I had a major crush on my best guy friend in college. It was before I met Dave. And it was not short-lived. But he liked optimistic, perky, tan blondes, so this sarcastic, pasty brunette was quickly relegated to the friend zone. Where I stayed forever…but I adjusted to it at lightning speed. Because I loved having him as a friend. And he was a truly amazing person. And gave the best hugs. Because he was a giant who enveloped you.
I was barely 110 pounds. And I still didn’t like my body. Why I have major body issues is another post for another time. But I was thin and had great legs. I liked to wear dresses and skirts, but had quit wearing shorts a couple years before. University desks aren’t made for shorts. Your legs stick to them in the Midwest humidity…I learned that the awkward way.
I gained ten pounds one semester. I worried that people noticed, which is what people with body issues do. I reluctantly convinced myself that no one cared and bought some bigger pants.
“Lele, you’ve gained weight.” The only non-family guy who was allowed to use my nickname had noticed that I was bigger. Then, he smiled his huge, gorgeous smile and said, “Better lay off the Little Debbies.” I held it together for the day, but sobbed on the drive home. I was right. People do notice when you gain weight.
I stopped wearing my cute skirts and dresses. I was convinced that everyone had noticed that I was bigger. When shorts season came, I didn’t even try any on. My thighs were too big for shorts. That lie stayed with me for awhile. I couldn’t wear shorts.
It was just a simple tease between good friends. He hadn’t done anything wrong, but I already had a filter. My body isn’t attractive. It’s the wrong shape. Things look good on other people, but not on me.
This week, Dave surprised me with a trip to TJMaxx to look for high-waisted capris. They aren’t easy to find. We also found high-waisted shorts. Graham said, “Mama, you don’t weally wear shorts.” Dave said, “I’ve only seen you in long shorts.” I said, “I’m trying on these short shorts!”
I had a hard time even leaving the fitting room. I have no problems with Dave seeing me naked, but somehow the shorts seemed too revealing. My thighs were just out there for all six people outside the fitting room to see.
“Mama, you look beautiful!” Graham said in such a surprised voice. “Sweetie, you look great! Really great!” Okay. So Dave liked the shorts, too. I went back into the fitting room and saw that, yes, I looked good. I bought both pairs of shorts. And the capris.
I wore the shorts on Monday, just inside the house. It was my first time wearing non-bermuda shorts in the 21st century. Not exaggerating. 1999. I was half the age I am now when I stopped wearing shorter shorts.
I spent almost an hour trying to get used to showing my legs. I checked the mail in my shorts. Then we ran an errand, and I had to get gas. I forgot that I was in my shorts. A van pulled up next to us and it was full of women from a Pentecostal Church of Holiness group.
I was suddenly aware of my short shorts. Tasteful as they were, I still received two glares, one chuckle, and one disapproving, “Tsk, tsk.” I smiled and reminded myself that I was comfortable in my shorts. I wasn’t doing anything wrong. And they were pretty nice on a 90 degree day.
I took a risk this week and bought shorts. Nice ones that fit my triple c-sectioned body really well. I’m 25 pounds heavier than I was when I thought I was heavy. I’m also more than a decade older. And learning to be comfortable in my own skin. Especially the small section above my knee that has given me so many issues all these years.
And I think I need to buy some Little Debbies. Zebra Cakes are one of the human race’s best inventions. Life in my thirties is grand…