It was an important event. I wanted to look thin in my outfit—well, at least thinner! I’ve put some weight on recently in reaction to stress. (I try to eat stress away and am surprised every time it doesn’t work.) So, I squeezed into my Spanx, put on my fancy clothes and heels, and headed off to the gathering of nice people, where I was going to speak about my organization and convince them all to become members!
The evening started out fine. I nibbled on finger foods and drank a glass of wine. Then, it came time for my talk. Standing in front of people like that always makes my heart beat a little faster, so nothing seemed out of the ordinary at first. I simply started talking and thought, any moment now, I’ll hit my stride and feel comfortable. But the moment didn’t come. And yet I wasn’t really nervous; I simply could not breathe. My breath was coming in little gasp between words. I thought maybe I was having a panic attack. I talked faster, to try to feel more relaxed. Things just got worse. I could feel my face getting hot and flushed.
I looked around the room and could tell from their faces that a few of my friends in the room were a little concerned: this was not my usual presentation mode! Then, all at once, there seemed to be no air at all left in my lungs for breathing. The thought crossed my mind that I might be having a heart attack. I could picture myself collapsing in front of the gathering and being carried out the kitchen door on a stretcher. I wondered if it might be a stroke. I wondered if my husband would ever forgive me for working so hard that I died on the job. I prayed that, if it was a stroke, I would die quickly and not linger for years in a vegetative state while my children came for obligatory visits.
Somehow I got through the talk. Needless to say, it wasn’t the best talk I’ve ever given, but I got through it. Several board members in the audience helped me along by offering testimonials. That worried me even more. I thought to myself, “They can tell I’m dying, and they are taking pity on me!”
I didn’t die. I didn’t even faint. But after the whole event was over, I still felt breathless. So, on my way home, I wondered if I should head to the Emergency Room. Then I imagined myself dropping dead in a corner of the ER while waiting to be seen. I could hear my friends reacting to the news: “Well, no wonder! I mean, did you see her at the party? She was a mess!”
I arrived home and decided to change clothes and relax a little and then assess the situation. In any case, if I was going to go sit in the Emergency Room for five hours, I was not about to go in my fancy clothes and heels!
I took off my heels.
I took off my dress.
And then: I took off my Spanx.
Ta Dah! The skies opened up! I could breathe!
As soon as those Spanx loosened their stranglehold on my stomach, I was a new woman. I wasn’t dying! I wasn’t Camille! I was Scarlett O’Hara after the picnic, breathing freely after being released from the horrors of her corset.
I felt like an idiot.
It also cracked me up completely. All that drama—and I’d done it to myself! I’d stuffed myself into a sausage casing. No wonder I couldn’t breathe! Duh!!!
So, here’s my thought on the whole matter of Spanx or no Spanx, which might as well be described as girdle or no girdle, corset or no corset: to hell with all of it! It ain’t worth it! What in the world were we all thinking to imagine that was a good idea? I don’t care how I look in my skirt! I don’t care how many bumps there are. I am never, ever going through that again! You don’t see a single man in the universe ever giving up his breath to fit better in a pair of jeans, do you?
Here’s to freedom: here’s to letting it all hang out! Say it loud: I’m fat and I’m proud!
As God is my witness, I’ll never be breathless again!