We should have gone to bed, but for some reason, we were awake watching a home shopping channel. I find it fascinating how salespeople rope you in with their description of color. Tomato garden, stargazer blue, dandelion fields, and watermelon rind can be yours in a convenient pack of plastic containers with lids that get lost in a sea of mismatched covers. You will ask yourself later,
“Where did I put the peach margarita? I thought I saw it in here yesterday.” You shuffle pieces and parts around, looking for the orange one, but settle on another after profuse sweating.
Exaggeration while presenting products to generate want and need is the key to a healthy flow of income. Announcing what we already know isn’t enticing. We have to throw a new name on it, usually with something that appeals to the senses, like a tropical island or a favorite food.
What would you rather buy: a plain red pair of underwear or a super slim bikini-ready panty?
Even though we all know it’s a tourist trap in your living room, we cannot find the strength to turn off the tv and leave. We must listen to the exasperated voices, the fantastic way a zipper functions, and the marvelous fringe hanging from a throwback jacket from the 70s.
We were subjected to a woman explaining her blue jean collection. She had them neatly on a rack so the camera could zoom in while she pulled them to the side to show off her handiwork done at a factory by machines. Yet, she took all the credit.
“We wanted to create a line, especially for the older female wanting to feel empowered and the fullness of their feminity.” This was the gateway to more. It started with the soft sell to work on emotions, and when the phones weren’t lighting up, they had to move it up a notch.
“How great,” the host said, in her whispery voice, sounding like this was the first pair of pants she had ever seen.
Then, the material had to be petted like a small animal with the softest fur.
“Now, ladies, can’t you see yourself on a night out rocking these jeans like a teenager all over again?”
I started to fade long before the word ‘rocking’ showed up. I can be visual, so when that word was used, I saw an older woman sitting in a chair, wearing sweatpants and knitting a shawl. When did a musical term become something someone does with clothing?
I was the demographic for this display, as they were advertised for the more mature. They saved the best part for last.
“These are embellished, ladies.”
“What?” said the presenter next to her, acting as if her last shot of whiskey had just kicked in.
For more minutes than humanly possible, they went on a tirade about how there had been a lot of care taken to put special steel inserts up and down the legs. These weren’t your typical choices with rivets adorning them.
That’s when the language took a turn.
“You will feel so sexy in these you won’t ever want to take them off to wash them!”
This caused me to recline back to the fullest extent in my chair and slap my hands over my eyes. The charade was in full swing. They were preying upon the late-night snackers who had insomnia. By the time they received their order, they would have to go up two sizes.
Even then, we kept looking on, waiting to see if there were any more surprises, like a trap door in the back of them. My daughter, unable to take another second of the lies, said,
“The only thing that is embellished is this lady’s speech!”
She wasn’t buying it, probably because she isn’t past thirty. Skinny jeans are normal to her, but to me, they conjure up not eating for at least a week. In my youth, skinny meant no extra fat anywhere, not even on your thumbs. So, for her to take issue with this, it wasn’t just me who saw the facade.
I became curious the other day and searched for the meaning of embellish. It’s a double-edged sword.
Here is the positive side: make (something) more attractive with the addition of decorative details or features.
That seemed to be what the sales professionals aimed for with their post-midnight attention grab.
Here’s the darker side: make (a statement or story) more interesting or entertaining by adding extra details, especially ones that are not true.
There is just the slightest difference between good and evil. My daughter was correct. Would wearing them bring in the height of satisfaction viewers were chasing after? I bet not.
I wanted to know what was said about the opposite of this word. Here is what I found: Disfigure. To spoil the appearance of.
While the items were meant to be a fashion statement that would increase self-esteem, this would not be a long term effect. Anything on the outside, and not from the spirit, is short lived. That’s why the clever, hypnotic subconscious tricks were stated so customers would be reeled in.
I saw how the positive and the negative were not opposites at all. Let’s say someone who dislikes themselves buys these, believing this is the answer to all of their self-hatred. They run for the credit card, place the order, and anticipate feeling better when they slip into them. After a while, the false high fades along with the jeans.
The original intent was to make a purchase to cover up feelings of inferiority, but it will only be healed if the root of the problem is dealt with. Instead of making one discover wholeness, it tears down and disfigures. Something that was to bring a beautiful gain ends up causing pain. The mirror shows the same body, housing the same mindset that holds the worn out thoughts that you are ugly and not of any value. When one looks at themselves, they see distortion, another form of disfigurement.
