Shorty ~ by Sam

Well, today has been a heckuva day.  Very busy, and lots of frustrating things going on ~ like when I opened the fridge, and a glass container full of leftover spaghetti fell out and shattered all over the floor.  I mean ALL.  OVER.  It was int he kitchen, the laundry room, the breezeway, on the step in to the party room…  I swept, I wiped with a wet paper towel, I vacuumed… I am still finding tiny shards of glass.  After I finished cleaning up, I saw that I had a little spaghetti sauce on my foot, which was weird, since the sauce was packaged separately, and I had broken a a container full of plain spaghetti.  Weird, right?  So, I wiped away the spaghetti sauce, and, guess what.  NOT spaghetti sauce.  I was bleeding, because there was a tiny shard of glass in my foot.  So, that was super fun.  Or not.

There was a lot of other stuff, too, but I got vegan ice cream, and I got to spend most of the day with my favourite college sophomore.  Did I mention that my kid is a sophomore?  It’s her first year in college, and she is only 17, but she took a lot of AP courses, so she’s a sophomore.  That’s my money-saving tip of the day: if you can swing it, take the AP classes.  Make sure you take ones that will count at your college of choice (or at least that are in subjects about which you are passionate).  This could save you A LOT of money int he long run, when you don;t have to pay to take those courses when you are in college.

Despite being very busy, we did manage to find me a “Graduation Outfit,” which I bought at her insistence, and will wear after I have successfully completed my shorts experiment here.  I can give you a little preview here:

Photo on 8-28-15 at 2.10 PM

See?  It’s cute.  I promise.  She says it looks great on me.  I am still in denial about spending twenty-eight bucks on it, because you know how I hate spending money; but I guess, if I get through this with my dignity intact, i deserve some kind of reward.

So…I guess you are wondering about today’s shorts.  I did wear shorts today.  In fact, today, I wore a special pair of shorts.  I tie-dyed these, with a cute little halter top to match, some years ago.  I really love the colours, but I don’t wear them often, because they are shorts.

And this is the part where I talk about body image, and how we perceive ourselves.  I am eating disorder survivor. So, what I see when I look in the mirror is not what you see when you look at me.  This experiment I am doing with the shorts might seem insignificant to a lot of people, but it might prove to be life-altering for me.

For the record, I know that most people who see these pictures of me think, “Big deal.  You’re fine.  You look fine in shorts.”  What’s important to understand is that the way you see me is not the way I see myself.  I don’t mean I feel bad about myself.  I mean, I literally see a different image than you see.  When I look in the mirror, I don’t see a small, relatively attractive woman, looking perfectly normal in shorts.  When I look in the mirror, my thighs seem disproportionately large compared to the rest of my body.  Every perceived flaw is magnified tenfold, if not more, but my thighs are a special sticking point.  I have been self-conscious about them since I was a child.  As a result of a scalding incident when I was 11 months old, I have a lot of scarring on my thighs.  The skin looks mottled, and, on one thigh, I have a scar in the shape of my first initial, “K.”  I was teased about this when I was a girl, and I guess that made a big impression on me.  I have always been guarded about revealing my thighs.  Fast forward to the teen and young adult years, when I was battling eating disorders, and grappling with body image and self-esteem issues, and, well…you don’t see me running around in shorts in my adult life.   When I am getting dressed to go out, I’ll ask Shane or the kids, “Does this look okay?”  “Can I pull this off?” and they’ll say, “Yeah. You look great!”  And the thing is, I KNOW they mean it, but, then I look in the mirror, and I think, “What’s wrong with them?  Can’t they see (insert perceived flaw)?”

These past few days have been revolutionary for me.  I don’t know what I expected to get out of this.  Maybe I thought I would feel more comfortable wearing shorts, which would be awesome, since it’s roughly 1,000,002℉ in Sunny SoCal right now.  Maybe I thought I would inspire someone else.  Maybe I hoped my girls would understand that, sometimes, without even realizing it, I say things about my body  that have no basis in fact; and that they should understand that there is nothing wrong with my body, nothing wrong with their bodies, nothing wrong with ANY body.

But I got more than that, I think.

When I look in the mirror, I don’t see what you see.  However, when I look at a photograph, it’s different, somehow.  I can put a photograph of myself next to a photograph of someone else, and see that, really, they’re not so different.  Somehow, by taking a photograph, I can change my perception of myself, even if just slightly, and that tiny shift in the way I perceive myself can make huge difference.  It’s like I can see myself through other people’s eyes. they way they see me.

Well.  Sorta.  Not exactly.

I am still working on it.

But it definitely gives me a different perspective.  It makes it possible for me to look at myself more objectively, and maybe start to see myself the way others do.

Maybe.

So…here goes.  I decided, today, to address some of my toughest issues.

First, there’s the walk away.  This is my bum, in shorts.  It’s not as bad as I thought.  I always worry about that back top part of my thigh, too; but here it is, in pretty short shorts, and it looks…well…okay, I think.  It’s weird for me to say that.  I mean, my knee-jerk reaction is to look for flaws, but I think it’s okay.  It’s out in the world, anyway, and the world has probably not stopped spinning.   So, I guess what I am saying is, if the internet has survived witnessing my bum in shorts, maybe I can get through it, too.  it’s kind of sassy, I think.
Photo on 8-28-15 at 8.23 AM

This next pic is one Justice snapped.  I’m okay with it.  I need to rescue that flamingo from the lemon balm, but I feel okay about the shorts.
photo 3
This next one was really hard for me.  I decided to tackle one of my biggest issues with wearing shorts.  When I sit down, my thighs spread. I know, EVERYONE’S thighs spread.  For some reason, I find it unacceptable that mine do.  I don’t know what I expect them to do.  They are made of flesh.  It spreads.  I do PT every single day for my foot/leg, and walk every day, too; so I know my thighs are in decent shape.  It doesn’t matter, thighs spread when we sit.  Its just true.  It happens to everyone.  And here’s the thing: I don’t look at anyone else’s thighs ever and think, “Ew, gross!” because they are sitting down.  I never think anything whatsoever about anyone else’s thighs, and I know mine look just like all the other thighs.  I KNOW they do…I just have trouble seeing them that way.  So, like I said, this is hard to post.  But, if I do, it’s out in the world ~ and, maybe, if everyone has already seen my thighs all over the internet, I won’t feel so worried about them being seen anywhere else.  Maybe.  Let’s see.
photo 1
See?  They’re FINE!  I think they’re kind of tiny, even.
Nevertheless, this is how I felt about taking that picture:
photo 2

Ah, well.  I tried.  I will keep trying.

For now, I think I will go put on my jammies and leaf through a magazine.  Maybe I’ll have a second glass of wine.

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