If we are being honest, I had to have my friend cut my Spanx off with scissors. Twice. I swear – no joke. The second time, I swore them off. And I haven’t looked back.
If you don’t know what Spanx is, it’s a modern day torture device. (No offense, Spanx lovers. I just can’t hang.) For real though, they are shapewear. I was talking to a friend of mine about this blog – and she didn’t know what they were either, so here is a brief summary. They are undergarments. That are super tight. And they are made to lift your booty, flatten your tummy, and smooth out any wrinkles, dips, or crevices that you don’t want seen through your clothes. Think skin tight dress.
Understand, it wasn’t recent that Krissie had to cut my SPANX off. It was like 10 years ago. I have been SPANX free ever since. But picture it. We had went to a Chamber of Commerce event. I had on a gorgeous dress that was fitted. I was super self-conscious of my tummy and thighs in this dress, though. Well, let’s put on some SPANX. Voila! My body was looking pretty good, if I do say so myself.
For the first couple of hours, I was ok. Those suckers were tight, but I was good. I was feeling confident knowing that I was all tucked in. Then we sat. And then I felt the top start to roll down. (Please note * the SPANX I had on were a short style. They came to mid-thigh, and then top came to below my chest. Think Steve Urkele pants height.) AS THEY ROLLED, IT BECAME TIGHTER AND TIGHTER. I look down, and my top fat was jumping right out. Mortified, I quickly go to the bathroom to put them back in their proper position.
In the bathroom stall, I take my dress off. I had too, because the way it was fitted, I couldn’t get it back to proper height. I unroll the top of the SPANX to try to get it back in the original positon. But that wasn’t happening. I guess I left it in the roll down position too long. Me, being an astute and crafty woman – I am not swayed. I jack those up a little bit more, and tuck it under my bra. I would like to state, in case you aren’t clear, the level of sexy there was like nothing I had ever seen before. Literally.
I get dressed again, and go out to the event. My friend and I sat there for another hour, and I leaned over to her and told her I had to get out of there, I was so uncomfortable I had started to sweat. Krissie is that type of girl who takes action. She gave me her keys, told me to go directly to the car, and she said our goodbyes and got us out of their quick, acting like I wasn’t feeling well.
She gets in the car, and asks me what is wrong. I begin to freak. “THESE STUPID SPANX IS ROLLING DOWN! I HAD TO TAKE MY DRESS OFF IN THE BATHROOM! TUCK THE TOP UP IN MY BRA! NOW… THEY ARE ROLLING AGAIN, AND I FEEL LIKE SOMEONE HAS A CABLE AROUND MY WAIST AND IS SLOWLY TRYING TO SEVERE MY TORSO!” She side-eyed me while she drove. I knew she wanted to laugh, but was gonna hold it in until I was less hostile.
We get home and I start stripping as I walk in. Shoes… Dress…. I am gonna get those things off. But, I couldn’t. I am not kidding here guys. I literally could not get them off.
I start to pull them down, and they are so tight around my waist, that I can’t even really get my thumbs into the top. I make it into my bathroom, and I catch a glimpse of my reflection. I was sweaty, and my top looked all weird and distorted compared to my bottom. The SPANX had created some type of two dimensional universe all on my body. I take a deep breath, and tell myself to relax. It seemed the more I pulled and yanked, the tighter they got.
I hear a knock at the door to my bedroom. “WHAT!?”, I yelled at the door thinking my grunting and groaning had woken one of my children up. “You okay in there?” It was Krissie. I felt my eyes starting to get warm and burn because the tears were coming and about to mix with sweat. I go and open the door. And let her gaze at me in horror of the twisted SPANX mess that my life had currently become.
“So, are you stuck?”. I nod my reply. She pushed up her pajama sleeves and got to work. She coached me. She pulled. She yanked. She hollered. And then she said. “Do you want to keep these?”
“No. I never want to see them again. ” She walks out and goes to her room, and comes back with scissors. “The only way we are gonna get these off, is to cut them off.” I lift my arms over my head so she has plenty of access, and also symbolically surrender to the fact that the SPANX had won.
She began to cut. And I poured out those things like a busted can of biscuits. And as I looked at my tear-soaked face, with one cut side of spanks, yet my foot still in the leg of the other, I felt loads of humiliation and relief. My skin was all red and wrinkly. There were new lines on my skin, like what happens when you iron a shirt and didn’t realize a piece was folded over in the back. I look at Krissie and I hug her, and I tell her that I am so glad it was her and no one else. We began to laugh a little. Then we laughed hard. I swore off SPANX that day.
