I really couldn’t believe it. I mean, shorts weather has always been tough for me. But this year? After SO.MUCH.WORK. on loving myself? Seriously?
All day long, I was aware of my body in weird ways – ways I usually am not.
I felt the crease at my waist – that extra skin that wasn’t there before I had a baby.
I noticed the way my thighs rubbed together, as they have since about 6th grade.
And every time I walked past a pane of glass, I couldn’t help but see how big my upper arms looked.
I was distracted all day, and by the end of the day I was in a super shitty mood. I felt bad about myself and my looks. I felt tired and sad and like crawling under the covers for the rest of my life.
Spring Is Diet Season
I think it started when I was around 12 years old. It was time to wear shorts, and I didn’t like how I looked or how I felt. I was in a grown-up size, and I wasn’t a grown-up.
So I went on my first diet.
And stayed on a diet for pretty much the next 20 years.
My Body Was Never Good Enough
I was heavy and light, big and a little less big. But even when I was a size that I’d never imagined I could be, I still felt shitty. I was thin, but I still saw all the spots that needed to be fixed.
No matter what I did, I still felt fat.
Fat Isn’t a Feeling
OK, so then what the hell was I feeling?
When I put on shorts and felt “fat,” what was I – what am I – really feeling?
Not good enough. Unacceptable. Judged. Uncomfortable in my skin. Ashamed. Not OK with who I am. Too much, too much, too much.
I Think I’m Just Sad
After feeling shitty all day yesterday and most of today, I started to get mad. And when I’m that mad, it usually means I’m actually grieving deep down inside.
Because here’s the thing. That 12-year-old little girl who was me, she was perfect exactly as she was. Sure, she was a size 10 in 6th grade when most of the girls were in juniors sizes. But she was just a little girl.
I was just a little girl.
It breaks my heart when I think of all the time I wasted thinking about calories and running miles and miles instead of just lying in the sunshine.
I restricted my food, I hated my body, and I lived inside my own head, where I was constantly comparing myself to everyone else. And everyone else always won.
I Liked My Body When I Was Pregnant
When I was pregnant with my son, it was honestly the first time in my life I liked my body. I was amazed at the way it shifted and reshaped itself to grow my baby. I felt like it finally made sense to have the body I’d fought for so long.
When I was breastfeeding my newborn, it was a little bit harder to like my body. But if I focused on the fact that I was still growing my baby, it was bearable.
But what about now? My “baby” is 32 months old. Am I allowed to like my body when it’s not doing something as special and sacred as growing a baby?
Because bodies like mine aren’t super acceptable in our society. I mean, there have been some strides forward, but try to find plus-size shorts without tummy tightening fabric in them. That speaks volumes to me.
I Call Bullshit
I have wasted too much time: from the day at age 12 when I decided that my body wasn’t good enough, to last night when I was too focused on my thighs to pay attention to my toddler running around the yard, laughing as the sun went down. I have wasted too much time obsessed with my body and how NOT OK I thought it was.
Today, I Will Wear Shorts. And I Will Feel Beautiful.
There is a fabulous movement called #takebackpostpartum, and I’m joining it. And in my little part of the world, I’m calling my unique journey, my stand, my choice to take back my power and love my body exactly as it is, #iwillwearshorts.
Today, #iwillwearshorts for my walk to the park with my son. I will appreciate my strong legs, I will rock the body I’m in, and I will be present in that moment.
Because I’m done wasting time hating myself.
Who’s with me? Who else will wear shorts?
Related post: Having Kids Improved My Body Image