Chafing Is No Joke

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.



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21 responses to “Chafing Is No Joke”

  1. How do you manage to connect such random things??? It is truly a gift.
    And yes, the thighs rubbing together thing… it makes wearing a skirt sans nylons (in true NW style) not very comfortable. 😛

  2. ” . . . 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).”

    This is great food for thought. Thanks for sharing!

    I praying that your growth and transformation can continue with as little discomfort as possible. Praise God that His grace is there to carry us through whatever difficulties we face!

  3. You say shorts; my thighs say capris.
    Well, your thighs may say capris, but my cankles are screaming long pants. I have had swollen feet ever since I last gave birth (9 1/2 years ago!) My doctor called me a day after I came home (we bonded during my especially fun labor & delivery which resulted in forceps guiding my 10 1/2 lb bouncing baby boy out) to ask how we were doing, and I mentioned my gi-normous feet (and sausage toes!) and he promised me that in a few days I would have to pee a lot, and they would return to normal. I suppose this is the new normal. So, I longingly gaze at other women’s ankles; I SO understand.
    My chafing story is one of marital secrecy, but yes, I chafe.

    The point of this blog is not lost on me, though. And I also love the way you tie these things together. Love your posts!

    • “Well, your thighs may say capris, but my cankles are screaming long pants.”


      Speaking of marital secrecy, I once wondered how to explain a very special blister to Greg. “That can happen while running?” you ask. And I say, YES, THAT CAN HAPPEN WHILE RUNNING.

      Really, people who don’t read the comments section are missing out. 😉

  4. First I want to thank you for the giggle…something I desperately needed today! Love where the story ends as well. How I long for…oh, I don’t know what I long for…darned barriers.

  5. Great post, Beth. Love your honesty and humor and the ways your juxtapositions lead to something deeper. Just finished a race yesterday and am seriously chaffed in places I don’t normally think about until I got into the shower, and yeow! I know there’s a life-application metaphor in there somewhere, too, and your post will make me think more about it.

  6. I will say this… to address your question… It never occurred to me that my thighs didn’t rub together until I was into my late 20’s and started noticing that a lot people don’t have hair on the parts of their thighs that touch each other. But I did and I was trying to figure out why. So, in conclusion, it’s a bit more shaving…but otherwise it’s pretty rad.

  7. Aww Beth… Thanks so much for the giggle and honest and raw post. Pun slightly intended. What if the conversations we have each day with people we know and some that we meet had that uplifting, encouraging, thought provoking, humbling AND inspiring effect on us and the others. Wow… Thanks

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