What a phrase, “put on your big girl panties.” Usually I do not refer to my panties in public in great hopes that if I act like a lady I will be treated like one. This is an exception. There are times we need to rise to the occasion and put on our big people undies. In a literal sense sometimes our undies need to grow with us. In what was a humiliating experience at the time I learned this lesson the hard way.
Has your body ever disappointed you? Have you ever been so ill that you had to learn the lesson of vanity dumping? During chronic illness and pain, especially when it continues for years, one tends to be forced into letting go of vanity. I am not talking about giving up our dignity, that is a completely different topic. Hang on to your dignity but let go of the baggage of vanity.
This was a hard one for me to learn. I am still working my way through it. Vanity, by definition is: excessive pride in or admiration of one’s own appearance or achievements. Ouch! Pride, me, no way. Double ouch. I have always enjoyed a fairly thin body, absolutely taking it for granted because, for the most part, I have always been thin. With it comes a certain amount of attention that I have grown accustomed to. Then came chronic illness and pain that seemed to take my body hostage in every sense. Over my adulthood I have had, at most, a 15 pound rise and fall in my weight but nothing like what happened in the height of my illness.
It was finally time to face that I had to put on my big girl panties. Time to rise to the occasion, look pride in the eye and learn the hard way. Along with autoimmune disease comes health issues that can include weight gain that one has absolutely no control over. Unless you have been through it, it is a hard reality to believe. I tried everything. I have been a health nut for over 20 years and have had daily exercise in my life since I was a teenager. I knew how to eat healthy and I knew how to exercise. Nothing worked. I absolutely refused to give in to the fact that I had to walk out this journey the hard way, one step at a time.
I fought the big girl panty store for a couple of years. I refused to buy larger clothes which kept me even more isolated than my illness. It got to the point where I could not get dressed to leave the house because I had nothing that fit that was presentable. Yes, I now agree that is not reasonable thinking. This created even more stress than the illness and the pain. Isolation is a nasty business. Time to grow up, step up and find some big girl panties. After a couple years of fighting the reality of my illness, I gave in and bought some larger panties. I secretly made the purchase on-line to avoid the humiliation in person at a store. Oh what a delight. Instead of looking at them in complete horror, I found great relief. This was the reality I lived in at the time and I was finally ready to accept it and get on with life. I no longer had minute-by-minute reminders of nagging tight panties keeping me stuck in my vanity.
Life slips away if we do not get the most out of each day. My big girl panties was one baby step to a more fulfilling life. Please excuse me for airing my dirty laundry but my hope is that someone will learn from my nonsense. Let go of vanity – Live life as if it were your last day!
How do you fit into your undies?
Maribeth Baxter, MBEC
Donations accepted to serve others on their chronic illness journey. Maribeth Baxter, MBEC provides voluntary certified health coaching services to the financially limited during their time of crisis.