Tis the season for Spanx. Fa la la la la, a big fat nope.
Can we please just take a minute and talk about a major issue the women of our nation are currently facing?
Underwear shopping. Where your options have been reduced to a suffocating body suit or some nearly invisible string.
You know what’s more fun than going underwear shopping? Well, for starters, a root canal. Without novocaine. Done by a blind circus monkey. Or being forced to watch 197 consecutive episodes of Celebrity Apprentice. Commercial free. While someone is simultaneously dragging their nails down a chalk board next to you. Or God forbid, all of the above.
I was reminded of some hard truths this past week. I had been feeling really sorry for myself. My current medication regiment has changed my body. Completely. I am being prescribed the max of a particular drug, which is in and of itself a massive bag of nopes. I know, cue the violins. Medication for the mentally ill has it’s incredible rewards. And some other not so incredible ones. Otherwise charmingly known as “side effects.” These are dandy. So is staying alive. So my options are fat and alive or thin and possibly dead.
So I got fat. Can I say that? I know it’s politically incorrect. Cause honestly, that is how I feel. The real kind. Not the skinny girl complaining that she is fat kind either. Not the 10 to 20 lbs over your ideal, healthy weight kind. I am at least 50 lbs heavier than I was just a year ago. And I am only 5 feet tall. So I’ve essentially gained another small human being on my body. I am heavier than I have ever been in my life. Including my twin pregnancy. I am having serious back problems that make it hard to breath from the pain. And to sleep. And to care about myself enough to do basic self care things like shower and brush my teeth. Or shave my legs. Mother of mercy.
My poor husband.
And when I say fat I also don’t mean the “look at that fat girl over there” kind of fat either. The insult. I use the term fat because I literally feel large and uncomfortable and miserable and it is the only word that actually feels accurate to me right now. It’s not a statement about others. Just me. Me and all this excess weight I’m dragging’ around like an overworked drug mule. Saying I am bigger or that I’ve gained some weight just doesn’t seem to do my current state justice.
Being a mother has this way of moving your own needs to the back of the line. And you don’t even realize it’s happening. Until one day it occurs to you that you haven’t seen a dentist in a decade, your hair has turned gray, you haven’t peed alone in over four years, and everything you own is from 1986. Your children, however, have all of the things. And you wouldn’t have it any other way.
My shoes don’t even fit anymore. I had no idea that feet could even gain weight. I mean, I understand the new extra chin I’m sporting, to which I also completely object, btw. But my Frye Boots?!! Noooooo! These were one of the only good things happening in my wardrobe as it was. And If you don’t know what Fryes are, you are welcome. You may have to sell one of your family members or a kidney in order to buy them but let me tell you, they are worth it.
NONE of my clothes fit me anymore. This is not an exaggeration. Now when I try in desperation to zip up what used to be my loose fitting winter coat, I cut off the oxygen supply and blood flow to several key parts of my body. It’s fine. I don’t need my arms. Or the ability to move.
Honestly, I was living in denial about it until last week when what I am now referring to as “the incident” occurred. My already failing underwear ripped completely and fell off my body as I was putting them on. As in, right onto the floor. Like it was just letting me know, as I stared down in a dire state of panic and self loathing, that it was just not down with the current working conditions anymore and therefore no longer willing to participate in being my undergarment.
You guys, I killed my panties.
And after a lot of tears and refusals, my husband finally forced me out of bed and into the car and drove me to the Mall of America where they sell every kind of lady garment imaginable. A place where women go to give up on themselves in horribly lit fitting rooms that are about as effective as those carnival mirrors that warp what you see. And the every angle possible house of mirrors changing rooms are adorned by stickers of video cameras just to remind you that should you actually work up the courage to take your clothes off and try something on over the current embarrassing excuse for underwear you have on, someone somewhere is watching you. And pointing. And laughing. And will most likely be posting it on the internet.
By the way, if anyone heard muffled wailing, it was probably me. In the fetal position on the floor of the last stall. Because the light was broken in that one and I wrongly assumed this would help lessen the severity of the self viewing portion of the buying underwear exercise. It did not.
Miles and miles, store after store, rows and rows, table after table. Underwear. All colors. All sizes. All types. Dear Jesus. Can someone just knock me out. I feel like there should be a better incentive to go underwear shopping. Like massive couches that make you feel supermodel thin, tv monitors only showing pictures of things like kittens, and unicorns, and rainbows. And maybe an occasional photo of Ryan Gosling Jr. Oh, and there should be free snacks. Because after 5 minutes in the first store I wanted to go home. And by go I home, I mean return to my house where I would never again leave. Ever. Because I don’t own underwear anymore. I mean, where are the pictures of real women in super awkward yet realistic poses? That would be really helpful. I wanna see a floor to ceiling poster of Madge from HR just chillin in her camo briefs. Let’s lower the bar a little before we shame women who haven’t even made it to the changing room yet.
You know what store I refuse to enter? Dare I say the name? I’ll give you a hint. Starts with Vicroria and ends with her not so secret $100 pair of twine traps that will only bring you pain and misery. And a lot of chaffing. Listen here Vicky, we aren’t 18 anymore and your secret is out. You are not our friend. You are a liar.
I shouldn’t have to wade through 16 mounds of thongs before anything even remotely resembling functional underwear comes into view. I’m a mom. I’ve had two children, for the love. I need something to hold in all my lady bits. Not dental floss. And I still want to feel like a woman. I don’t need a vacuum sealing trash bag. Cause you know what might be totally effective in defying gravity by shoving all your extra body flub into voids in your body cavity you didn’t even know you had? Spanx. That’s right. Even the name sounds like a punishment. Which is accurate because putting a pair of these hope killers on qualifies as my workout for a month. I pulled a muscle and may or may not have fallen over.
If my underwear requires: over 20 minutes to put on, an assistant, the removal of a rib, special breathing exercises, at least 3 yoga poses, reaching your target heart rate for the day, a magic trick, the quoting of scripture, or the desire to do life naked from now on, they do not get the job.
Dear Santa, this year I just want something that is both functional AND fashionable to cover the baby maker. Please. This is Minnesota. Frostbite on my no no place is not okay.
What I do recognize in the most beautiful of ways right now is that regardless of my current wardrobe deficiencies and personal weight gain, I really am blessed. Blessed because I am alive. Because I have a clearly diagnosed issue that is being well cared for by both professionals and family members that love me unconditionally. Blessed that I have a home and the most incredible husband and children a person could ask for. Blessed that God saw fit to create me. Faults and all.
Today while I was begrudgingly getting ready to go out with my family for dinner, I was attempting to weed wack the sad excuse of an overgrown garden I call my eyebrows. This requires good lighting. Which also happens to show you every single scar, blemish, ugly man whisker that keeps coming back on your chin, etc…that you have. I was trying to keep my spirits up when my 4 year old Avery came in. He walked over and after watching me for about a minute he said in the most adorable voice, “You look really good.” And he meant it.
I am blessed because my husband and boys don’t just love me. No matter how I might be feeling about myself, they see beauty. Always. And that is the best Christmas present anyone could ever give this Mama. Underwear are important, but not more important than honesty. And self care. And unconditional love.
P.S. I caved and bought a pair of the Spanx. For emergencies. Or to punish myself when I’ve had too many donuts. Again.