There are 5 pictures below and they all have something in common. See if you can figure out what it is...
In case you hadn't figure it out it's my shorts. Well, my "longs" as my boyfriend calls them. And for as long as I can remember they are the only shorter pants I would wear when temperatures got hotter. Because, as you see, like many other "bigger" women I have come to think that because I am a bit bigger means that I should keep more of myself covered up. Even though I am feeling better about my body and my health, this feeling that "no one wants to see my legs (aka my fat)" is still something that I have been battling for years.
I am sure there are those of you out there that totally know what I am talking about. I put tank tops under shirts so there is 0% chance that any stomach will show EVER. I wear pants and longer shorts that won't tighten up too much when I sit so my legs don't look like they are spilling over. I wear sweaters over all of my tighter fitting outfits to hide some of the less attractive parts of me. In conclusion, I purposefully wear clothes that hide my body.
Am I proud to admit all of these things? Absolutely not. It's hard to admit. Especially because I pride myself on being confident and helping youth find their confidence.
In the past couple months something has started to shift in my thinking. My "style" choices, the ones that hide my beautiful self, were pointed out to me. The fact that I cover everything up with a sweater. Or feel that because I have thicker legs I can't wear smaller shorts. And although I always knew the reasons I was doing these things, to have them called out was a good shock to my system. To have it sink that that someone thinks that I-- exactly the way I am, working my butt off to stay healthy--don't need to continue to cover up so much. "You are beautiful just the way you are."
And so recently I bought a pair of real shorts. REAL, ACTUAL shorts. It was pretty scary. And at first I didn't like them at all. I haven't owned a pair of shorts like that since high school. But after wearing them a couple times, I started to readjust. And then I started to feel more confident. And then I started to enjoy wearing them. And now I have to say I think I look damn good.
But it wasn't just about the shorts. It was about owning myself. Starting to have an understanding of my body and how I look to others. Not solely relying on the mirror, but how I actually feel wearing clothes. I leave the gym feeling amazing, so why is it that I have such a hard time putting on a dress and feeling the same way?
Recently I spent time hanging out with someone that I believe is STUNNINGLY beautiful. And the amount of people that check her out on the street totally agree. But she doesn't see it. She confided in me that all she sees is fat when she looks in the mirror. And I have to admit that I don't see a lick of fat on her. After our conversation I came home and looked in the mirror. Like many people, all I could see was the "blech". You know, the things that make you say "blech". And I got annoyed at myself because how can that be all I see when I am FEELING so great! I am working my butt off and I feel great, so why do I continue to bash myself every time I look in the mirror.
Several of my friends posted THIS article on Facebook. It's a story about a woman named Mehgan Tonjes who had her picture taken off Instagram because it was deemed as "inappropriate". It was a photo much like the photos I take to share with my friends when I am feeling good. But because she is a bit "bigger" it was taken down for being inappropriate. And then Instagram apologized and it became a whole big thing. But my point is, it really got me thinking about myself and the shorts.
We need to spend more time as people, woman especially, understanding how beautiful we are. Everyday.
I am very lucky that I have people in my life who push to help me see it. And these shorts were the first of many new clothing adventures I am trying. And although they aren't all winners... yesterday I tried on a bathing suit that looked HEINOUS... at least I am trying to show the world that I am not ashamed of who I am or how I look. While I may not be exactly where I want to be, I have worked damn hard to get to where I am and I will continue to work on being proud of how I look. Because as I said, it isn't just about the shorts... it's about being able to see that they do indeed make me look damn good.