Ever since I discovered The Cognitive Dissenter's blog and her effort of "Changing people's underwear. One Mormon at a time", I have been mulling over the change in my underwear. The whys, the hows and the dirty laundry of it all. I've finally sifted through it all, so here she blows.
I remember going with my mom to a LeVoy's party. If I remember correctly this was a Utah company that made underwear and nightgowns and things and they would sell them at parties, like Tupperware. The party was at the house of a woman in our ward and my mom bought me a pack (a whole pack!) of this acid green, nylon-y underwear. I don't know what they were really made of but they wore like iron. They covered me thoroughly from crotch to navel and I wore them for years, willing them to get a hole, a split seam, anything! I think I finally outgrew them but the image is still burned in my mind. I wore the same granny-panty style all through high school because my mom bought my underwear for me, though I also seem to recall some hand-me-downs from my many older sisters. Ew.
Then off to college at Bring 'em Young University with an engagement and marriage (to an RM!) almost immediately following. I was an obedient (occasionally) little girl and got myself married in the temple and came out with the requisite Long Underwear which I wore for the next 29 years or so. I birthed and nursed babies, took every calling, and supported my priesthood-bearing husband in all of his. When I shopped for underwear it was a choice of fabric and neck style. Then a series of events started a chain reaction, though I couldn't see it at the time.
My husband was called to the bishopric. As we sat in the stake office and I heard the calling extended, I was not happy. Not happy AT ALL. I was reminded of my childhood, my dad always doing church stuff when he wasn't working. Bishop, high council, stake presidency--I never knew my father because he was never around. All of us were left 24/7 at the mercy of our not-quite-sane mother. I never really talked to my father until I was an adult and by then it was awkward. The chance for a close connection with him was gone. I DID NOT want this for my children. But I smiled and said, sure I'll support him, and hated every minute he served. I got called to the nursery and stayed there for years. No need to listen to lessons that seemed to make my skin itch and no need to sneak home during SS just for a break. Everyone thought I was so nobel for staying so long in the calling but it was an escape. When I was finally forced out I had to return to the irritating adult classes. It was about this time that I found out my son was gay. (That's a whole other post. Or two.) RS then became absolutely excrutiating as I sat there listening to what was coming out of those women's mouths. When the whole Prop 8 thing started it became even more of a torture. My son's gayness was ruining the fabric of the family! (All by himself!) He was an abomination and unnatural. I started walking out as soon as something offensive was said. I am not a controversial person. I just wanted out of that room. Out of the suffocating atmosphere of that building. I started going less and less often. And I lost a goodly amount of weight, making that long underwear bag around me and adding at least an inch of fabric to my waist size. It irritated. It itched. It felt suffocating. So why was I still wearing it? Once I stopped to think about it I could not come up with a single reason. Not. One. Except habit.
It was at this time that my awesome sister and I went to LA to an epic rock concert. I was rocking the tight jeans on my somewhat skinny body and I did not want to wear The Long Underwear. So I bought a pack of panties. I walked into a store and bought a pack of panties. Like a virgin. Shopping for the very first time. Not once in 47 years had I ever shopped for pretty panties for myself. And when I got to LA and dressed for the concert, I put them on. Black ones. With lace. I wasn't struck down by lightening or hit by car or burned beyond recognition in a freak fire. I simply had a blast at a great concert with fun people. And I didn't ever put the long underwear on again. That was it. I was done. I now have a drawer full of pretty underwear--bikinis, thongs, lace and silk. But I still have a drawer filled with long underwear too. What's that all about?!