The Girdle

I am clearing out my sock drawer. Throwing out sock with holes in the heels, made by my rough skin rubbing against the fabric. Throwing out the ugly socks that I had no intentions of wearing. How did they end up in my sock drawer, anyway? I reach into the drawer, looking for something else to discard, and I pull out a cream-colored garment.

Holding it up, I automatically stretch it between my hands. I hear the elastic crinkle and pop as it stretches out and stays out. All the elasticity it once had disappeared over the years it was in my sock drawer.

I am holding up the girdle I wore eight years ago on my wedding day.

Girdles seem so outdated. I suppose they are no longer called “girdles,” but rather “shape smoothers” or something like that. No matter what they call it, it’s still a girdle.

The year I was to be married, I felt outdated as well. I felt like an old bride, getting married at the age of 33. Shopping for wedding dresses was extremely difficult; I had had a mastectomy when I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 27. That meant I didn’t have cleavage to show. My scar extends under my arm, where the surgeon removed lymph nodes. I have a nice bulge of fat by that scar. A sleeveless wedding dress was also out of the question.

Have you ever shopped for wedding dresses? Finding one with my specifications seemed like it would be impossible. I drove from wedding shop to wedding shop, looking at plunging neckline after plunging neckline. My budget was also slim, and so spending a lot of money on a custom-made dress was out of the question.

Not only that, but taking an estrogen-reducing medication for five years had caused me to gain weight. I was very self-conscious about that bulge around my middle.

Watching younger, skinnier women trying on skimpy, sexy wedding dresses made me feel old. Made me feel as old and stretched out as a piece of old, worn-out elastic.

But then, I found the dress. The dress I would wear. And it would do.

The day of my wedding came. As I gazed at my husband-to-be, waiting for me at end of the aisle, I could feel the love radiating from him. All those outdated feelings melted away. He only had eyes for me.

He still does.

This was my response for this week’s prompt at The Red Dress Club.

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14 Responses to The Girdle

  1. Clicking over from Undercover Mother. Wow. This was a heartfelt and trenchant post. You were so descriptive and honest. I am glad that you posted this.

  2. First of all, I'm impressed that you clean out your sock drawer. I need to do the same!And amazing how a little thing like a "girdle" (or as they call them now "Spanx") can bring back such a rush of memories. I'm glad you found your dress … and so happy to see a photo. As I read, I was like "Please show a photo. Please show a photo." You guys look lovely together!

  3. I loved this memory. The imagery was so strong and your feelings while dress shopping were so vivid. Lovely, girdle and all. What a beautiful picture of you and your husband!

  4. Oh I love this, so beautifully written! The ending is the best!I got married at 30. I too felt old, trying on dresses next to early 20 somethings and their moms.

  5. This is one touching piece. I too loved the line: "Made me feel as old and stretched out as a piece of old, worn-out elastic.". This line among others in your piece expresses so well what you were feeling at the time. Nice description. Overall, nicely done.

  6. I am so glad you found the perfect dress – what a beautiful picture!I also was an "old" bride at almost 33. And I still looked at those younger, skinnier brides trying on those sexy gowns and was envious.

  7. Awwwwwwwwwwwwww! You gave me goosebumps (and you looked beautimus). If it makes you feel any better, I wore a girdle thingy on that came up to my ribs and a strapless bra that started at my underwear and the wire dug into my armpits so bad that I had scabs for weeks. Scabs, not crabs. Don't want anyone to be confused.

  8. Oh how do I address this? First I laughed at the girdle…then I cried…Our God is an awesome God and He is preparing His bride. What the world sees isn't real…what you have is! We put such significance on the physical part of a wedding and miss the marriage…you have both!! So what if you started later than some, you got the real thing…many are now divorcing.I loved this…to me it gives me encouragement that God sees me as beautiful…just like everyone at that wedding saw you. You radiate and even though your body had gone under some horrible things, you rose to the top with real beauty!!!I hope this makes sense because I am trying to express what I am feeling in my heart from reading this.Thanks for sharing

  9. I loved this line best …"Made me feel as old and stretched out as a piece of old, worn-out elastic. "Although short it gives a complete picture of how you were feeling. It showed an immense amount of emotion behind carefully chosen words.I loved this story as a whole and was thrilled that you didn't just find the right dress, you found the right frame of mind. Well done!

  10. Yep. A girdle's a girdle's a girdle, by any other name.You looked lovely, and you're absolutely right when you say that it didn't matter to him what you mattered – you were the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen, I'm sure. The joy on your face is so evident.

  11. I agree. A girdle is a girdle. And you were a lovely bride, all of you. I have RA and I have to take prednisone so I can relate to medical weight gain. It sucks. You want to wear a sign that says "I'm not lazy. It's the medication!"

  12. Oh what a lovely story, and the picture of you and your groom was precious. Looks like you found just the right dress to me! Very nice story. Thanks for sharing!

  13. What about showing us the complete dress (with you in it of course!)? I can remember both my grandmothers wearing corsets and girdles and suspenders. It always looked extremely uncomfortable. There's something to be said for sweatpants!

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