Isn’t it horrifying to think that when you dress something up to make it more pretty, it can backfire?
For years, I practiced the art of embellishment, and not with clothing items. I did it with my life, covering up the abuse I endured in my marriage. I didn’t tell anyone about the physical, psychological, or emotional turmoil I was living in.
I put on a smile and pretended that all was well. My family and friends may have seen through it; I am not sure, but I was a great actress, taught at a young age how to minimize circumstances and distort reality. I lied so often that I believed my twisting of the truth.
This was not done with malice but to protect my girls and me from more perceived harm. The damage of what I did was extraordinarily serious, causing my spiritual growth to stop as I was so caught up in trying to control the situation with the only tools I had been given in my childhood, modeled by my mom.
If I hurt myself and would go to her, she made me believe it wasn’t that bad. Our house had an unwritten rule that we had to tough it out no matter what, and anything to her dislike was made into something else. I recall having a vivid dream that I broke my leg, and when I showed her, she said,
“Oh, you just cut yourself. That’s not bad at all.”
Dreams tell us what we shove down to avoid. I woke up knowing that I had fractured a bone, but her dismissive attitude was trying to convince me otherwise. This is how I was conditioned to take adverse circumstances and make them disappear.
For years, I felt I could not tell anyone what was happening. I put up blocks, propped us up, and made excuses. I was good at it because it was about self-preservation, but I was stifling the growth in my house, keeping us trapped. I demonstrated to my daughters a worse version of what my mother had done to me.
I see it similar to when a person is building a snowman. You start with a small ball of snow and keep rolling it until you can no longer push it further. Something that once fit into the palm of your hand is now more massive than you, and you cannot move the weight of it anymore.
You start in control, but it gets increasingly out of your control.
It wasn’t until a divorce that I could have stepped into another place that would have set me free from this insidious darkness that had a choke hold on me. But, in the chaos and fear, I defaulted toward what was familiar.
I read a book not long ago that contained research on the brain. When a person deceives long enough, chemicals are released that change the makeup of the organ, causing it to be more challenging to undo the falsehoods. If this person takes a lie detector test, it often comes back as truth because they believe what they are saying, and the body supports it.
When you live in denial since childhood, you aren’t aware of what you are doing. You make decisions without thinking, and it has only been by revelation that I see the damage it has caused me. Living an existence parallel to an authentic life is not what God wants. The word that comes to mind is pretending.
Like characters in a play, we put on our disguises and act our part. Someone else is writing the script, and we are not in a place of authority as we were designed to be. And when you live in such a way, your external world reflects what you give it. Your relationships are fake, people will lie just as much as you are, and you become a shadow of yourself.
This is where you work with God to find your freedom. No matter how frightening it is, you decide to leave the past behind and become who you were put on earth to be, no matter how uncomfortable it gets. The voices of despair and panic scream through your mind that you will not make it, but you fight past it, wanting to create a new life you were always meant to have.
You become honest, and this is where you find yourself, the one that went missing as a child. You understand you can demand that the people around you respect you, disengage from toxic people, and build genuine deep, loving relationships. Anyone who mistreated you in the past is no longer in a close inner circle. You handle it like a drug addict who sets himself free and finds new people to associate with, even if it means moving from one location to another to fully get away from your past.
No one would have said I was a bad person. I went out of my way to be a people pleaser, putting myself last on the list because I disregarded myself and my true feelings. It was a vicious cycle of pretending to be okay when I was hemorrhaging everywhere spiritually.
In Psalm 147:3 it says,
He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds. (NLT)
God longs for us to come out of our prisons and live in abundant peace. We can concoct our plans, but His ways are higher and better. Simplicity is what heaven offers. It doesn’t involve ducking and dodging out of the way of harm or making up one story after another to cover up the last one.
And those embellished jeans? They will always be for sale, hoping some unsuspecting buyer will come along and succumb to the slick sales pitch. The emotional manipulation draws in the weak, but the enlightened woman turns her back on what doesn’t honor her value.
Instead, you can cast all that away and put on God’s garment of truth, only seeking the attention of heaven, keeping your dignity intact, and being okay with wearing what some might consider plain.