Chafing Is No Joke

Apr 30 2012

Chafing is no joke, you guys.

Chafing is no joke, and this is how I know…

I corresponded last week with my friend, Fiona, who wrote many beautiful and wonderful things. We connected. Deeply. About Important Stuff. Like Faith and Parenting. And Irreverence and Laughter. And being Real, Complex People (read: Completely Bonkers).

About Welcoming Others.

About Being Vulnerable and Open.

About Finding Our Place in the World.

And Fiona, of the Tea with a Friend blog, ended her e-mail with this:

I’d better go and do something about my pile of laundry.


It’s almost up to the ceiling.

And whilst I’m trying to tell myself that the reason I put clean pyjamas on this morning after showering was because we’re staying at home all day today, I need to face the reality, which is thus: I couldn’t find any clean undies, and I can’t quite bring myself to go commando under jeans.

Chafing is no joke.

OK. Now go back and read that in a Mary Poppins accent, ’cause the “whilst” and “which is thus” are simply better that way.

Oh, how I giggled.

I chortled.

And then I spent the whole weekend thinking about chafing.

And also thinking about how much cooler pajamas are when they’re spelled with a “y.” Pyjamas. So exotic!

…But mostly I thought about chafing.

I thought about how I’m all counter-cultural in my refusal buy into America’s shorts-wearing agenda anymore. You say shorts; my thighs say capris. Also, capris? SO MUCH MORE FABRIC for kids to wipe their faces on. Win/win, guys. Win/win.

I thought about women who have that most novel of feminine novelties – Legs Which Do Not Rub Together – and I wondered what that must be like, to live a life free from the constant threat of chafing. When I find myself walking behind a woman like that, I am fascinated. I stare and I stare, dropping my head down and to the side for a better view, until I realize that it must look like I’m staring at her butt, and then I desperately hope that no one notices because it’s not like I can say, “But did you see her thighs?! THEY RESPECT EACH OTHER’S PERSONAL SPACE. I mean, come on; that’s, like, WOW!”

I thought about running and the way that endurance events (why, hello, life!) have a way of revealing which parts move well and which parts hang a little too low or rub me the wrong way. What? I have a rash where?

And then I thought about how my sense of uneasiness and transformation lately feels a lot like chafing – as though my most delicate places (you know, like my heart and my soul – sheesh!) are a little red, a little rough, a little sore and uncomfortable – and how that’s to be expected when you change… or when you run life’s race like you mean it… or when you discard your barriers.

Emotional and spiritual chafing: it’s sort of like going commando with life. Freeing. Risky. Vulnerable. Painful. And intermittently hilarious.

As far as I can tell, the trick is in figuring out which of our barriers help protect us in good ways (xoxo, panties), and which barriers need to come tumbling down because they hold us back (this means you, insecurity).

In the end, though, I thought about my gratitude for the friends we meet along the road. The friends who are outrageously inappropriate in acknowledging their humanity. And especially the friends who make me laugh when I’m feeling rather raw and exposed.