My SPANX story is really applicable to many facets of our life, though. I had an idea of what I wanted to people to see as. A certain view. I didn’t want any of my flaws to show. But I wanted the look, the respect that would I felt would come from me rockin’ that dress in an hour glass shape. What I didn’t want to do, was the work that it would take to wear that dress, they way I wanted it to look. So, I made a shortcut. And it didn’t work out well for me at all.
What I should have done was either fix myself or accept myself. Now understand, this isn’t pro-SPANX or anti-SPANX. Think bigger. This isn’t about body shaming or body positivity. My body was just fine. It was my heart and mind that wasn’t. And I am not dogging SPANX in anyway, shape or form. Or the people that wear them. I actually know some people who like the feeling of wearing of them. We can’t be friends, because I can’t understand your soul, but I know them. (I kid, I kid.)
This is a heart issue. My heart issue. If there is something you don’t like about yourself, you can change it or accept it. But most importantly, own your decision. If you don’t like your GPA, you can study more. If you don’t like your speed at running a mile, you can practice. If you don’t like your biceps, you can go to the gym and get the bigger.
On the flip-side, if you don’t like your GPA – maybe you accept it. Maybe you say, I have a 3.1 GPA. I study, but school doesn’t consume me, and I have a social life. Could I cut some things out and make it higher? Sure. But right now it isn’t important to me. I am satisfied with the balance of school and play, and I am satisfied.
Using the GPA as an example, here is the danger zone. The SPANX arena of life, if you will. When you struggle academically. But, instead of owning your truth that academics doesn’t naturally to you, you stay up all hours of the night trying to study. You take uppers or drink energy drinks, to cram for the final. Because you believe, that if you don’t give the perception of easy academic excellence, somehow people will think adversely of you. Maybe you want the praise. Maybe you believe that if they really knew you – you would be all alone and sad.
I’ve been there. In some areas, I am still there. But everyday I am working on it. I have people in my life, who I trust so much – I can tell them my whole truth. And just like Krissie sat with me in my humiliation, they sit with me in my truth. That truth can be shameful, embarrassing, humiliating, scary, and sometimes just plain weird. Sometimes we end up laughing. Sometimes we end up crying. But every time, I feel like I took a boulder out of my proverbial backpack of issues. Guys, everyone has issues. Everyone. No one gets out of here unscathed. But once we start talking about our fears and insecurities, and just lay them out there, others seem to disarm also.
So, I said I had to cut them off twice, right? Well, it’s true. I swore them off for good. I went years without wearing them. It was about 5 years ago, and my insecurity came marching in like a high school band. I was going to an event for the company that I worked for. The CEO was going to be there, there would be photos, and I wanted to look perfect. I decided to trade my go to sense of style, for something more regal. Regal meant very tailored. Like, tightly tailored. And it began. Insecurity won. And I purchased another pair of SPANX.
I regretted it. Again, two hours or so into it, I knew what I had to do. I walked out of the event and went to an employee and asked if they had any scissors. They did. I marched to restroom, stripped, and got to cutting. In thirty seconds, I was free of that mess. I got dressed again, walked out the bathroom stall and threw them in the trash. A lady was at the vanity touching up her make-up. She sees me carrying cloth while I walk out. I show her the scissors and the wadded up/cut up SPANX in my hand. And I look at her and say, “I said this once before, but this time I mean it. I am never ever wearing SPANX again.”
She laughs and says, “Those are of the devil. I can’t breathe with them on. ” I look at myself in the mirror after she says that. I feel good. I can breathe. And I see the line that I wanted to cover. You want to know what the line was? Where my leg connects to my torso. Guess who noticed? Probably only me. I walked out, and enjoyed (I mean as much as you can for a work function), the rest of the day.
Now, I only wear clothing that I am comfortable in. If it would require me to change my shape, it stays at the store. When some of the trends are not designed for me, I own it. And do my own thing.
Now guys, I don’t have this stuff figured out. Yes, I am actively practicing self-acceptance. I am learning to be more transparent and authentic – and trying everyday. I am in the trenches right along with you. Some days, I fail. And I fail miserably. But hey, once you see the problems and work to fix them, the easier it is to recognize the old behaviors – and well, “cut them away.” But sometimes, you need that friend – that person- who will sit with you and laugh and cry, why they help you cut it away.
Love fully. Live fully. Shine on.