Two weeks ago, as I was getting dressed for church, I suffered a major Spanx malfunction.
Not a tiny little hole. No, not tiny at all. Just as I managed to get the suckers up past my hips, my fingernail caught the belly panel just exactly wrong. The fabric containing my triple post-baby belly shredded in an instant. Suddenly, everything momentarily sanctioned for the sake of vanity rebelled and came bursting out in a way that would make even Queen Elsa rethink her “Let It Go” mantra.
Honestly, it was laughable, and more so because my preteen daughter was in the bathroom with me, primping, when it happened. There was an adolescent gasp of horror followed up by wild laughter by the two of us together at the hilarity of it all. I’m so glad she wasn’t scarred for life.
We may have been just a little late for church that morning because I went off in search of a dress that required a little less … um … containment?
It’s these kinds of ridiculous life events that often get me thinking.
How much time and energy do we spend keeping up appearances? Over the last two years, this question slapped me in the face over and over.
I grew up in a culture demanding excellence. What that ultimately taught me was that I’d best keep it all together. And if I couldn’t, then I needed to at least appear like I was keeping it all together. Unfortunately, I never learned how healthy the condition of vulnerability can be.
Of course, to be vulnerable, you need a safe place to be vulnerable.
I’ve made the mistake most of my life of thinking I mostly had things together, until I didn’t. Eventually, I did run into some pretty big marital stuff I found too hard to cope with on my own. I realized I really didn’t know that much about parenting after all, and I had to make some big changes.
Oh, and never mind the fact that while all these things began to shift my perfection, I started to gain weight, and find myself becoming a little bit codependent. In other words, over the last two years, my “life spanx” began shredding very quickly. I didn’t laugh and just find a new dress. I struggled to deal with the exposure of my faults and imperfect life.
Just like real Spanx, the “life Spanx” we build around our real life junk eventually dry rot and fall apart too. Ladies, it’s so so so hard when it does. I didn’t sit back and laugh when I saw the shredding start in my own life. Fortunately, I had a tribe that saw it starting too, and they began to circle around me, just like good girlfriends do.
And they protected me from exposure when it all began. They prayed, and they sent me notes. They called, and they texted.
And they told me I was still beautiful.
Most importantly they gently encouraged me to go ahead and go to this party we call life without my girdle on because I had a better foundation in my Father.
On principal, I have not replaced my worn out Spanx. Don’t get me wrong, I may eventually, but for now I’m breathing a little easier (figuratively and literally) with the support of friends the Father surrounded me with.
I’ve also found my experiences made me stronger. They gave me a keener eye for spotting others going through tough times. When I see them gasping at the shock of it all, I hope I’m able to help them laugh and catch their breath in the midst of it.When life falls apart, will you try to contain it on your own or will you let friends help?Click To Tweet
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