Let’s talk about a dumb thing I do to myself because I put my warped mental comfort before my physical discomfort.
I don’t know how many summers I’ve suffered in clothes that cover up my body just so people can’t see all the things I tell myself is wrong with it.
I wear jackets or chambray shirts over tank tops and short sleeve dresses. I wear sweaters. I put three-quarter length sleeved shirts under dresses. I pass over adorable shirts because they won’t fully cover my upper arms. I almost never wear a tank in public. Hell, I don’t really ever wear them at home. (I mean, mostly because I don’t own too many.) I’ve worn shirts and swim cover ups in public just to hide my arms. I’ve worn jeans to keep my legs covered and because I rarely bought shorts.
I remember the summer after my sophomore or junior year of high school, my friend and I would go watch these guys we liked play softball. (It was a one-sided love on my part for sure. He didn’t want anything to do with me, which is fine, I’m over it...whatever...)
Anyways, I remember one time it was like June in NE so humid and hot as fuck, and I decided to wear jeans and a T-shirt. I felt so uncomfortable in my own body that I thought suffering in the heat was more important than those guys seeing my upper arms and my legs and see the rolls of my stomach.
Let me repeat this for you one more time: I literally chose to suffer because I was so scared a guy wouldn’t like me because of my body. I mean I get now what my problem was then. I was 15. We don’t see clearly at 15. We absorb what magazines and television are telling us — that females who fit a certain mold are hot and the other ones aren’t dateable. And at 15 it’s even worse because kids are so mean and emotional and just trying so hard to fit in. At 15, I wanted nothing more than to be an object of this guy’s affection. And because we were both taught those things for so many years, he wasn’t going to choose me anyways and I knew that. But I just thought, “Toni, just hide it with clothes!” “If you hide it, he won’t notice.” “If you hide it in clothes, he’s going to pick you!” But he never did.
And while eventually I got over this guy, I found reason after reason to keep hiding my body. I blamed it on this or on that. But at a certain point, it just comes down to being scared.
And I don’t know why.
Why do I let other people’s opinions have that much power?
This is my summer to correct this learned and developed behavior I’ve been nurturing for far too long. I am trying really hard to drop this weird stigma I have about my arms in particular. To keep myself accountable, I am trying to be as transparent about this as possible. So far, I’ve gone out in public three times with a tank top or short sleeved shirt. And it’s not easy to feel comfortable, but I need to love every bit of me. I have to stop letting someone else keep me from doing something. And to be honest, I am so over suffering in the heat with dumb layers, just to hide a piece of me that isn’t even wrong, so I’m not going to anymore....or at least work on it because I’m not perfect people!