I have always hated shorts. At my smallest, at my leanest, at my largest: shorts have always been my worst enemy. Because of my body type, I carry more weight around my thighs, hips, and butt, no matter what size I am, so it’s always been an area of high scrutiny for me — not an area I’ve wanted to highlight. It’s rare to find pictures of me in shorts, even working out I prefer leggings and crops. There is something about having fabric stop mid-thigh that has always terrified me, has always made me feel as though my legs are about ten sizes bigger than they actually are. It’s actually kind of funny, and I can’t quite figure out why I’m 100% more comfortable with fabric clinging to my every curve (as in leggings), than I am in shorts. It makes no sense, I know.
It started at a young age, back in elementary school when a girl told me my butt jiggled when I walked. It continued on as I gained a little weight during the first couple years of college and my self esteem really took a hit. It became even worse when, one summer day in my early 20’s, I was walking down the street in Boston in one of my only pair of shorts, when a man walked toward me yelling “Cell- U- Liiiiiiiite!”.
Yes. That actually happened.
None of these things traumatized me (although what the hell was that guy thinking?), but they all added to my ever present fear of shorts and how they might accentuate my “trouble areas”. Luckily when I was growing up, girls weren’t wearing the super short shorts that are everywhere now (God, that makes me sound old), so it wasn’t too much of an issue. I could wear longer shorts and no one would think twice about it. Now, when I go shopping to get one or two pair, because sometimes it’s so hot it’s just necessary to have less fabric, I find it impossible to find anything longer than a 5″ inseam. And that feels super short for me.
To put it in perspective, this isn’t just about a skewed self perception. Because the reality is, most shorts just don’t fit people with my body type. I have a small waist, some serious glutes, and some equally serious quads. Shorts that are loose enough on my thighs always fall off at at the waist, and if they fit my waist, I can’t even pull them up over these quad monsters.
It’s a conundrum.
Now, I will admit, that I do wear shorts more nowadays than I used to, mostly because over the past few years I have finally grown fairly comfortable in my own body. Lifting has helped me with this big time, and has helped me to really appreciate my legs and their shape, because I know that their shape helps me to be as strong as I am. However, as much as I appreciate what these legs and glutes can do, I still don’t always love how they look.
Enter my running shorts.
I have a pair of running shorts that were given to me as a gift, and I love them. I love them when they’re sitting in my “workout-clothes” drawer, however, because they’re kinda short (you know, like normal running shorts are), they rarely make it out. They’re super cute and comfortable, but when I put them on, I feel like I’m wearing underwear. I promise that’s not actually the case, and I’ll show you a picture below to prove it.
Anyway, I decided one day last week that I’ve had enough of being afraid of my shorts, and I really just need to get over it. I may not have the perfect legs, and I probably never will, but that doesn’t mean that my legs are so offensive that they should never see the light of day! So I took those shorts out, put them on, and walked around town all day in them. Leg jiggle be damned.
The shorts in question. It’s funny, because when I look at them now, objectively, I can see that they’re not that short. And my legs certainly aren’t offensive. But this is NOT what I saw when I was walking around that day.
I’m not going to tell you that I had this beautiful moment where I was all “OMGeeee I Love my legs so much, the world is a beautiful place!” Nope. I was uncomfortable. When I went for a walk in the morning, I felt like everyone I passed was wondering why I was wearing such short shorts. I kept looking down at my legs, expecting to see what, I’m not sure. But all I saw was a pair of pretty normal, muscular, quadzilla (in the words of Neghar Fonooni) legs. I did get a little bit more comfortable as I walked around that afternoon, but not to the point where I felt as though I was totally at peace with those silly little shorts.
But that’s ok, and that will come. These legs do some pretty amazing things, and I just need to keep that in mind on those days when I feel like they don’t deserve a pair of shorts. Because hell, sometimes it’s just too damn hot, and nothing else is gonna cut it. Amiright?
I guess my point is this: I am in pretty darn good shape, I am strong, I eat pretty healthfully, and I take care of myself pretty well. But I’m not perfect, and I’m still learning how to show those parts of myself that are the least perfect. Just because I write a blog doesn’t mean that I love my body all the time– and it’s ok if you have reservations about certain parts of yourself too. We’re all learning to be ok with our perceived flaws, I guess the best thing is to remind yourself that those perceived flaws are much bigger in your own mind than in the minds of others.
So I will keep wearing my shorts. I will keep reminding myself that it’s okay to wear these shorts, and any other pair that I want to wear. I’ll keep working on feeling good in them, on being comfortable and owning these legs that carry me around every day. They are the only pair I’ve got after all, so I might as well learn to love them!
Readers: Do you have a certain article or type of clothing that you’re not comfortable with? Do you have trouble finding shorts that fit? How do you get over your own body fears and own what you’ve got?