Words to live by: There’s no wrong way to have a body.
At the start of this year I set a strange sort of a goal for myself, to finally figure out how to wear skirts. I’d figured out dresses years before, but skirts remained a mystery. I’ve never been one to tuck in a shirt, at any size my body may be. Just not my style, not my thing, no thank you, please, and thanks again, to you. As a teen I would wear a baggy t-shirt with a short, knit, body-con skirt. Never gave it much thought at the time. Now the concept seems so foreign.
I realized part of this was the whole form over function argument that would swirl around in my head. And then, do I go knee length or maxi?! Then there was my own body issues. Yeah, I still got ’em, don’t we all? Like, I know I’m a seasoned fat activist or whatever, but there is no 100% body issue free moment of enlightenment. At least not in a permanent sense. I’ve had moments and days maybe without any sort of self hate directed at my body. Unless it’s a full length maxi dress or skirt, I can guarantee you wouldn’t catch me without teggings underneath anything I was wearing that wasn’t pants, regardless of the temperature.
All bodies are good bodies
If you search “teggings” in google images, you will find many pictures of me in the mix, if you add “notblueatall” to that search you will find countless pics of me from this very blog. I was obsessed! Not that I don’t wear them now, but I gotta say that I finally figured out skirts and decided to just love the tomboy legs I have instead of feeling need to hide them from the world. That was the key! My fucking legs. My lovely legs that have gotten me away from danger more times than I can recollect. My legs that have given me so much joy in every moment of dance that I have moved with them, even when in pain. My legs that are still strong and surprise me by their flexibility. Yeah, I figured out that it wasn’t really skirts that were the issue, it was simply how I felt about my damned legs.
I grew up a tomboy for the most part. I loved to play in mud and help my dad work on his car. I took apart my bike or my skateboard and put them back together to try to figure them out. I climbed trees and preferred the cub scouts over my silly brownie troop’s activities any day. I had a bowl haircut, a gap in my front teeth wide enough for a McDonald’s straw, freckles galore, it was the eighties, life was alright. I always came home with new bruises and scrapes. Once I flew off my bike and scraped my knee so bad I swear you could see the bone beneath. I have survived a lot of trauma, at the hands of men, too. I have all of the scars to prove it! Because of this I never showed my legs. I showed cleavage, no problem. Something that would highlight my bodacious butt, you betcha. But anything above my ankle? Forget it!
Love your body
I realized that I felt most weird about my legs because of comments from others, even when my legs weren’t visible. Comments about body hair and paleness, mostly. Two things I have struggled with. Paleness I can no longer avoid, nor care to. I’m a redhead, yes natural, it’s just who I am and if I can finally come to love my hair color, then I can finally appreciate my paleness. Living in California, people get obsessed with being tan, no matter how one achieves it. Ugh! Even my former MIL would insist that I just needed a good base tan. Not possible! Now that I’m allergic to sunscreen, there is just no other option for me. #MorticiaLife
Body hair is another issue and for me more of a feminist one. In the past I had shaved my legs at first to fit in, then as a matter of attraction I suppose. That sounds silly to me now, but no cis-guy ever seemed okay with girls having visible body hair, and at the time I was boy crazy. I was fortunate to have a husband once who didn’t really care either way, but certainly enjoyed when I was freshly shaved and they savored the smoothness. Once on my own I only shaved when I had a date. Even if I shaved, I was still covering my legs with clothing. In my last relationship we never had sex so I never felt an obligation to shave and so I didn’t. I maybe shaved 2-4 times a year for the last five years, or whenever it tickled my fancy to bother.
As a fully fledged spinster I reveled in my long leg hairs. Seriously! They were soft! Ha-ha! I didn’t give it much thought at all, except when faced with social obligation things like the two times I did that whole runway fashion modeling thing. And then the weather warmed up. I was buying used clothes on eBay and looking for hot bargains and kept coming back to this black and white striped maxi skirt from the Ava & Viv line from Target. It was so cheap I felt compelled to give it a try, I could always gift it to someone if it didn’t work out. But then it did work out! And then I tried another skirt and then another, all maxi length. Then I got this body-con jersey knit dress with cute rutching from Torrid, via eBay and it was like a lightbulb moment.
You do not need certain body type in order to be happy.
I felt sexy af in that dress! I wanted to shave my legs and show off what I had to show in that dress! And I did it! And how! WOW! Then I found a stretch velvet back pencil skirt on eBay from Torrid and fell absolutely in love with it! I now wear that pencil skirt, I wear it at a midi length mostly, with a t-shirt and I feel more myself than ever! Go figure! Ha-ha! My teenage self is still very much alive within me, probably more than I care to admit. Ha! Truly this was a big deal for me! Even if no one else knew, noticed, or gave a shit. These legs were out there and loving every minute of it!
This also happened to be about the same time I started to experiment with low heels and wedges. I found a pair of pre-owned Earth brand shoes with what my bff rudely refers to as my “granny heels”, but I prefer training heels, thank you very much. And I gambled on a pair of Skechers wedges on Amazon, thinking the return policy would save me, but I wear them most of all! They are rainbow and have memory foam! Ha-ha! The silly things I get excited about, I swear! But it really does still feel revolutionary in my own warped mind. I do know better, I know others struggle with these things, too. Something about legs always felt unreachable to me in my femme-ness. Even as everything else seemed right.
All bodies are beautiful
It just goes to show you, as time goes on, we change and grow so much! I never would have believed that I would feel confident and comfortable in the things I’ve been wearing to work lately, but the compliments prove it’s right! Not that I need the validation, only that it confirms there’s nothing wrong with showing my legs. No one has gasped and backed away upon glancing on my paleness or plumpness! There’s nothing wrong with wearing kitten heels or a mid-wedge. There’s nothing wrong with my body. There’s nothing bad or unsightly about my legs! My past traumas aren’t obvious to others and they no longer have to hold me back.
What body issues have you continued to struggle with? Are there body parts that you cannot stand, regardless of how fat positive you are? What was your last body ah-ha moment?
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