Monday, August 26, 2013

By the time Spanx will fit me properly I will no longer require them.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Spanx, please allow me to explain. Spanx is the name of a brand of undergarment that Satan created. The purpose of this undergarment is two-fold: one, to humiliate you by adding to your already struggling body image, and two, to push various areas of lumpiness, flabbiness, and pudge around to other areas to make it seem as though there is no problem. This garment is somehow supposed to "smooth" and "refine" your "problem areas" so that you can wear clothes that you probably shouldn't be wearing in the first place.

So I bought some.

The first time I wore them was when we attended a fund-raiser for the children's hospital.  It was a casual/dress up kind of thing in the winter - the kind of event where something slinky and sparkling would be just right. Sequin top, black pants, peep-toe heels, and a killer clutch and I would be all set. At home, in the privacy of my bathroom mirror (which has yet to learn how to lie and tell me what I want to hear) I re-tried the top that fit great in the store and dimmed the lights a little to get the magical glitz effect. As I turned for a better look (and to watch myself shine) I noticed bulges that most certainly did not need to be "played up." Some things just do not need to sparkle. But wait- I have my Spanx - everything will be fine!

If you have never worn these things, here is my warning: give yourself plenty of time to put them on. You may need to rest for a bit in the middle of the exercise. Be patient. Rome wasn't built in a day. Try to think of the end result; for me, it was the mantra of "It's for the kids!" After all, it is a fundraiser for a good cause.

Once on, I donned the pretty top and convinced myself that I looked better. Way less comfortable, but better. Places that had made me cringe before somehow looked tighter, as though they were just large muscles that were slightly misplaced. The outfit as a whole was smoother and I was considerably warmer, probably due to the workout of squeezing my entire upper body into something that resembled a cross between a slingshot and body armor.

This next issue is a little delicate. The Spanx I bought was a one-piece ordeal. I waited as long as I could. It went, surprisingly, fairly well. I managed to half undress and dress in the stall with very little effort. The line did not grow past the inner corridor and most of the women in line remained fairly calm. After all, I had done my share of waiting as well; while standing in line I sized several of the other women up and determined that they were sporting Spanx as well. "Mmm Hmm," nodding my, head, "I feel 'ya girlfriend," I could see myself doing as one after another sister emerged from the stall victorious, held together by spandex and glistening with a combination of sequins and sweat.

The next time I wore them I was not so successful. It happened at church. It was the last event of the ministry calendar year and I was assuming the role of director, to be announced at our annual banquet. In addition, I was speaking about my recent health scare where my head almost exploded. So, I was already a little self-conscious and, in addition to my head being filled with dots from old brain trauma, it was filled with details about running a banquet for 80 women.

But there was a high point- or at least I thought it was. When I was dressing this time I discovered a convenient slit in a convenient area of the garment that would make life more...convenient. Eureka! These people weren't as cruel as I thought they had been---I no longer have to undress in the bathroom stall! I wish I had saved all the tags so I could send them a proper thank you.

As the evening progressed and I was about to go on stage in front of women I love, admire, and often resent for the same reasons I love and admire them, I figured I'd better...prepare myself by eliminating any "distractions." The slit betrayed me and caused me to now have a major wardrobe malfunction of epic proportions. Now I had to enter the sanctuary filled with women who were eager to top off the night of good food and fellowship with music, devotion, and a word from their new leader. They had no clue that her trembles were not from nerves of speaking in front of them or of now becoming the leader of this extremely worthwhile ministry, but that she would be facing them with the lumps and bumps and bulges of middle age. (The Spanxmonster was stuffed into a zip-lock bag in my tote bag awaiting further discipline.)

Looking back, I now know that I was shown, once again, by our kind and loving God that we all have lumps and bumps and bulges. They come in different forms but they still come. Some of them we allow Him to mold and shape and renew. Others we hang on to and don't let Him change, despite the fact that He can and He wants to. As I spoke to the ladies and allowed the Holy Spirit to strengthen me in sharing recollections from a very scary time, I saw the love in their eyes, the compassion, and the connection. It didn't matter to them whether I was less "put-together" than before. It didn't matter at all. They loved me anyway. And so does He, bumps, and lumps, and bulges and all.

Will I wear the Spanx again? Absolutely; combined with a regimen of diet, exercise, and humility they work just fine.

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