part of the mess and madness and sharing the love of all of it with the world.

    My gush-meter is exploding as we speak, but seriously I can’t thank you enough for the tremendous ability you’ve given me to accept my messed-up self just as I am, to find the strength in the weight-lifting of life, and to let myself love my kids weirdly and unashamedly.

    Thank you, thank you, and thank you. PLEASE keep writing. (Book. Please!)

  3. This has got to be one of the greatest blog posts ever posted. It’s got a little of everything in it, just like the burrito.

  4. LOL!!!! OMGoodness, this was hysterical. And very much needed. Thank you for your creativity and humor!

  5. I love the way you are able to take things we are barely able to admit to ourselves, draw them out into the light, and then laugh like hell at them. The way we should.

    You have the luckiest kids in the world.

    Here’s to eating a burrito with you in the dark.

  6. The shot just after you have given birth to Baby Burrito made me laugh out loud. If only I could have looked so radiant after my birth “experiences”. Hahaha! (And what a beautiful shade of pink.)

  7. Typing through tears of laughter! You are amazing and wonderful and wise! And gorgeous!
    And … I ate a burrito today! And it shows!

  8. I have nachos belly, myself.

    <3

  9. You are gorgeous and so funny=)

  10. STFU BETH.

    I love you.

  11. Oh Beth, for the love. This is spectacular. You have a really. Nice. Burrito belly. All the best in all your fighting for your kiddos. <3

  12. You are beautiful and amazing. Good work. Keep it up.

  13. I could have joined you in that photo shoot. Though I’d use a chocolate chip cookie instead of a burrito, because I eat my feelings in sweets. I’m glad I’m not the only one who has ever thought, gee, I should just go with the pregnant look! You inspire me to want to do my own photo shoot. And you look beautiful. And gorgeous and joy-filled. I pray you feel beautiful and joyful, too.

  14. You are so beautiful!

  15. Oh Beth! thank you – best photo shoot ever! And yes, yes and yes again to: We come out of tragedy and grief transformed — sometimes utterly — AND ALSO we are lovely. After 3 major abdominal surgeries and a cancer diagnosis in 3 months, that’s exactly what I was needing to remember today. Also, will you please upload me some burritos???

  16. You are beautiful.

  17. You are a burrito/not-a-baby-belly goddess! The toga/sheet/sexy burrito diva are absolutely and truly beautiful. I think you should frame a few and have them lining the wall up your stairs to remind you of your inner bad-assery.

  18. OH my god, this is so f’ing funny! I keep trying to pick my favorite. Maybe the heart-hands with a burrito resting on top, or maybe the moody, thoughtful pose just after that one. And of course the between-the-legs one is pretty awesome as well. I think I need to bookmark this post and come back to it daily to help me get through my own tough times.

    I’ve never actually been pregnant, but sometimes I do faux-pregnancy poses in the bathroom mirror with my cookie belly. You took it to a whole ‘nother level. This is why you’re the best. Hope I can get to one of the retreats in the next year!

  19. My body is definitely in a burrito season! I loved this!!! And I’m with you — all for ANYTHING that can make this world a better place right now.

    1. This is amazing! Huzzah for the embracing of burrito bodies!

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