Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone And Into Shorts

I’m about to dive into some uncharted territory and admit something not many people know: I can’t remember the last time I wore shorts out in public. It’s been at least two decades, if not longer. I’m assuming I wore them a lot in elementary school, but I’m almost positive I stopped wearing them sometime during middle school. Ah, middle school—the three years from my past that still make me cringe. It’s hard enough growing up, but middle school? It’s rough, man.

Stepping out of my comfort zone

Just to give you some context—and to totally make myself vulnerable—my “friends” in middle school were horrible, terrible girls. They were mean girls to the core, and were just incredibly toxic. I pray that my daughters won’t be those girls when they grow up; I also pray that if they are those girls, they’ll be strong enough to overcome the bullying. My short-wearing days ended around the time that I was trying out for the school’s basketball team. Instead of cheering me on, my “friends” would chant, “Jiggle, Jessica, jiggle,” from the stadium stands. Needless to say, but I covered up any “jiggling” piece of me as much as possible from then on.

Which brings us back to today, twenty years later. I have a husband who loves me, loves my legs, and constantly begs me to wear shorts; I also have two little girls who look up to me, and I’m very aware of trying to implement a positive body image in our house. I now have wonderful and strong friends who are supportive instead of destructive, and I’m finally coming to terms with my own jiggly body. (It’s a work in progress—I’ll never fully be comfortable, but I can at least try to love my body most days.) I’ve carried and birthed two 9+ pound babies, I’ve ran two 1/2 marathons, I eat good, delicious homemade food, and I work out regularly. And yes, I have stretch marks, cellulite, and I jiggle.

But just like last summer when I got into the pool with my daughter, I decided to do something that would empower myself. We’ve had a few days of warm weather, and it made me realize that I really didn’t want to spend another summer only wearing jeans again. They’re so uncomfortable when its hot outside, and even though I wear skirts, too, I usually only wear maxi skirts since they cover more of my legs.

Well, over the weekend I said no more—no more hiding the jiggle just because of something that happened two decades ago. No more letting those middle-school voices dictate my life today and nag at me in the back of my mind. I had a couple of hours to shop by myself, so I went to a store where I had some gift cards to spend. They have a plus-size section with really comfortable clothes, and as much as I wished I could’ve shopped on the other side of the store, I decided to really dig into the section and find some clothes that fit me now. I want to be comfortable and cool this spring/summer.

You should’ve seen me in the dressing room. I left the shorts to the very last item to try on, and I almost threw in the towel and said forgetaboutit. But then I tried them on, because…why not? And low and behold, they fit. Not only that, but they were comfortable, and I think they actually looked good on me! They were long enough that they wouldn’t ride up and they don’t give me that absolutely dreadful thigh rub, and they’re short enough to actually feel really, really nice this summer.

stepping out of my comfort zone and into shorts

I bought a pair in mint and khaki, and I’ve worn them every day since I bought them. Now I’m wondering why I’ve been so scared of shorts for so long. Seriously, how did I ever live without them?

We’re moving to California in a month, and I didn’t want to fret and feel depressed when I looked in my closet for something to wear to the beach. Now my only problem with wearing shorts is that I have to remember to shave my legs, and I really need a tan. These pasty white legs of mine haven’t seen the sun in a while, so they’re a little on the blinding side these days! 

Wearing shorts may seem like a small and silly thing to fear, especially for so long, but I’m really, really happy I overcame this and decided to give them a try.

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24 Comments

  1. Way to go you!!! I would love to have some shorts I feel comfortable in too. I also had that shopping experience recently when I had to go back to the plus size section and tried to just hold my head up high and find what I wanted.

  2. As a plus size woman also I want to know what store you bought these from. Shorts just do not work for me.

  3. You’re setting a great example for your kids! It’s crazy how things in middle school can affect us so deeply later on in life–you’re not alone in holding on to toxic comments. And the shorts look cute 🙂

  4. I’m with you, I hate shorts! Mainly because my calves are so big, but I need to get over it! Thanks for the inspiration!

  5. Girl, I totally understand! I always hated summer because of the shorts! It wasn’t until I was living in LA that I start embracing the NEED to wear shorts sometimes but even still you would mostly find me in long pants or capris. When I started doing CrossFit (and my legs actually became bigger/stronger), that’s when I really started embracing SHORTS and my beautiful legs for just that – they’re beauty! You go girl, rock those shorts!

