Wear those shorts.
You know, the ones that you try on at home, and turn around in the mirror and look at yourself in them. Then you take them off before you go walking or to your fitness class or to lift some barbells.
The shorts that you don’t wear because you think your legs are:
- too big
- too muscular
- not muscular enough
- not long enough
- just not perfect
The shorts that you are tempted to wear because it’s summer, but you can’t bring yourself to wear them because you’re too old or you’re too new to exercise or you don’t have a low enough body fat percentage.
On those days, you try on the shorts but you always go back to your pants or capris even though you swelter in them. But you’re used to the swelter – you feel it when you wear a t-shirt instead of the tank top you’d much rather put on but you’re self-conscious about your arms. So you tug on your pants and your t-shirt and try to fit in.
I understand. When you’re not perfect, you feel more of a need to cover up and shade yourself from the world. You even think that showing more of your body might offend.
Why? Because society told you that if you’re this size, you are desirable and worthy. And if you’re that size, you are not as good. Because society judged you harshly on what they could see, like beauty could ever really be seen by the eyes instead of felt by the heart.
Society is wrong.
The comedian Amy Schumer once gave a wonderful speech in which she said this: “I can be reduced to that lost college freshman so quickly sometimes, I want to quit. Not performing, but being a woman altogether. I want to throw my hands in the air, after reading a mean Twitter comment, and say, ‘All right! You got it. You figured me out. I’m not pretty. I’m not thin. I do not deserve to use my voice. I’ll start wearing a burqa and start waiting tables at a pancake house. All my self-worth is based on what you can see.’ But then I think, Fuck that. I am not laying in that freshman year bed anymore ever again. I am a woman with thoughts and questions and shit to say. I say if I’m beautiful. I say if I’m strong. You will not determine my story — I will.”
Amy Schumer is right. You are the one who should say if you’re beautiful or strong. You determine your self-worth. You determine your story. Not the memory of some kid who teased you in middle school or some guy at work who made a remark. And you definitely shouldn’t determine your self-worth through an unfair comparison with nameless models on a magazine cover.
I mean, I get it. I look at the snack-sized people in the world sometimes and think we’re all supposed to look like them. But we’re not. Get this: we are each supposed to look like us.
Crazy, right? But some of us have a little more leg, a little more butt, and almost everybody has thigh cheese although nobody likes to talk about it. And (shocker!) there are also people who have flat butts who want a round booty. Everybody’s got something they’re working on.
What’s that tell you? Nobody’s perfectly happy with being less than perfect.
So, throw perfect to the side. Throw perfect out the window. Roll this idea of perfect under your car tire. Be real instead. Be you. And be working towards a better you.
In the meantime, though, wear those shorts.
Start with small steps, if you must. Wear the shorts for an hour, or around the house all day. Work up to a quick trip to the market or the coffee shop. Notice that talk doesn’t stop and nobody says a thing. It’s okay. You’re just a person wearing shorts. It’s not the most important thing in the world, and yet it’s significant.
Because, like the writer Anne Lamott reminds us: “Oh my God, what if you wake up some day, and you’re 65, or 75, and you never got your memoir or novel written; or you didn’t go swimming in warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like when you were a kid? It’s going to break your heart. Don’t let this happen … Pick a new direction, one you wouldn’t mind ending up at, and aim for that. Shoot the moon.”
Latest posts by Lisbeth Darsh (see all)
- Lift the Heavy Stuff by Lisbeth Darsh - November 19, 2016
- Why Taking Control of Your Fitness Is the Best Thing You Can Do Right Now by Lisbeth Darsh - November 12, 2016
- 10 Things Strong Women Won’t Tell You - November 5, 2016