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 the love. I’m very confident in front of people and confident in myself and my abilities. I own my badassery. Fat & 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.
Jes Baker started a campaign in response to Abercrombie and Fitch's fat shaming. Claim your right to shorts. Image via Liora K Photography's Facebook.
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. (See In the Danger Zone) 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!