A year ago I wouldn’t have sat in my garden wearing these shorts, let alone have my photograph taken in them. I bought them for a holiday in early 2018, a time when I was feeling really good about myself externally and internally. I was running well and eating well, and this was reflected in my state of mind as well as in my shorts. I felt good about life, about myself. Nathan was fourteen months old, Kittie was a tiny undiscovered pea in my belly, and I was back at work doing well in my day job and my writing.
Fast forward a few years and everything has changed. I have a wonderful husband, a comfortable home, and two beautiful children, amazing friends, my family are all well, things are still really, really good. I know I’m lucky, I’ve written about that before so that’s not what this post is about.
This post is about how life ebbs and flows. There’s always a period of contentment, followed by a change that needs our adjustment, and vice versa. Right now, like pretty much everyone else, I’m feeling a real sense of change. Of course, there’s the obvious – Covid-19 has been the biggest change in all of our lives – but there are also smaller changes. The babies are growing too fast already, I often feel like my husband and I are ships passing in night, friendships are developing in many different ways, and work is an ongoing situation in which I feel entirely isolated.
But back to the shorts. When I wore them in 2018 they slipped on and off easily. Since then, they’ve slipped less and stuck hard around the thighs – until this weekend when I tried them on for gardening and, although they did indeed slide up and over my bum (though fastening a bit snugly), they did indeed go on. The only real issue was my pants riding up with every step I took. We went to visit friends round the corner for a play date and I asked Kris if the shorts were okay to keep on. Of course he said yes – I mean, I’m pretty sure he loves me as I am, and JEEZ, we can wear whatever we want – but I couldn’t help but feel self-conscious of my cellulite (front and back), of my wobbly thighs. The entire five-minute walk inside my mind was spent to-ing and fro-ing, my inner voice saying, ‘Wear what you want! It’s shorts!” swiftly followed by “OMG your legs, your wobbles, your cellulite, what will people think, you look fat, you are fat, you should have worn a dress not denim SHORTS.”
I don’t see anything wrong with being ‘fat’ by the way. I hate that, generally speaking, we say ‘fat’ and it has a negative connotation while saying ‘skinny’ has a positive one. I want to be healthy and I don’t want to draw attention to myself to receive negative comments – it’s all too much like school days, when I was called fat with big boobs and a big bum. This was pre-Kardashians, pre-Beyonce, and having a big bum was entirely a bad thing. The name-calling and highlighting of my insecurities have stuck with me so much that I still feel paranoid when I wear something that reveals skin. Less so now, for sure, thanks to the Kardashians, Beyonce, and J-Lo for making big bums acceptable in mainstream celebrity culture. So I wear the shorts and I try to stay body positive – I don’t want bad feeling with anyone, anytime, and I certainly don’t want the next generation of children soaking up the insecurities I was made to feel while I was growing up because of society’s idealisms at the time.
As an adult, as an almost-forty-year old – I am too old for this shit! I want to be the best person I can be and beyond that there’s nothing more I can do about what other people think, of my shorts or of my body or of my personality.
And so, I wore the shorts. And guess what? Nothing, that’s what. Nothing “bad” happened. I had a great weekend with my family in the blazing hot sunshine. I’ll cheers to that.