Omphalophobia, or science-fiction time-traveling bellybuttons.

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I’m writing a story – well, I’ve got two lines so far, at least – about science-fiction time-traveling bellybuttons.

(pause)

Yeah, and as I say… Well, look at it like this. I suffer from omphalophobia, let’s begin there. My name’s Alex, and I’m an omphalophobic.

It sounds like a sleepy mole coming grunting and blinking up out of a hole in the lawn. But that isn’t what it means, at all. What it means – to prove that I can make use of Google just as quick as anyone – is fear of bellybuttons. Yeah, it’s not made-up! (Well, it’s there on Google’s page of search results, anyhow. It’s on Wikipedia. That makes it a real thing, right?)

And I ought to know, because I’ve suffered from it most of my life. Not that I would have known what to call it. And I did not know that it was a thing, that other people experienced too! Thereby lending it validity and credibility, of course. I’m not just crazy, and liable to pull grossed-out faces and poke a finger at my navel in horror and disgust while getting out of the shower – shrieking at my partner all the while, about how come we can’t be cyborgs and get rid of this weird fleshy reminder of being mammals anyhow – because I’m nuts.

(I mean, it’s where the cord gets cut, and heals up. And what if it never heals up, not quite all the way? Then you’ve got, like, a little expressway into you, all septic and rotten and yuck, a highway to your innards...)

Wouldn’t it be nice to be a Ken or Barbie, and just have a smooth midriff with no yucky fleshy indent? Yeah, I know there would be other drawbacks…

So the thing about navels, they’re where the cord connected you to the mother, right? And, if you’re female and have kids, then you have kids branching off you – in the dimension of time – via the placental cord, connecting you to your kids via their navels too. Which makes them – and you – basically branches, or twigs, or tiny little leaves or budlets – through time, of a fleshy tree that exists chronologically, rather than spatially.

(This is why I’m calling the story ‘A Fleshy Tree Through Time’.)

And something about that thought is just damn weird.

In the story, I figure the heroine will be able to travel directly through time into the bodies of forebears or descendants. Via the POWER OF CASTLE BELLYBUTTON! Because she can see the Body of the Tree at a meta-level above time. Pseudo-chloroplasts or some other equivalent to plant organelles, in the whole Body, may be involved in the time-travelin’ process.

Look, I may not have this quite fleshed out and detailed, as far as process and world-building are concerned.  But I’m getting there!

Of course, men are excluded from the time-travelly process by definition: they’re dead-ends, evolutionary twigs that bear no fruiting buds or blossom. No childbirth = no placental cord = no more twigs. Useless, but pretty.

… Just sayin’.

We’re all just one big fleshy tree, and if we could get outside of time then we could see that. Root and bole and branch and twig, leaf and flower and fruit. All part of the same organism, just warring with itself.