On Learning to Exhale and Give My Spleen a Staycation

I threw out my shapewear yesterday.

Surprisingly, over the years I’ve amassed quite a collection.

Unsurprisingly I was able to squeeze the entire lot of it into one small bag.

Spanx, Flexees, Wacoal, Gee You Have A Fat Asset.  Off-brand. Expensive. Bargain Brand. Spandex. Bone-in. Rib-Eye.

All designed to smooth things out. To make clothes “lie” better. That’s the line, right?

“Lie” ain’t wrong. The clothes lie. The shapeware lies. I lie to myself when I tell myself they are necessary, that they are a better version of me.

They are god-awful. For me. You may have found that unicorn comfortable camisole or high-waisted undie or full body suit that works for you. Do your thing! I salute you! May you be forever struggle-free in your attempts to wiggle out of them in a public bathroom stall in under 30 minutes (without bruising your elbows and/or ego.)

For me, it’s about time in my life where I get to be comfortable. I’m not on this earth to make my clothes look better. I’d like my clothes to do a little more work while my internal organs get a staycation.

It goes to a deeper panic, I think, that we women live in an imperfect space. We can, to some extent, cover up the (perceived) internal imperfections with charm, grace, personality, manners, deflection, awesomeness, brashness. You know, extra. Sometimes when we’re with loved ones, with good friends, or alone we can release and be wildly imperfect.

Shapewear is supposed to give you confidence if I’m reading my labels correctly.

But isn’t confidence supposed to make you feel comfortable? I have never felt comfortable in shapewear. It rolls, it redistributes, it bunches, and it calls for some micro-magic in dressing.

It’s also supposed to take that three-letter word – FAT – and make it not so. Suck it in. Hide it. Punish it. Punish you for having it.

I carried three children in my body – two at once the first time around. My midsection is soft. I have fibroids (yes, my doctor knows, no we’re not doing anything about them at this time), that make my already soft belly look two or three months pregnant. Shapewear helps somewhat with this, reducing the convexity a slight amount. Never all the way to “washboard” or “flat.”

I also have fat because I JUST DO.

Shapewear makes me sweat while putting it on and taking it off. In that respect, it’s a workout and one might argue that makes it healthy. I personally wouldn’t argue that, because that’s stupid.

What I would argue is that shapewear makes me focus on perfection and external approval. Why is looking good more important than being comfortable? Or breathing? Or un-chafed skin?

It took me awhile to get to a stage where I wasn’t paranoid that everyone was checking out each other’s bodies. Ridiculous! I reassured myself. There are countless articles about how everyone is self-absorbed, that no one is paying THAT much attention to our bodies unless we’re on a catwalk or doing some sort of performance art involving nudity and Nutella

(FYI — Nudity and Nutella is now going to be the title of my book. You may not use it.)

A few years ago, I went to a semi-formal function. Dressy – but the kind of dressy function where the women (generally) dressed up far too dressy for the event and the men (generally) were far too casual, which is another topic for another post about how can we please get our collective dress code shit together? The only thing I really know how to dress for these days is going to the pool, and that won’t fly at a Semi-Formal Business Casual Black Tie Optional Friday Fun Day Lodge event. (That’s the only kind I get invited to, anyway. Like I said, we need to address this.)

I got a dress, comfortable and appealing. I felt good. I looked good. Finally, bolstered by my own self-talk and desire to treat myself well, I resolved to not wear shapewear that night.

I wasn’t sure I was going to go through with it – not because of lack of shapewear, but because I’d had food poisoning earlier that week. I’d recovered, gastrointestinally, but I was still tired and weak.

I’d lost maybe three pounds. No biggie. They’d come back or they wouldn’t.

Hoo boy. The people who told me I looked great, so thin. Hoo boy. The one dude, who knew I’d had food poisoning, saying, “I know you were sick all week, but it works for you.”

It’s taken years to say, without at all asking you to excuse my French, Screw that guy.

Wear what you’re going to wear. Spanx yourself or not. It’s all fine.

I threw out my shapewear yesterday. I don’t give a Flying Flexee.

Ok…full-fat disclosure –

I did keep one piece.

Because I’m not perfect.

One thought on “On Learning to Exhale and Give My Spleen a Staycation

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