As a child growing up there was not a lot of money coming into our household so I would wear hand me downs that my mother altered to fit me, and as for underwear, it was plain and practical.
Our home life was not a happy one in any way. I lived for the day that my father would finally see me for who I was, or even talk with me. There was never any sharing or chatting with each other, and as children my sister and I only seemed to be spoken to when we were judged to be in trouble. Even Mum and Dad very seldom spoke to each other. At school the children used to chatter away to each other, but for me I was always on the outside thinking that ‘no one wanted to hear what I had to say’, and my self confidence and self worth slowly diminished every day.
Mum knew how unhappy I was and got me away from home after I turned 16 years of age to stay with my aunty, then she and my younger sister followed 12 months later. In those days when a woman left her marriage she was not entitled to any share of the marital home, plus there was no government support or benefits in any way. Mum then had to find a housekeeping job where she could live-in so as to have my younger sister live with her while she finished school. There was very little money for anything extra after food, especially not for clothes and definitely not for underwear. Everything we wore was simple, and practical, usually second-hand, and definitely not pretty.
When I started work at 17 years of age I did not have nice clothes like other girls and I always felt so embarrassed, but in time I gradually saved up enough money to buy the cheapest clothes for sale at the local department store.
At that time it was so wonderful to be able to buy myself something new to wear, but it was still plain and practical.
Well this probably doesn’t sound very exciting at all, as we women always need to buy underwear, clothes and shoes, but for me it was. As I had never learned to communicate with anyone to get any advice about anything, including clothes and other personal items, I just did the best I could with the little money I was receiving each fortnight.
I got married at 21 and the struggles of having very little money continued. I used to make clothes for my three children and me unless I could find something second-hand, often having to alter them before they could be worn. I used to make sure my children were clothed first and I would get what was left over.
When my marriage ended 40 years later my self esteem and confidence was non-existent, even more so as the marriage had not been happy, and at times very abusive, so I did not think that I deserved to have nice things. I always thought that lovely underwear and lovely clothes were for other women, not me. Having the plain, old fashioned, practical sort had become my normal as a child and had continued to be so as the years went by.
Two years after my marriage ended I was shopping with a friend when she suddenly stopped outside a beautiful lingerie shop and said,
“COME ON IN HERE, TODAY YOU ARE GOING TO BUY YOUR SELF SOME NICE UNDERWEAR!!”
‘Oh dear’ I thought, me having pretty underwear, that is for other women. But she persisted and in we went. I was feeling totally out of my depth and bewildered, just wanting to turn around and walk out, but as my friend was so persistent I chose to stay and let her help me sort out some very pretty looking underwear.
It probably sounds silly but after I paid for them I burst into tears, as in my 64 years, I had never had anything so beautiful.
Buying beautiful underwear continued from that day but my every day clothes were still plain and rather boring. A few years later another friend looked closely at me and what I was wearing, and said “You are not an old woman” – I was in my mid 70’s at the time! – “You need to get out of your old woman’s fashion and get into more modern clothes.” As we both worked at an ‘Op’ shop (secondhand opportunity shop) she would go along a rack and she would pull something out. My immediate response would be, “Oh I can’t wear that.”, but her reply would be “TRY IT”. When I did, gosh it did look nice and sometimes I even managed a wow; she definitely knew what suited me.
This was the beginning of a whole new way of dressing for me and over a period of time I have been able to gradually update my clothing. I have loved throwing out the old and replacing it with something new – in fact, now I love opening my wardrobe door to be greeted by my wonderful and colourful clothes; but not only do they look beautiful in my wardrobe, they look and feel beautiful on me as well, and as for my underwear drawer, I love opening that too.
These days when I look in the mirror I can finally see the beautiful woman who is smiling back at me. For most of my life I used to hide behind an artificial smile, some people used to say that I was always smiling, but I really wasn’t, I was hiding my pain. Now my smile comes from deep inside of me and in turn that makes my face so much softer and younger looking; a most wonderful and natural face lift!
So for women who do not know, or think that they do not deserve pretty underwear, just know that YOU ARE ALL SO BEAUTIFUL INSIDE AND OUT, AND DESERVE TO HAVE LOVELY THINGS, just like me.
Over the last 10 years, thanks to the presentations and support of Serge Benhayon and Natalie Benhayon, I have come to know that I am an amazing and beautiful woman. I am now feeling so much better about my body than I have ever done, and at 86 I can honestly say that this is the best I have ever felt in my life; and I’m still wearing pretty underwear!
By Dorothy Carlile, aged 86, Tauranga, New Zealand
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