Silk Armor

I never used to wear lingerie. Ever. The sexy stuff I got for my bridal shower hung in the closet, unworn for 15 years. I’m not sure why. Maybe I was shy (I know, I know—I can’t imagine it either ,but maybe I was.) Or embarrassed? Or felt silly? My ex-husband never asked me to wear it, and I guess he got used to the T-shirts or pajamas I came to bed wearing. Too bad for both of us.

A few years ago, when I told my sister I was getting a divorce, she flew to Minnesota. We cried and shopped. Her first order of business: new panties for me. I thought this was silly—now no one would be seeing them—but the process of picking out new, pretty things that only I would see was empowering.

Lingerie is that fabulous secret you have with yourself: It’s a little risqué, a bit naughty, and very delicious. The act of buying new underwear helped separate the cute little 15-year-old my ex fell in love with from the woman in the dressing room 25 years later. I was a grown-up now and wanted to lose the “cute” label. And the quickest way to go from cute to sexy is lingerie.

Yes, I felt silly, I cringed at the mirror, whose reflection revealed a tired mother of 3 who felt the exact opposite of desirable. But I didn’t want to feel that way anymore—so I bought everything I loved and hoped I would eventually feel as beautiful as the lace and silk of my new spoils.

At first, my pretty new purchases looked silly in my drawers next to my flannel PJs and very-worn-out sorority T-shirts. But I consistently chose silk over flannel. Even when I didn’t feel sexy, on my most lonely nights, I chose lace. I needed the boost before bed.

Curling up alone a bed that you once shared was unpredictable every night. Sometimes I didn’t know what I was going to feel: Would the emptiness still be there, or would I be glad for the extra space? For a while, I slept in the middle and took up the whole bed. Whatever emotions were there waiting for me, I had a weapon. I didn’t fight back against the feelings; instead, I wrapped myself in the strength of silk and lace as a reminder of how much I’d grown.

My new “silk armor” helped me move forward and view myself differently. My reflection in the mirror now is a wiser, stronger more independent woman than I was four years ago.

A good friend of mine says people in our lives are our mirrors. They reflect who we think we are. Our closest friends reflect the way we want to see ourselves. Through them, we see our most flattering reflection, who we want to be. When I put on lingerie, I become my own best advocate and supporter. (It took some time to love my 42-year-old-mom-of-3 reflection wearing lingerie, but I got there.) And now that woman in the mirror is a very good friend of mine.

This week, I hope whatever fabric or shape your armor comes in, it provides you with the strength and support to be your best self.