For years women have been seduced by promises of support. Garments once called girdles or corsets have been wiggled into to alter our appearance, with a guarantee of perfection. This assurance has lured women of all shapes and sizes into wearing undergarments restricting movement, if not casual breathing. Lace trimmed, silk brocade, or firmly boned, many of us would wear anything to appear flawless.
The construction of these types of garments has changed, as have the names. No one says girdle, corset or brassiere anymore. Bras and all types of foundation garments are advertised on television now, making it acceptable to admit our flaws, and ask for support out loud.
I however looked for support in places other than what I was wearing. I looked to my husband, suspecting, but not believing that the foundation of my marriage was built on quicksand, and would erode almost from the beginning. I don’t think people thought that someone with a petite frame like mine would consider wearing something to smooth the contours of my body, but I like so many others thought I wasn’t good enough just the way I was.
Given that, I own my fair share of body shape wear and control top tights, but regardless of what I wore, I felt unsupported in the strength I was seeking from the relationships I was in. And while I became satisfied with my physical appearance, I’ve spent decades wishing I could be my own source of strength.
It wasn’t until I became a mother that I understood that what I was doing would be a model for my children, all of whom are girls. I have three daughters, and it’s been a decade since I lost custody of them. Ten years of sadness has blanketed my life. Foundation garments can smooth the surface and minimize bumps and bulges, but when shimmied out of at the end of the day there you are, just as you are, and it’s either okay, or it’s not.
I wanted to go on with my life after the devastating decision was made for my girls to go live with their father, and I tried. But regardless of what I wore to make me seem unblemished, I was suffering, and I believed that my girls were also unresolved about what had happened.
As an artist I began to paint the images that haunted me. People asked questions about my paintings, and upon seeing my work, told me stories of their painful pasts and uncertain futures. I knew it was time for me to unveil what had happened to me and my girls, believing I would feel my own strength if I stopped trying to hide our story.
It’s been a year since Raw Candor launched. I’ve posted every Sunday for almost one year. My tagline is Always candid. Always truthful. Sometimes funny. And I have been all of those. Every other post has been written by a guest. People I know well and some people I have never met in person have written about things that echo in their hearts. I’m grateful so many people have responded to my work and to my family’s story.
Tens of thousands of people have read Raw Candor. Thank you! Over the summer I won’t be posting as often. I’ll be taking time to work on some new projects that I’ll write about from time to time. This may be the perfect time to for anyone new to the blog to go into the archives, or some of you may want to re-read Raw. Please continue to contact me with your own raw stories, comments and/or questions.
Writing Raw Candor has changed my life. My children now know my story, and I see myself as a little bit stronger. In the immortal words of Miss Kelly Clarkson…”what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”
I love you all for supporting my writing, and for sharing yours.
As always I can be reached at – email@example.com
The silver ring on the left is called The Freedom Ring. I designed the ring to reveal one’s own skin where a jewel would usually be set to remind the wearer to value oneself as the jewel instead. When I got divorced I missed wearing a ring, but didn’t want to wear something that was a validation of how someone else felt about me. The Freedom Ring is a visual symbol to promote the value of self, and become free of emotional bonds, ergo… Freedom.
The Freedom Ring will be sold on Raw Candor in the Fall.
Writing Raw and reading your stories has shown me that I’m not the only one, whatever the story may be.
Enjoy the summer!