I made myself a goal to update my underwear situation in my 32nd year. I desperately needed new underthings, and it seemed like a fun and easy goal for myself to go buy some new things and celebrate looking and feeling good.
Then a few things happened over the course of my year:
- I got a dog,
- I started my own personal body image revolution,
- I attended a boudoir session, and
- I got pregnant
On paper, my goal remained the same – get rid of my old and ratty bras and panties and buy some new ones. But sometime over the past 6-8 months my outlook changed.
Just before last summer, I went out and bought myself some new underthings… and I promptly came home and threw out all my old and mismatched items. It was great. I freed up a lot of space in my top drawer, I had a bunch of new stuff, and I was stoked to have found one bra in particular that made me feel fantastic! I thought the goal completed and was ready to rejoice in an easy job well done.
Then our new pup, our sweet and rambunctious little Harlowe, destroyed that bra. It was the middle of the night – one of those situations where I awoke and immediately knew something was wrong – when I found her munching happily on one of the straps. It was a lesson not only in picking up after myself when a puppy is present, but also in the importance I give to my clothing. I had loved that bra. When I would put it and the matching underwear on, I would prance around my bedroom feeling absolutely awesome about myself. Like so many others before it, I had imbued the bra with all the ability to make me beautiful. And then it was destroyed.
Somewhere around that time, I was already having second thoughts about my body image. When I finally made the decision that I wasn’t going to try to lose weight anymore, and that I was just going to appreciate my body for what it is and treat it with respect, I freed myself. Suddenly, at dinners with fellow women making comments about ordering fries when they should order a salad, I felt zero remorse over ordering the side that I really wanted. And when others would make comments about feeling chubby, I felt both an appreciation for my own personal body satisfaction and a remorse for those who didn’t yet have that same comfort.
When my beautiful teal lace bra was destroyed, I thought it couldn’t be replaced, but I learned to feel that same feeling in my other underthings, and so I put it out of my mind. I like to think of it as self-confidence karma that when I went back a couple of months later, I found the same style, though in a slightly different shade of blue. I was elated, but I also recognized now that I could look good without it. Cue the boudoir session…
For my birthday last year, a few friends went together to buy me a coupon for a boudoir session. At the time I secretly wondered what on Earth they were thinking, but I thanked them all the same and stuck it to my fridge. Then in September, I realized that the coupon expired at the end of that month, and I was struck with a frenzy to “use it or lose it!” I quickly booked a session and then started agonizing about what to wear. While I knew that most women booked these things as a way to give something to their partner, I wanted to focus instead on the fact that I felt good in my own skin. For the first time in my life, I was accepting of how I looked, and I didn’t want the session to be about making myself look good for someone else. So when I went out a third time to find some underwear for the occasion I focused on what I loved, knowing that if I loved the way I looked then so would my husband.
As a result, the session itself was incredibly therapeutic and reaffirming. I wasn’t entirely new to being scantily clad in front of others (when I briefly lived in Japan a few years ago I went to an onsen with a couple of my roommates) but I wasn’t used to being photographed. Yet they made me feel completely at ease. The session started with make-up and hair, and through that process I got to know the photographer and feel comfortable in her presence; then when it was time to shoot, I was ready to go. The entire experience left me with a feeling of complete self-empowerment, and solidified my belief that my body is perfect the way it is. And I have photographs now to prove it!
My underwear has supported me through it all this year…
Now I’m pregnant, and many of my beautiful undergarments aren’t fitting well, and I’ve had to go out yet again and get a few new things to fit over my larger boobs and belly. And yet I couldn’t feel more beautiful.
In practical terms, underwear is meant to protect our sensitive areas from our rougher outer clothing. For the most part we simply go through the motions of wearing this stuff because we have to. But underwear can be so much more. It can quite literally give us a fresh start to the day. It can provide a comfortable foundation upon which all our other clothing items are placed. And it can allow us the secret satisfaction that under our stuffy office attire or our I-can’t-be-bothered sweats or our mandatory work uniform that we really are fun and unique individuals. And we all know that self-confidence and a positive outlook are key.
That means underwear can change everything. So go change your underwear.