Really? Really, really.

"Everybody is too busy focusing on their own perceived imperfections to notice yours."

That is my usual Tenet To Live By. I'm pretty good at following it, most of the time. However, when there is an impending event that will involve a lot of cameras, such as a wedding or a birthday or, say, BlogHer, I've been known to have the occasional panicky crisis of faith.

I had one today. Thanks to whacky hormones and lack of time to exercise and sheer laziness on my part, I'm officially the same weight that I was a couple of weeks after giving birth to my son. It's only twenty pounds more than I would like to weigh, and I think I look fine. I feel fine, which is equally important, but since all this extra blubber seems to have settled around my waist like a floatation device, I have this pesky little problem: nothing fits.

Mostly I just kind of muddle along in jeans and hope that some chemical rebalancing of my body will eventually win me my wardrobe back. But for something like the BlogHer parties, where I want to look NICE, and maybe wear something SPECIAL, it's problematic. Today, feeling slightly on edge, I thought I came up with the perfect solution: shapewear. Shapewear would shave off a few sizes. Shapewear would turn me into a svelte, confident, social conquerer who doesn't show quite so much gums when she smiles, right?

While that might be slightly true for higher-end products such as Yummie Tummie or Spanx, due to time and money constraints, what I had access to this afternoon was discount shapewear.

(These sudden fixations on specific items to assuage my fashion fears are...often somewhat deluded. I have some very creepy rubber boob-lifter 'cutlets' that will attest to this.)

I took the butt-and-tummy-firmer-and-smoother into the changeroom with a pair of jeans and a nice (if slightly clingy) top. I changed from my comfy 'weekend' jeans and loose tank into the Lycra armor.

...Huh. I don't think this stuff is supposed to CREATE lumps. Maybe they go away after you put the clothes on over top.

Um. Guess not. Isn't this supposed to make me look smaller?

I stood under the unflattering flourescent lights of the outlet mall for a bit, shoulders slumped, wondering if I really looked that paunchy. Then I decided that 'really' is whatever you make it. The people I meet at BlogHer will still be meeting ME.

I put everything back and vowed to only ever shop at places that are smart enough to provide natural lighting.

Then I went and spent that money on wine.