“Suck it up, suck it in, let me begin,” is the mantra of most women who wear shapewear. We want our panty lines invisible, our cellulite smoothed, and our fat pushed into the recesses of our ankles where no one will see it. I have more shapewear than Carter has pills, as the old adage from the time when corsets were en vogue goes. I have thigh slimming, belly tightening, derriere lifting, back fat squashing, panty line removing pieces. I alone have kept the shapewear manufacturers in business, but not anymore.
Because here’s the thing: Recently my love of shapewear came to a screeching halt, and at the most inopportune time; I had squished my robust self into, not one, but two types of boa-constricting wear. Maybe I’m an overachiever, but I was set to go up on stage in front of a hundred people and the last thing I wanted to be was bulging in the wrong locations. I have made the mistake of asking a woman if she was pregnant when she wasn’t, and by the looks of my midsection I was pushing my second trimester. An intervention was needed, and stat. Cue the all-over-thigh-to-bosom ensemble, which left my belly begging for release and my thighs crying in agony. On top of that, I pulled on a slimming hope-you-don’t-care-about-inhaling dress number. This may have been mistake number one, or two, hard to say mainly because I couldn’t.
As my time to go on stage crept closer, my ability to breathe lessened. I fixated on the sudden but irrefutable belief that a snake disguised as shapewear was coiled around my rib cage. My anxiety was spiking. What if I busted out of my confines like a bad can of Bisquick while I was on stage?! I had to escape. The only answer was to excuse myself to the restroom and remove both of my shapewear pieces, prior to my on-stage performance. It was the thought that counted right? Who cares if anyone thought I was with child, at least I would be able to breathe.
I tried to sneak into the ladies room, but ran into some friends who had come out to support me, just as my shapewear was, but with a little less death grip. I disclosed I was over my affair with my viselike undergarments. They laughed and nodded, agreeing that being a woman is a literal pain. No man is throwing his out-of-shape body into anything so form fitting his head might pop off. Why was I?
I removed my garments in the restroom and gasped much needed oxygen into my burning lungs. I then exited the bathroom, triumphantly holding the demon undergarments over my head like a trophy to a chorus of giggles and high fives. Next I took the stage with my not-so-perfect body, and announced to the audience how my evening had started with two sets of shapewear but now my body was free, saggy, and blissfully able to inhale. The thunderous applause and nods of approval from the other women in the audience made every cellulite pucker worth it. It may be nice to feel good about your body, but it is even better to accept your body for what it is, imperfections and all. Not to mention how good it feels to breathe.
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