(inspired by Don Draper)
Last weekend I found myself in the emergency room, the monday night after a long weekend wracked with fear over a numb leg.
While I am no stranger to hospitals or even this particular emergency room, this cause was new.
Over the long weekend, I had felt my leg transition from tired to tingly to numb to nearly dead. I was concerned, obviously. Was it to spread? What about loss of bowel function and sexual feeling? Was it a stroke? A blood clot? A medication reaction? A sebacious gland growth cutting off blood supply. No, no, no and no. It was shape wear.
Coaxing my full thighs into the tight elasticated wall of shapewear and rolling the rigid casing over my middle had caused nerve damage. Just like that. Ghost leg.
Avoid belting, waist bands, anything tight fitting, just manage with suspenders, I was told.
In a fit of anger, I tossed it all out. Well, most of it. The diamond panelled full briefs labeled "firm control", the bathing suit style girdles, even the pseudo diving suits that extended well past my knee that assured a seamless yet firm appearance Gone. They had done me no service...apart from driving me away from my right limb.
I looked at the pile of these flesh toned spent garments on the ground, oddly shaped with the most variations of genital openings.
And then I saw "shape wear" for what it really was.
Not my shape.
In fact, it was "their shape". The only shape they all want us plus women to have. Hourglass. Every other shape is given girdles as method of conformation. They all have the same areas that they save the least pliable fabric for and areas that they wish to emphasize. We are so familiar with them, they need not repeating.
And I had fallen for it! Duped! Again!
I had grown so warm and complacent with what seemed to be a peace with our people.
I had not thought to sit and really deconstruct just who put the shape in shape wear.
It really is quite a grim map once one sits back and dissects an individual shaping garment. It is like the sharpie path that guides the surgeons blade...all orchestrated by the same discerning eye and hand.
Starting from the bottom up,
"No, you cannot have fullness of the thighs there... we might give you some on the inside, but none on the outside.
Having a full rear is trendy. So, we will allow you that. But, we will insist that it is perky and hanging high.
Your belly must be flat. Absolutely. And firm. We put our most compressive fabrics here.
We want you to have a nipped in waist. Even if you don't have one. We will corset you in. We will use fabrics to carve one out of your flesh. It may give you discomfort, it may even leave a mark, but you will have a defined waist.
The natural shape and fall of your breasts is wrong wrong wrong. We like them high and rounded. Rounded breasts are the shape of today. Maybe in a decade a trendier shape of breast will come in, but for now, it is round and full. We would like them to hang between the top of the shoulder and the bend in the elbow."
From now on, I will let my belly hang as it may. I will let the fullest part of thigh bulge out. I will allow the natural slope of my breasts to gauge where they would like to fall.
i refuse to pour myself into the acceptable fat mould that shape wear forces the body to conform to.
I will wear my own shape. This time with feeling. (in my right leg)