I wore shorts today. That’s no big deal to most people, not worth noting. But I haven’t worn shorts in public since I was in 4th grade.
I bought 2 pairs at the thrift store about 2 years ago. I had a gastric bypass and lost 70 pounds, my weight had stabilized. I tried on my shorts and took a picture. Then I stuffed them into a drawer and forgot them, finally sending them back into the river of thrift when I had to move. Never wore them and saw no reason to keep them.
I didn’t wear shorts because I didn’t like my body, how my legs looked. I wore jeans during the summer, even when my mother complained she felt hot seeing me in long pants. My legs were fat and I felt I couldn’t expose people to their ugliness, I hated them.
I am still self conscious about my body, even though it has been nearly four years since my operation. I am smaller, my body is stronger and I am able to do more than I ever imagined. I don’t have to shop in special departments anymore, though it took a long time before I stopped going to Womens, Plus and Lane Bryant. I’ve come to recognize my reflection in mirrors. I am not tiny, petite or thin, I am healthier than before but not skinny. I don’t have the build. My mother did, she was tiny and small boned, like Audrey Hepburn. But my body looks different, feels different and I enjoy finding how I can stretch myself and go further, do more than I thought I could. There are people who only know me as I am now, who never saw me when I was overweight. None of my current co-workers know my old fat past and frankly I don’t see the need to tell them.
I’m not sure when I decided to buy shorts again. I go for long walks and wear jeans (still) and yoga pants, which I’m okay with in cooler or wet weather. But it has been warm, darned hot even and I thought shorts would have been so much…better. Without giving it much thought I hit the Goodwill and bought a pair of shorts. Long and baggy, they came to my knees. I wore them yesterday, for a short walk with my dog and came home. Then since nothing drastic or horrific happened, I wore them today.
They felt weird. Comfortable, yes, but I felt like I was wearing somebody else’s clothes. That’s probably not an odd assumption since they did come from the thrift, that is they were somebody else’s at one time. But they didn’t feel right at first, they were foreign and it took awhile to get used to the feel.
My dog didn’t notice, she was glad to see me grab the leash and put on my shoes to go out. And no one else noticed either. If any of the people at the river made any judgments or had any criticisms about my shorts or my big white legs they wisely kept it to themselves. Nobody laughed, pointed at me or said I looked stupid or terrible in my baggy thrift shorts. The world did not stop or end. Nobody cared, except me.
I went to another thrift store later, looking for another cheap pair of baggy shorts. I found some, four bucks, and nobody there cared about me or my legs. I am on a roll here.
My legs are not pretty but they are strong. I have a long scar on my left calf and there’s cellulite because there is. They have been through a lot, covered a lot of miles, been in a lot of races and carried me in hot, cold and wet weather,sometimes in the same day. They take me up flights of stairs, only my right knee complains on occasion. My legs do their job, they work and that’s all that matters. Excuse the dirty carpet, my dog and cat still haven’t learned how to operate the shampooer. And the large white thing is my t-shirt not a moon.