It feels awkward to blog about bras, but I owe it to the bra-wearing women of the world to share my experience.
If you get nothing else from this post ladies, get this: Get properly fitted for a bra. It matters.
Note: not just fitted. Properly fitted.
So six years ago I was fitted for a strapless bra at JCPenney. I was in a wedding, and the bridesmaids dresses were strapless. I had just had a baby five months before, so being measured to make sure I got the right size sounded like a good idea.
Well, I didn’t get a proper fit. The lady measured me, told me the size I needed and got me that size. When I told her it just didn’t feel right, she stood her ground that it was the right size because she measured me.
Ok, fine, I bought the bra.
Since then I’ve guessed at my bra size, sometimes finding an ok fit but never finding anything great. They were all just good enough; they got the job done but that was about it.
Awhile ago, I commented to a friend that she looked great, like she’d lost a lot of weight. No, that wasn’t it, she said; she’d just been fitted for a new bra. The new bra had better lift causing her tummy area to look slimmer.
She was fitted at Victoria’s Secret. Honestly: I’ve never had any luck there finding anything that fits. I’d almost resolved to go there anyhow for a fitting when another friend told me about Soma (which for those in Huntsville, is at Bridge Street). The big difference between Victoria’s Secret and Soma Intimates is class. I don’t mean to put down Victoria’s Secret but their lingerie is a little more racy and skimpy. The items at Soma are intimate, as their name implies, but nice, not naughty, if you know what I mean. Very functional and good everyday wear yet still with simple sex appeal.
Soma employee Stephanie helped me choose my bras and did my fitting. She was very knowledgeable and helpful, and the experience was much better than it was 6 years ago. The thing Stephanie told me that made this experience different is that even after being measured, the fit is still very individualized. The measurements, she said, are a starting point not the ending point. So we started there and tried on different things until I found one that was right.
I walked out wearing my new bra, and I left my old one there. The Soma bra donation event is going on now through Aug 12. Donated bras will be distributed to homeless shelters by the National Network to End Domestic Violence.
Stephanie and I talked about how with most bras the first thing I want to do when I get home is take it off because all day I’ve been tugging, pulling and adjusting straps, etc. But these bras, she claimed, I wouldn’t even remember I was wearing.
She was right.
Choose Life is a lifesaver, and not just the tiny babies that are it’s mission to save. In my case, the opportunity to volunteer there and to pour life into a ministry that wasn’t about me was a life raft that I so desperately needed.
How It All Began
I started volunteering at Choose Life’s pregnancy test center in December 2011. But I’ve actually had some involvement with them off and on since I was a teenager. In December they advertised on Facebook that they were looking for a volunteer receptionist one a week for four hours.
I wasn’t working at the time and was looking for constructive things to fill my time and to add some structure and stability to my life.
I saw the request for receptionist and thought: I can do that; I can answer a phone and work a front office counter.
I started receptioning each week and loved it! It was simple office tasks — answering the phone, scheduling appointments, giving and receiving clients their paperwork, and getting their files ready for their appointment. My weekly four-hour shift became one of the highlights of my week!
All of us that volunteer there on Friday are sociable and friendly, so we have a good time chatting and sharing. I consider each of the ladies there with me each week a friend. Two of the women live on my street! Is that not crazy?!? We didn’t even know each other before, and through Choose Life I met two of my neighbors!
One of the women was in a graduate class with me at UAH a few years ago — the world is so much smaller than we know. With the other, I’ve had lunch several times, her daughter has babysat for me, and she’s part of a Bible study at my house on Saturday mornings.
Another volunteer sews, and we’ve swapped some knitting and sewing stories and tips. One of the girls is pregnant so we had a small shower for her with gifts and food.
Several of us like coffee with lotsa cream so we share in that too. It’s been so fun to come together each week with a common purpose and be just a small cog in God’s giant wheel.
When I interviewed for receptionist, the ladies in charge of the pregnancy test center recommended I go through counselor training which was coming up in March. When I went there, I had no interest in counseling. But the counseling training, they said, would make me a better receptionist and educate me on their ministries. I kept an open mind about it, and when March came around I signed up.
Even during the training I made it clear that I wasn’t sure I wanted to counsel, but that I wanted to be a better receptionist.
The counselor training and the sister counseling sessions, where I shadowed counselors in the room with real clients, made a huge impression on me, and I got the counseling bug. So now in addition to receptionist one a day week, I’m currently counseling one day a week and fill in as needed when someone needs to be out.
Counseling is a little intimidating but God overcomes whatever fear is there. Sometimes people just need to be loved and heard. They just need someone to talk to and someone to say an encouraging word.
My counselor training has made me more confident in sharing my faith and my testimony and in asking others about theirs. It’s made a remarkable difference both inside and outside the counseling room.
What We Do
The boys know that mommy works (for free) at Choose Life. I’ve tried to explain what it was we do in a way they can get it. When a woman thinks she might be pregnant we can do a free test to see if she’s pregnant and talk to her about any questions or concerns she has. We can show her an ultrasound picture of her baby and show her the heartbeat and help her get in with a doctor and other places that can help her get all the things she needs for the baby.
One morning Caden asked if Choose Life was where you go to choose what kind of life you were going to have. I laughed and explained that it was called Choose Life because we want the women who come there to choose life for their baby and to choose life for themselves, the kind of life that only comes through Christ, “life abundant and free.” So in that sense I guess it kinda is where you go to choose your life.
It’s been a great help to me and I hope I’ve been of use there. I pray each time I’m there that I be broken, spilled out and used up.
Broken and spilled out
Just for love of you, Jesus
My most precious treasure
Lavished on thee
Broken and spilled out
And poured at your feet
In sweet abandon
Let me be spilled out
And used up for Thee
–Lyrics, Steve Green
A year ago today I was happy.
My best friend asked me to marry him, and I looked forward to that life.
Earlier in the day we had fought because of my stupid jealousy over the girl before me and major insecurity issues. I had ruined a proposal opportunity a week earlier on the beach in Florida but didn’t even know it at the time. Same reasons — jealousy, insecurity, etc. But all those aside, I was happy about so many things. The best was yet to come, I thought.
Within two weeks I panicked and walked out. I denied at the time and for the greater part of the past year that walking out was what I did. But there’s no other way to describe it. Inside I felt like I just needed some time and space to get over the death of my marriage and the suicide of my husband, to adjust, to … excuses excuses. But what I did on the outside was walk away from a good person who was nothing but good to me and good to my sons. I explained and rationalized and justified — and granted, there were things to work through — but he was willing to work through them. I panicked and ran. I let anxiety and fear get the best of me.
It’s been a rocky year, one full of some ups and many downs and quite a few regrets.
Today, I went back to the place where he proposed and the place where I had hoped we would have our marriage ceremony. I spent some time there praying, thinking, meditating, and pondering things like what commitment really means to me if I could so easily walk away. I made a promise, and I broke it, and worse than that I attempted to explain it away with things like “well, I didn’t really make a promise” and “it was just an engagement” knowing full well what that meant to him, and trying to say that I had the right to change my mind.
I did make a promise, and I did break it. Even if I had the “right” to change my mind that doesn’t mean I should or that I have the right to hurt others in the process. Why should my prerogative to change my mind weigh more than another’s prerogative to not be hurt? And if hurt is unavoidable, there’s a right way and a wrong to do it, and I chose the worst way possible I believe. I have all my reasons and excuses but they don’t really amount to much when I sit here regretting the choices I made and the hurtful things I said and the end result of he and I not being together.
A year ago today I was happy.
Today, I was sad.