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Lingerie Drawer

I have always had a lingerie drawer. A working actress for almost my whole life, I suppose I considered my closet to be a sort of a costume room and all the world a stage. Dressing daily for mood or situations, my clothes have always been in a relationship with me. I would dress to elicit emotion and portray image. Monday meeting? A 50’s style skirt and cardigan. Drinks with the girls? A boho swing top and some flare jeans. Sunday? Church clothes, of course…maybe a floral dress and some patent leather slingbacks. I love clothes. So, it would stand to reason that my unmentionables are prone to be something worthy of mention. I have always had a special place for them to live. And while I know not everyone has a lingerie drawer, we all have those items of clothing we wear that make us feel beautiful, covering that can be a kind of armor against a judging world, items that give us comfort and make us feel safe. Some even make us brave. In those garments, I feel powerful, confident, and able to take risks or even be vulnerable. Lacy trim and floral patterns can make me feel romantic, black nylon elicits a sass. And who doesn’t love a glamourous nightgown? Every woman should have at least one! I have even donned feathers now and again if I was feeling particularly fabulous!

However, as the years have gone on, my lingerie drawer has been opened less and less. I’ve been married for over 20 years and while I love my husband more than I did when we first met, let’s face it, things change. Babies, teenagers, work, family obligations, illness, and general all-around life can make you feel less than “spicy”. My drawer didn’t feel as important as it once did. Neither did I. It’s hard to feel fabulous with spit-up on your neck or want to stay up late when you were up the night before helping on a last-minute project. It’s not easy to feel wanted when the only time you see your spouse is passing each other in the garage as you trade off kids or errands.

So, my frilly, fancy collection became neglected. I would open all the other drawers around it to get out my leggings and t-shirts which had become my “Mom uniform”. I would put away laundry and mourn its slinky contents, some of which at this point were more than two decades old! How could I get rid of my wedding night trousseau? What about the tropical silk robe I wore on our honeymoon? The black slip I felt so beautiful in when my husband and I finally got away, just the two of us after my daughter was born? The funny red strappy thing he bought me one Valentine’s Day where we set off the hotel smoke alarm frying bacon for our breakfast in bed? The blue gown with boa fur trim that shed so badly it looked like a Muppet exploded! (I still find a random blue feather when I pull something out from under the bed.) The cheap glittery number that turned my skin iridescent and made me look like a magical fairy for a week. These weren’t just articles of clothing. They were characters in the love story of my life. Memories made up of gauzy, ornate elegance.

Still…there they sat, mocking me. Silent in my lingerie drawer like corpses in a coffin, calling out to me. “Remember us? You used to be wild and daring! Look at you now, with your tummy control workout pants and your oversized t-shirt! We don’t even know who you are anymore!” Was it them talking to me, or my own inner monologue keeping me from pulling out something from my ancient crypt?

On our 24th anniversary, after a bottle or two of wine, I mustered up the courage to dive into my delicate collection. With liquid courage, I began trying things on. Oh. Mhy. God. I put on the first item. Black is slimming, right? Nope. This thing pulled and tugged its way onto my body like a sausage casing being over-stuffed. Standing in my bathroom mirror, I thought, “Where did I even get this thing?! Did I ever look good in this?” I immediately took it off and threw it on the floor. Next, something simple, a pink silk nightgown. That should look good! Nope. The back wouldn’t even clasp. Off it went into the pile. The white lace corset I used to adore, not a hook and eye would meet. Another, then another. A few items I pulled out were so old the material was breaking down. That old lingerie was frayed and loose and not as attractive as it had once been which was exactly how I was feeling. What happened? I thought just yesterday these were viable options for me to wear. I was seriously wrong. Of course, they didn’t fit. Almost no one wears things after 20 years. Styles, preferences, and most importantly, people change! And why was I holding onto all these relationship relics anyway? I looked at myself and tried to figure out what outfit would “suit” me best and decided only one would do and it was the one I was born with.

I woke up the next morning to find a Matterhorn-sized mountain of dainty attire hiding in the corner of my bathroom. I hazily recalled my Tasmanian Devil quick changes and how horrible that moment felt. Suddenly, I grabbed a trash bag and began tossing the seductive garb away. The whole sexy lot of it. I realized I could have worn a burlap sack the night before and my husband would have just laughed and thought, “Oh, wow! That’s new!” I also recognized while I had changed over the years, my “costumes” had not. Am I not still the same woman who collected all of those tempting treasures? Yes! I am! What makes them special in the first place is the person inside them. It’s not even how I look, but how I feel in them that makes them special. I decided then and there I was going to refurbish my lingerie drawer for the present day. Find new ways to keep things spicy for the person I am now. Oh, I held onto a couple of gems, just for old times’ sake, but it was time to let my old friends go. I would lose the lingerie but not the memories and I would make new ones with fantastic “fits” found for the powerful, confident, vulnerable, and fabulous woman I am today.

The only thing to worry about now was what to do with this provocative trash? I hoped my garbage man wouldn’t get curious. Unless he’s into that kind of thing. Who am I to judge?!

One comment

  1. Enjoyable read and clever ending! The essay touched on women’s emotions as they find that while their bodies change so too does the way they view their physical selves as they age.

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