Spring has sprung, sleeves and skirts are getting shorter, and it’s time to decide just how much we are comfortable with exposing! On a recent trip to the mall, Philoso B had to face her body image demons head on. It’s difficult to say whether there was a clear winner…
Birds are chirping, trees are blooming, the sun is shining brighter, and of course, the dress hems are getting shorter. Finally, the season to show off toned legs and chiselled biceps has arrived. You would think that was the case with only those fortunate enough to boast such features, but I have been proven otherwise.
I was at the malls this past weekend, hoping to update a few items in my closet for summer, and I was amazed at the number of patrons who were not of the “well toned, chiselled muscle” body type, yet donned rather short-hemmed outfits. Legs of all shapes and sizes, if I may, were on display. No signs of any inhibitions within a 10mile radius were to be seen! I must say, most of them I envied. The others, well… let’s just say they were way more carefree than I could ever be.
I envied the one group mostly because the fact that they were not particularly size 6 model types did not impede their desire to dress in a certain way. For some reason I am overly conscious of my body image. Although it is not to the extreme of starving myself or constantly calculating those dreadful calories and walking around with measuring tapes, I am aware of how my body looks. If it’s not my knobby knees, then it’s my not-so-shapely bum or my shapeless calves, never mind the wobbly thighs! I’m only ever dressed in maxi dresses, formal pants or jeans, and I make sure the only skirts I wear go over my knees.
I recently plucked up the courage to suit myself up in a bikini on a weekend away with my girlfriends, though it took a bit of hesitation till I got into it. They excitedly flung off their dresses and confidently waltzed around in their swimwear, though they are about one or two sizes bigger than me. Looking at how comfortable they were in their own skins made me secretly build up my confidence to do the same.
What’s most amusing is that I wasn’t always this conscious of how my body looked. When I sit with my girlfriends, they constantly remind me of how I was always dressed in short clothing. They remind me of my “tennis dresses”, my “hot pants” and the little skirts I used to prance around in! Today, I cannot even imagine myself wearing hot pants!
I now posses serious issues of dissatisfaction with my body, particularly my legs, for reasons I cannot explain. I cannot help but wonder if all these feelings of self image could perhaps be attributed to the fact that I have grown older? Have I in the past years developed a more conservative approach to the way I dress, simply because I’m now in my thirties, or has it anything to do with the fact that I’m now someone’s wife? I don’t know why it bothers me that I don’t have perfect knees, to the point where I want to want to keep them covered. I don’t know why it matters what my calves look like in a pair of casual shorts. It certainly didn’t bother the ladies that I observed. Quite frankly, they didn’t look half as bad as I imagine myself to be.
I had a hard time finding anything at the clothing stores during my shopping, as the length of almost everything was above the knees. There I was in the middle of the clothing isles, with a look of disapproval and a feeling of hopelessness, when a young lady probably twice my size – dressed in a jumpsuit revealing thighs that rubbed against each other with every step – whizzed past me carrying more items of similar lengths! The audacity! That experience instantly propelled me into a crazed state of impulsiveness that saw me purchase a few items I would not have otherwise considered!
Now I stand in front of my full length mirror, donned in a short denim skirt, and can’t help but wonder if I’ll ever get out of the house, dressed like that!
Image: Elliot Winter (c)