The veritas of shopping and Spanx

I spent the majority of my Saturday scouring Towne East Mall in Wichita with my mom and youngest sister. Our mission was to find the perfect prom dress for my sister?s first prom.

The choices were plentiful?glitter or sparkles, satin or lace, strapless or strapped, halter or not, long or short (insert images of 1980s movies here).

After narrowing her top picks to three?at three different stores, no less?my sister made her decision. A long, halter-style dress with a mermaid-flared skirt in zebra, lime green and black. It fits my sister?s fun-loving personality perfectly. I only hope she can find some lime green heels to match?.

And while prom dress shopping was fun (albeit a tad exhausting), I couldn?t help but take note of a more significant societal trend: We have become masters of hiding the truth.

?If you don?t like how this green dress doesn?t flatter your figure,? one salesperson told my 17-year-old sister, ?you can buy Spanx (slimming undergarments) to hide those imperfections.?

Why not buy a dress that fits? To make a dress seem longer, just wear flats. To hold a dress up, use tape. Or maybe, just get one with straps?

Lies have become a misguided form of what we see as truth. And in the case of the Spanx incident, a way for the salesperson to make a commission?even though few women have the build to pull off a straight dress made of satin.

But Spanx aren?t the root of the problem. It?s our insecurities. Most advertising works because it somehow surfaces insecurity?my car is too old, my complexion is too red, my stomach is too round, my appliances are too white. When we buy in, we are sucked into a cycle of hopelessness.

And advertising isn?t the only method of hiding the truth. We are also plagued by seeds of doubt that infiltrate our work, our families and our relationships. And when we doubt ourselves, that?s all the more reason to cover it up, right?

Take parenting, for example. Before becoming a first-time mom nearly two years ago, I was under the impression that motherhood was fairly easy. Is it? No. But rarely do you hear about the grueling, sleepless nights, the marathon feedings, the frustration that comes from sleep deprivation or the more serious condition of post-partum depression that accompanies having a newborn.

And the hardships don?t stop there. Enter the so-called ?terrible twos,? the junior high years, teenagers and every stage in between.

Motherhood is difficult. Why cover that up? That doesn?t help anyone.

What helps is to put the truth out there. For instance, the saying, ?sleeping like a baby? is an oxymoron. A perfect mother (or father) is impossible. Recent proof: I fed my daughter cheese and chips for lunch a week ago.

?Having it all put together? rarely happens, and if it does, you can bet that will change without a moment?s notice.

And how about laughing at a klutzy move I made with my butterfingered pregnancy hands? Last week, I dropped my cell phone into my glass of water that was sitting on the counter. Are you feeling better yet?

I love the strong simplicity of the Latin word for truth: veritas. Many of our nation?s colleges and universities, including Harvard, use a form of veritas in their mottos, signifying a search for truth. It?s time to let truth set us free.

And we can start by shedding those Spanx.