"Should I? Shouldn't I? What will people think?"
These are conversations I've had internally with myself many times over the course of many years. Countless minutes spent pacing back and forth from one corner of my room to the other, like deepening the tread in the carpet will eventually reveal some sort of epiphany and help me arrive at a conclusion faster.
And no, these conversations with myself have not been related to some earth-shattering decision or salacious action. They're thoughts I've had about ... wearing shorts.
Some of you might know exactly where this is going.
My entire life, genetics and a lifetime of athletics have blessed me with thicker legs, a trait I've been keenly aware of for as long as I can remember. I was often playing the comparison game (being a teenager in the early aughts and having a background in pageantry didn't help).
"My calves are nowhere near as slim as hers."
"I could never pull off that style of dress."
"My cellulite is showing—I can't wear this outfit!"
The list of thoughts just like these can seem endless. Especially as you grapple with noticing changes related to aging or realizing you don't have same body as you did when you were 23.
But we don't have to do this to ourselves.
A concept that has admittedly taken years to really take root in my brain, is that nobody is really looking at you that closely. They're not thinking the same unkind and critical thoughts we sometimes have about ourselves. They're worried about ... Surprise, themselves! (And if they are having these thoughts or make unkind comments, they suck. Not you.)
We've all got our own little qualms that stem from somewhere; a comment someone made you never forgot, a certain photo you remember, a memory of a moment in a fitting room. And while it's valid to recognize those moments and how they made you feel, it's important to not let a fleeting negative moment—that exists among so many other beautiful happenings in your life—to have that kind of power over how you see yourself. You're meant for so much more than that.
I remind myself often how privileged I am to live in the body that I do. I celebrate its strength through movement like long walks, dancing at concerts and sweating through a weight training session; I enjoy ice cream cones and slices of pizza; I remember to take breaks and rest.
I celebrate my body by wearing the shorts.
Though I'm far from the first to share my thoughts on letting our poor thighs see the light of day, there's never a bad time to be reminded that you should always prioritize doing what makes you most comfortable with your own body. If that means wearing shorts in the summer months, please ... go for it! And know that me and my cellulite are cheering you on.
Here's to saying "eff it" and wearing the shorts.
Written by Sarah Suydam, Managing Editor for West Michigan Woman.