Do You DESERVE to Wear Shorts? A Cautionary Tale
I spent nearly ten summers refusing to wear shorts. I compromised nearly a decade of summers–boiling in jeans, pretending I preferred them.
Okay, okay, there were also a few broom skirts in there. It was the 90’s in the Pacific Northwest. I proudly donned earthy middle-eastern prints. They simply begged for patchouli and henna. Don’t judge. (You are allowed to judge the “Artisan Recycled Tire” sandals I bought at Pikes Place Market (Hello, nonsense!) but leave my earthy skirts out of it.)
Why not shorts you ask? Because of my awful white legs *obviously* and my fatty fatness. Everyone knows fatty fatness and shorts do not go together. Right? It wasn’t till I got married and my husband called me out on my ridiculous ideas about shorts-as-trophies-for-non-fatty-fatness that I was forced to confront my diet-failure-penance-via-literally-hot-pants philosophy.
Some of you know EXACTLY what I’m talking about!
You can’t hide from me, I can see you smirking and squirming in your sweltering skinny jeans. You can’t fool me with your “I’m not that hot” and “I can’t find any shorts I like” lines. You and I both know you’d totally go buy shorts that made your legs look like J-Lo or Kim-K or a stork. My hubby had to make me go buy shorts and wear them because, well, SUMMER IS HOT.
Ladies, I’ve been married for over thirteen years and still, every summer I get out the dreaded shorts and ask myself, “Do I deserve to wear shorts this year?” If I’m thinner than I was last year then I can answer, “Yes” (vanity, pride, thinness idolatry) and if not, if I’m the same or heavier, then my heart will answer, “No” (vanity, pride, thinness idolatry as well). Sigh.
Lean into the screen because I’m going to tell you an amazing secret: THIS IS VERY STUPID. Performance based shorts? Seriously!?
I am a grown woman with two daughters. I am a child of God, created in His image, catching myself literally saying out loud, “I am so not wearing these, it’ll be a public service really.” And, “If I can lose a few inches before it gets really hot, then I’ll wear them!”
When I was a kid, a man who was a friend of the family commented that I had Flinstone feet as he watched me painting my toes on the front porch. So I avoided sandals for a few years.
Then in junior high, a cool girl in the locker room commented on how thin my ankles were in proportion to my legs. “It’s not really that your legs are big, it’s just that your ankles are so, like, thin and bony, or whatever, that it makes them *look* that way.” After my ankle/calf proportion enlightenment I wore two pairs of slouchy socks at. all. times. No one had to see my big toes or my bony ankles for quite some time.
Then, when I decided I had gotten too fat, I stopped wearing shorts too. The pants really were penance. I decided that I deserved to be hot and uncomfortable. Maybe if I was hot and uncomfortable it would remind me constantly how I should really stop eating so I could earn shorts the next year.
This is not okay, daughters of God!
It is not okay to objectify your own body in this way, basing your physical comfort on your dieting performance or your imagined fatty fatness.
The sad irony is that my legs, feet and ankles are some of my best features even now. I didn’t believe it, but I was young, smooth, a lovely size, and beautiful during all that time of sneakers, two pair of socks, and summer jeans, but even if I wasn’t; seasonally appropriate clothes, which fit and are pretty, are NOT a reward you earn.
I’m not young and smooth now but I am loved by my Creator and so are you. You bear the mark of the King and you deserve to wear clothes that fit, INCLUDING SHORTS, no matter your size, appearance, or age. Last summer I wore shorts that were too small as an act of contrition, hoping to remind myself that my belly needs to be smaller, but for all my efforts, I am the same size this year. I am an expert at losing the same fifteen pounds over and over again. This means I need to go buy shorts that fit.
Maybe you do too. So, if you are shopping in the Pacific Northwest and you hear someone in the dressing room singing, “Holy Spirit you are welcome here” (or cracking up inappropriately), it’s probably me, trying on shorts, and maybe even (dare-I-say-it) high waisted plus-size bikinis.
Mindy Pickens a wife and mother who loves Jesus, her husband, their two daughters, coffee, books…and coffee. She spends her time homeschooling, tutoring in her homeschool community, and trying to figure out this whole home-maker thing. She’s a regular woman who is captivated by the gospel of Jesus Christ and is learning to surrender to the grace and goodness of God. Read Mindy’s posts here.
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