    1. Ah yes, capris. I’d make my jeans into capris just to get a tiny bit of air flow through! Even in high school when I was on the swim team and was working out my legs every day I never wore shorts (CRAZY!), but I will say that this is more motivation to stick with the gym, keep at it with my trainer, and keep eating well! Thanks for the encouragement 😀

  6. I get where you are coming from 100%! I have thick cellulite full thighs and I hate wearing shorts! However, working outside during the summer is impossibly uncomfortable in jeans. Last year, I finally decided to give shorts an honest try, but I still feel uncomfortable. Guess we all have our areas of growth.

    1. “Impossibly uncomfortable” is exactly how I feel about jeans in the summer. I hope you can give shorts another try—maybe another length? I truly believe I was at the right place and the right time to find the ones I did, because there was no way I’d have the willpower to go actual jean shopping!

  7. I can totally relate! I live in Florida, and I do not own a pair of shorts. I wear jeans or pants, even when it’s 95 out. I admire your courage! And, you look great in shorts!
    Susan

  8. I’m honestly so proud of you. You are beautiful. You are a wonderful mother. Embracing your body for what it is, and choosing comfort in style, is a wonderful thing to do!

    My mother never really bounced back after carrying twins–and we were a few days overdue. She also had my younger brother and needed a C-section with him. It took her years to feel comfortable wearing sleeveless tops again. She and her friend actually did a great motivational presentation together on overcoming fears. One of the humorous stories was the two of them acting out my mom’s fear of wearing sleeveless tops. They role-played being two people my mom happened to run into in public. The script went a little like this.

    Friend A: Oh, hi, Lee! Great to see you! (waves in the distance)
    Friend B: Hey, Lee! (waves in the distance)
    (both turn to each other)
    A: Did you see her arms?!
    B: I had no idea Lee was fat!

    I really hope to track down a video of their whole presentation. Parts of it are truly hilarious, like the bit above. Other parts brought people to tears.

    But the long point is, beautiful and healthy will not look the same on all people! Enjoy the freedom of shorts! Have fun with your girls! Be comfortable in Georgia and in California!

    1. The struggle is real! But thank you for your encouragement! And I think what i’ve come to realize is that women (or at least the ones I surround myself with now), don’t just sit around and talk smack about other women. We encourage and uplift, and that’s made all the difference. Plus, I really do want my girls to grow up knowing self confidence, and that needs to start with me!

  9. Yay – congrats on your new purchases!
    I’m dreading the nicer weather for this reason but knowing someone else built up the confidence and courage to wear shorts, make me feel better 🙂
    It really is uncomfortably hot wearing jeans all summer long so wearing shorts is a must!

    1. I encourage you to find some shorts that fit AND are comfortable! I was seriously dreading this week, because it’s already in the 90s, and I barely feel comfortable in my jeans these days (leggins for the win!), so finding some that fit was perfect timing. You can do it!!!

  10. So proud of you, friend! I know exactly what you mean – I bit the bullet on the shorts a few years ago and haven’t looked back… but I do admit, the having to shave part isn’t that fun! 😉

    1. I’m just mad I didn’t attempt them sooner! It was always depressing trying on shorts and not having them fit my thighs, so finding some that fit me all over the place is just fantastic! (and yeah…i already noticed a spot on my knee that I totally missed. whoops!)

  11. I also am self conscious about shorts. In college, in Florida, I never wore them. In fact I didn’t buy them until I moved to Hawaii and I wear them everyday now. I still think I look ridiculous in them but I’m almost 30, I’ve had 3 kids, I have one on the way. I don’t have to look like a 21 year old model. It’s hard but yay for buying some shorts and being brave! Screw those middle school girls, they’re the worst.

  12. Fresh air on your legs – you with love yourself for it! Shorts are a funny one right? I wear tons of skirts in the summer… but somehow it’s all so different under flowing layers… 😀
    Becca x

  13. First of all, hahahah NO! My legs are SOOOOO much paler than yours! 😉

    Second of all, I have a different short issue. I am Mormon and wear the Mormon garments (“underwear”) which go to 2/3 down my upper leg..a few inches above my knee. So, it’s really hard to find shorts that cover them, but are still above my knees! I typically have to wear capris that go half way down my shins. It’s so annoying! But, yours looks like they might work! Where did you get them!

  14. Hi Jess,

    Thank you for opening up and being vulnerable! You are such an inspiration! Many of us have been in that situation at school, I hear you! Personally, I always closed my ears to any negative comments and tried to do what it felt best to me.

    Your daughters have such a wonderful mom! Props to you! Have a wonderful day. 🙂

    Zaria

  15. The shorts look great! It’s good that you decided to put those old hurtful remarks back where the belong – in the past.

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