The top drawer of my bureau containing my undergarments is overflowing, as many women might relate to. Yes, my weight has fluctuated having had 5 children, but it was those same 5 kids who put shopping for personal undergarments very low on my priority list. I wore only the necessities and the criteria was comfort and versatility. Any need was often filled during a quick run through at Target, with a grocery cart full of diapers, household cleaner and paper towels. I’d toss in a few average black, white or beige, full coverage and boring bottoms. My eyes were opened recently when one of my teenager daughters popped into the bathroom, as I was blow-drying my hair (which I have to do with minimal clothing, thanks to my premenopausal hot flashes). She stopped abruptly and with a look of horror asked “Mom are you wearing Grandma’s underwear?”
This put me on a mission to rediscover my inner goddess. As women, we are often inclined to care for everyone before ourselves, and this includes our spending. With groceries for our family of seven, bills, college funds and other looming expenses, splurging on a special undergarment now and then seemed out of the question. My motivation to wear pretty underthings was further diminished more recently when my fitness regimen didn’t transform my figure as I had anticipated, so I wasn’t feeling confident in front of the guy who shared my dressing room: my husband, even though I knew he loved me, no matter my shape or size.
Beyond those very logical excuses, over the years I had forgotten about the 20-year-old me who had a zest for life and a playful connection to her femininity. In my parenting frame of mind, I had subconsciously come to think of my body as a life-source for our children: pregnancy, birthing, nursing and endless piggyback rides, all of which I have treasured. And yet through all this, I have placed an inner part of myself, my light and the part that likes to dance, under a basket.
My ministry, in some ways, had also distorted my view of self — I failed to see some of the fundamental truths that St. John Paul II stated in his Theology of the Body. “The human body, includes right from the beginning, the capacity of expressing love, that love in which the person becomes a gift – and by means of this gift – fulfills the meaning of this being and existence.”
Perhaps it’s the fact that my youngest child is fairly self-sufficient now, that this fundamental truth came back to me. Thus I had a quest, and recently ventured to the mall, without the kiddos, and I picked out a few undergarments for myself. Yes, I was even a bit shy, I must say, as I brought them to the 20-year-old girl at the register. Delight now comes each morning, as I get a new selection of something beautiful that’s just for me to begin my day. I’ve been further surprised at the new bit of confidence building within me, as a result of my morning choice of wardrobing. A renewed confidence is lasting throughout the day in my interactions with others, at work, and surely as I reconnect with my husband. Something that initially started out as just for me, has tapped into the deeper meaning of the gift. Self love and self-care is something I believe God intends for us all, and when we tend to ourselves, we have more capacity to love others.
My Valentine’s Day challenge for you, young or young-at-heart, male or female: go out today and buy yourself a pretty pair of undies or a sporty pair of boxers!
The human body includes right from the beginning… the capacity of expressing love, that love in which the person becomes a gift – and by means of this gift – fulfills the meaning of his being and existence.” St. John Paul II
Thanks to Millies’ Mats for the use of her granny bloomers.