The package arrived and I immediately felt a mix of both relief and disappointment. I had caved about a week before, and finally placed the order. I debated back and forth for a long time about whether I wanted to do this, and ultimately decided to buy myself bigger shorts.
This quarantine, I have really enjoyed letting go. I eat the potato chips with a mayo-rich sandwich, I have the dessert (sometimes even after my kids go to bed), and I use the most indulgent coffee creamers that I had previously forbid myself from buying.
So, I have gained weight and it is not a surprise, nor is it something I am embarrassed about.
Over the past several months, many women like me have been permanently fixed in yoga pants and some form of t-shirt. With the lockdown starting in March, it was an easy transition from work pants and jeans to the comforting, forgiving fabric of spandex leggings.
Yet with the summer months comes summer weather, and I started to realize that yoga pants weren’t cutting it. I was at a point where the gratification of not getting dressed had changed to wanting to get dressed. I wanted to feel human again and not like someone that is essentially in the movie Groundhog Day.
So I broke down about a month ago and pulled all my shorts out of storage. I had been avoiding this moment for weeks because I knew what was about to happen. I tried on each pair one by one with no success. I felt my anxiety build as the pile dwindled and the buttons never closed.
Then after some self-indulgent tears, I put the shorts on their designated shelf and decided I could survive the summer in a few dresses and my old faithful yoga pants. I would ride out the rest of the warm months with these extra pounds.
And then it hit 90 degrees and everything changed.
For a while I started by suffering in pants, which left me sweaty and smelling like a garbage can by the time 3:00 pm rolled around. I tried dresses, which proved extremely difficult with two young kids who loved the trampoline and played most of the time on the ground. And then in a moment of weakness, I made the worst decision and tried to wear the one pair of shorts I could actually button.
Then one night while getting changed for bed, I let out an enormous sigh as I took off my tourniquet-like shorts. It felt like I was releasing my inner demons and that my body was finally breathing in peace.
My husband curiously asked what that guttural Satan-like noise was, and I confessed to my shorts issue. He laughed and simply said, “Well then, buy new ones that fit.”
I laughed right back and said, “No way!”
I mean, wasn’t that admitting defeat? Wasn’t the moment you ordered the bigger size the same moment your body decides there is no turning back?
So my suffering continued and I went back to my yoga pants. I always wore a tank top to counterbalance the heat on my legs, but it didn’t always help with the persistent summer temperatures. Then one early morning, my six-year-old daughter came downstairs in long pants. We questioned her choice and she said it was what she wanted to wear. Trying to not impose on her fashion choices, we let it go. Yet the next day and then the next, she came down with long pants.
And then it hit me – she was following my example. She saw the adult that took care of her wearing long pants in the summer, and her little brain believed it was something she should be doing too.
That night, I started my search. I knew store shopping wasn’t an option so I Googled “comfy summer shorts” and asked friends and family for recommendations. I pored over reviews and took my new measurements to make sure I had the right size. And then I held my breath, and placed the order.
The day the shipment came was highly anticipated. I had told my husband what I had done, and he was very obviously proud. He knew although it was simple, it was a big deal to me. So when the bags arrived on my front stoop, I tore into them immediately.
You see, I had no idea how bad I needed these shorts. Not only to stay cool, but also to feel confident. My insistence on not ordering the proper sized clothes for myself had ultimately been a daily reminder of my weight gain, something that society has told women for years is wrong. I was torturing myself by not simply owning a pair of shorts that actually fit.
As I sit here today, comfortable and cool in my new shorts, I am so thankful I took the plunge. I thought by ordering a larger size I would be hurting myself mentally … but really, it turned out to be the opposite.
I am strangely a better version of myself in clothes that fit well. This situation taught me a lesson I didn’t even realize I needed to learn, and I will never again hesitate to buy the bigger shorts.