This is a post about corsets, brassieres, living in the past and change. This is a post for women that I hope will be meaningful to you. Some men will read it, and though the things they remember may be different, the message will also apply to them. I hope you will pass it on to others by using the sharing link or sending them the url. It’s about the inevitability of change in all of our lives.
Do you remember how women a long time ago used to wear corsets? Some of you will, but some of you are too young! My mother and grandmother visited a woman who fitted them for what they called corsets or “girdles”. They didn’t look anything like the above photo. They were just plain white, stiff undergarments with bones to hold them in. Maybe you do not remember actual corsets, but you may remember the panty girdles many girls wore in my teen years, when they got dressed up (and I was a skinny girl but that’s what you did!).
Do you remember when bras were called “brassieres”? Who says that nowadays? Nobody! Maybe you remember when some burned their bras in protest of the patriarchy and oppression of women here in the US?
Do you remember sanitary belts that you wore monthly, and to which you pinned the sanitary pad? Remember how uncomfortable and bulky those were? Or maybe where you grew up they didn’t have those. Instead you had to tear up old clothing, and you used the strips of cloth that you laundered and reused. There has certainly been a lot of change in the area of feminine products (and TV ads talking about all this stuff).
Do you remember washing diapers with a scrub board? I know my mother did it. Do you remember the diaper pails where you stored the smelly diapers till you had a load of them to wash? That’s a change most of us are pretty glad happened.
Do you remember when stockings were held up with a garter belt, before the days of panty hose?
Do you remember when a young lady did not go downtown to shop without a skirt or dress on, or how you wore white gloves when you dressed up?
Do you remember when wearing pants or jeans to school was unheard of, and jeans were called dungarees?
Do you remember “mad money”? My mother told me not to go out in a date without a dollar “in case the boy got fresh” and I needed money for a bus or cab to get home safely.
And my grandmother advised to carry a hat pin in case I needed to stick an aggressor while riding on the subway in New York. Some of you have probably never even seen a hat pin. Not too many even wear dress-up hats nowadays.
The point is that all things change. The things I mentioned are not part of our lives today. (Well bras are, but we don’t call them brassieres unless we are about 100 years old.) Sometimes the changes that arrive in our worlds are for the better! Sometimes the changes are not. Sometimes they are changes we didn’t want and maybe we wish things would go back to the way they once were.
The reality is that we just can’t go back in time. Eventually we must make our choices about accepting a new order of things. Do we want to continue mourning the past forever? Do we want to remain immersed in misery? Do we want to dwell on every significant event and day from our pasts, which causes us to miss out on all the present moments? Do we want to allow the spark of life and joy that we once had within us to be snuffed out by sadness, grief and disappointment?
Sometimes we simply don’t know how to let go. We think our lives are over when we’ve had terrible losses or experienced some type of trauma. That may be what we have seen happen with the role models in our lives..the folks we know. We may not know any people personally who have survived terrible things, yet figure out how to keep on living and finding ways to make life worthwhile.
Or we may indeed know some people like that and we falsely believe they have some magical, incredible strengths that we don’t possess.
Each loss, tough change, or grief journey is unique, but they also share some similarities. There are techniques and tools we can learn to help us function better, as well as to help us figure out how to begin planning for a new way of living when the old way is no longer possible.
While we can never get back the life we had before something terrible happened to us, we can move through a process of learning how to deal with, and even enjoy things in the here and now. We can learn effective ways to plan for a future, and to believe we deserve that future. That is truly what recovering means. It is up to you, but there really is no going back!
Maybe you can share it on this blog? Maybe it’s picking up the phone to talk to me about your situation and changes you might like to make, or shooting me an email?