Not too long ago, I slipped on a bar of soap and broke my foot. Little did I know how much that bar of soap would teach me.
The day it happened, as I lay there writhing in pain, I screamed out for help. Steven, of course, came running and found me sprawled on the floor in a crumpled heap rocking back and forth.
My first thought was: oh, thank God, help was here! My second thought was: wait … I’m naked and my little fat rolls are exposed! Oh the humiliation!
As soon as he entered, I saw his mortified face. I began screeching, “Throw me the towel, throw me the towel!” Not my finest hour.
Let me tell you that there is no panic like that of a wounded naked woman who feels she has something to hide.
I think that our instincts are challenged daily. Do we take care of our realities or do we try to preserve whatever dignity we have left?
Hiding our flaws is something we are all pretty good at. Whether we are hiding our lies, our faults or our shortcomings, we all have a collection of things we’d rather not share with others.
I have to wonder if all the effort is worth the outcome.
I get the humiliation aspect of being seen for what we truly are (it doesn’t get more bare than naked on the floor). But I wonder if we are being fair to ourselves.
My ex husband spends a boat load of money going to a hair club that glues new hair on his head every two weeks. Few people know, not even his new squeeze. Is it doing any harm?
I have friends who live their lives buying things they can’t afford so they can appear more successful than they are. Is it hurting anything other than their pocket book?
We know a couple who refer to their children as entrepreneurs to gloss over the fact that their kids are once again unemployed and looking for work. Does it really matter?
And I would hugely prefer to cover up my crumpled, naked, fluffy body so that the man of my dreams doesn’t see it in the stark light of day. What’s the harm?
I’m a big believer in full disclosure but I also understand not everyone is entitled to know or see everything about us. Privacy is reserved for those closest to us.
Take my shower incident for example. Steven is a man who has seen me naked about a billion times. I’ve always hoped that it was a positive experience for him. I also own up to having impeccable posture and sucking in my gut when I know he is looking. Is that wrong?
My pin-up days are clearly over. I’ve got C-section and hysterectomy scars that prove I gave birth and survived menopause. Not exactly an unblemished body. On top of that, I’m 25 pounds (okay fine, 30) fluffier than I should be. Suffice it to say, I’m not vacuuming naked.
Still, I feel every bit the saucy minx I once was (and still believe myself to be). Yes, I might be a legend in my own mind, but it’s my mind and whose to judge?
So I’m thinking if it makes my ex feel better to lie about being bald, let him. If our friends have a need to feel successful, who am I to disagree? And if people want to think of their unemployed children as entrepreneurs, well, hey, maybe they will be some day.
Maybe the real damage of our lies and deceit happens at the end of the day when the lights go out and the room goes dark. When there is no one else there, what do we really think of ourselves?
There in the dark the deceits disappear and the truth stands alone.
My truth is that I’m loved by a wonderful man who knows I’m fluffy and clumsy. I’m not yet ready to prance around the house naked, but I’m getting there.
Self esteem runs deep. So does self loathing. We should respect both as the line that divides them is fragile.
Best we all remember that none of us is perfect. So what if we go around hiding our imperfections? There are moments that in order for me to maintain a level of confidence in my life I have to keep an ideal of myself in my head. It doesn’t always match what I see in the mirror but it doesn’t mean it’s not who I really am, want to be or once was.
The naked girl crumpled on the floor begging to be covered is also the same girl who can stand before hundreds of people delivering a knockout keynote presentation or successfully coach a fledgling apprentice towards a new life. She’s also the same girl who single handedly ran several successful businesses, raised a great kid who is now 26 and has forged a midlife career in writing.
I’m aware that amid our confidences lurk insecurities. Things we know we could or should be better at. I’m willing to bet that you, my readers, have them too. I’m hoping they never stand in your way.
It took a bar of soap to give me a reality check. Not being proud of something doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re ashamed of it. While I’m not perfect, my vulnerable moments should not be confused for weakness.
Perfection does have its place. I’m just not sure that real life is one of them.