What you put on your body is your business.
I have been fat every day of my life since I was born. I’m not just talking a few pounds overweight. I’m talking I-gained-a-pound-in-the-hospital-when-I-was-born fat. For real.
And I’ve always been OK with being fat. I’ve never allowed the fact that my body has more fat than the average bear (or person) stop me from doing what I’ve wanted to do. I’ve traveled all around the world. I’ve performed in front of people. I’m a trial lawyer, for crying out loud. I’m very confident in front of people and confident in myself and my abilities. I own my badassery. Fat and all. Except…
I do not wear shorts.
I can’t remember the last time I wore shorts in public. Rolled up jeans, yes. Dresses with panty hose, yes. (I know. I’m old school in court.) Yoga capri pants, yes. But no shorts. I was probably 14 years old the last time I wore real shorts out in public. And that is absolutely ridiculous.
This all hit me in the dressing room on a Tuesday evening while I was trying on spring dresses for work. Dressing rooms are generally bad places. Bad lighting. Bad mirrors. You’re enclosed in a little box room with clothes that don’t fit. It’s not usually the spot where you expect to have an eye-opening experience. Or maybe it is.
I stood there looking at a pair of shorts I grabbed off the rack right before walking into the dressing room. I loved the pattern. And I always wanted to wear cute shorts. But I did not have the body for wearing shorts. So I thought I’d try them on and remind myself why fat people shouldn’t wear such things.
And there it hit me. What in the hell was this crap I was thinking? Who decided that I didn’t have the body for shorts? Yes. I have fat legs and hips. But does that mean I can’t wear shorts?
Thinking back, I think it was more about how I thought I would appear to other people than what I thought I’d look like. And that is a trap of epic proportions. Anytime you focus on what other people think instead of what you think, you are a slave to their opinions. And that is a life that I refuse to live. Ultimately, no matter how confident I am in other areas of my life, I have been allowing my fat to determine my confidence, or lack thereof, in some of my choices. And that’s not OK. As long as I like it and feel good in what I’m wearing, then I’m going to wear it. And you should too.
1. It’s YOUR body.
What you put on your body is your business. What you do with your body is your business. Whether you wear skirts or shorts or crop tops is your business. You are in charge of your body. Period. It doesn’t matter if you have a short body or tall body or fat body or skinny body. It’s yours. My fat legs carry me wherever I need to go. My jiggly arms reach and do whatever I need them to. There are some people who don’t have that privilege. Appreciate your body. Love your body. Honor your body. Werk your body.
2. Other people’s opinions don’t matter.
If someone doesn’t like what you wear, it’s their problem. Anyone who tries to make you feel bad about yourself is not a friend. Good people support each other and encourage each other to be confident and fabulous. If someone reacts negatively to the fact that you are wearing shorts or whatever it is that you want to wear, then the only thing that needs to be removed is that person from your head space and maybe your life. Byeeeeeeeee!
3. Make yourself happy.
You cannot please everyone. If you try, you’ll make yourself insane. The only person you have any shot of making happy is yourself. So do that. Wear what makes you happy. Wear what makes you switch (also known as walking with a purpose and a “damn I’m awesome” air). Wear what makes you smile. Life is hard enough without sweating your behind off.
Confidence is like a muscle that has to be stretched and worked out. The more you work it, the stronger it becomes. Grow your confidence. I am. Life is too short. Summer is too hot.
I’ve always wanted to wear shorts but had convinced myself that I was unworthy of doing so. I didn’t even realize my own insecurity until it hit me in the mirror of a dressing room. I was wrong.
I’m rocking my shorts this summer. How about you?
Sarah Ford is a prosecutor with a focus on crimes against women and children. She has a love for writing and living an authentic life. Sarah is also a blogger, champagne imbiber, community volunteer, karaoke lover, brunch enthusiast, and an adventurous traveler with a heart for Haiti. You can keep up with Sarah on her blog at Bitchy but Bubbly, Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest. She’s also currently learning how to tweet.
This piece originally appeared on Bitchy but Bubbly. Republished here with permission.