Raise Your Hand if You Are Wearing Shorts This Summer!
I hear women say the strangest things about their bodies and when it comes to wearing shorts, the self-deprecating comments seem to flow freely without a second thought. I wanted to find out why that is? Why are shorts so scary for us as girls and women? Why do we believe our legs are so hideous that we must have them covered even in 100-degree weather? Is there so much shame seeking refuge and finding solace from our mid-thighs to our feet, that we feel more comforted wearing pants on hot sweaty days than we do wearing shorts? Sadly, this is true for far too many girls and women. My aunt is one of them. A few years ago, I was chatting with my aunt about my book, Healthy is the new Skinny, Your Guide to "Self-Love" in a "Picture Perfect" world. I started to ask her about her body image issues. “I never wear shorts because I hate my legs.” She told me without hesitation. “In the 3rd grade this boy told me that I had Russian shot putter legs, and I never wore shorts after that until I was in my thirties.” Even my husband Bradford who is one of the most confident people I know opted for pants instead of shorts for most of his life because people would constantly comment about his “small calves.” No matter if you feel your legs are too big or too small there is no question that most of us, if not all of us, have memories of hurtful comments people have made about our bodies that will forever be burned into our brains. But what about all the kind comments? Why aren’t we holding onto those as our truth instead of the negative ones? And why have we not been made aware that we get to choose what we believe about our bodies regardless of what other people think of them?
I sat down with some inspiring models and influencers from Natural Models LA to find out more about their relationship with their legs, shorts, and how they manage their insecurities in a healthy way. The only thing worse than seeing a girl covered from head to toe in attempts to hide her body on a hot summer day is being that girl. Jess, Alexus, Laura, and Seairra have been that girl and share their tips to ditch the shame that comes with having a female body and wear the damn shorts this summer!
Seairra is a curve model who just signed with Natural Models LA after getting her start in the modeling industry by winning the Torrid model search last year. When I first met her, her shy and sweet demeanor made me want to get to know her more.
How many sizes have you been as an adult woman?
Since the 7th grade, I have been anywhere between a size 12-16. In the last year, I have lost 60 pounds and shockingly, I wear the same pants size (16). What a mind trip that was at first, but it also goes to show that our bodies carry weight completely differently and that size doesn’t always indicate health. I am wearing the same size pants as last year but am so much healthier this year.
What has your relationship with shorts been like? Did you always wear them? Do you love them or hate them?
If I am being honest, I didn’t have a pair of shorts for this shoot so I had to cut a pair of my pants! I have worn shorts in the past because as a child I didn’t have a say in what I could wear, but I never liked wearing shorts. As I got more freedom to dress myself as I got older, I avoided shorts like the plague. I have always been insecure about my legs. Whether it was my kneecaps, the freckles on my legs, my cellulite, or the different shades of color on my legs, I found it to be a struggle to feel comfortable. I am still working on it, and this shoot was a push in the right direction.
Do you have any tips for women who are also working to manage body insecurities this summer?
I have recently become aware that my body is more than an object for someone to judge. It is the one guaranteed home I have in this world. Spending time focusing on self-affirmation and making sure that I’m pampering myself mentally has been a huge help. Surrounding myself with people who are genuine and honest about their insecurities, as well as all the things they love about themselves (birds of a feather flock together) helps me to keep it real too. Also, exercising has brought me closer to my body because I am able to truly see how strong my body is. I shifted my focus from perfecting my body to caring for it and that has really helped me to feel proud of all my body can do vs. just what it looks like.
Any last words of encouragement?
My advice for people who are having a hard time overcoming their insecurities is that life is too short to spend it thinking about how you aren’t good enough when you’re great! Your body is in no way a representation of your worth or who you are as a person. You’re beautiful inside and out. You deserve to do, say, and wear exactly what makes you feel the absolute best!
Are you loving Seairra as much as we do? Follow her on IG and stop by to say Hi!
I became friends with Jess Quinn after discovering her on Instagram! She is a health and wellness influencer and athlete who lost her leg to cancer when she was eight years old. She recently placed 3rd on Dancing with the Stars in her home country of New Zealand and is spreading an incredibly powerful message about body image and making the most of what life has in store for you. I was intrigued to learn more about Jess’s view on wearing shorts, since it would be so different than the average woman’s experience.
What has your relationship with shorts been like? We see that you wear them on Instagram but have you always worn shorts?
No, in fact it took me 8 years to wear anything shorter than knee length after I lost my leg. Once I got into my teenage years I started to get self-conscious about my leg, so I did everything I could to hide it. The thought of just throwing on a pair of shorts wasn’t even an option in my mind. I remember thinking that I so badly wanted to be able to wear shorts. I’d see my friends in shorts and I’d think, “I wish I could do that.” As if it was something I physically could not do, when, the only person stopping me from wearing shorts was me and the confidence lacking within myself. The only time I wore shorts was when I’d go to rehabilitation, I would carry them in my bag, put them on at rehab and then change back into long pants before I left the building. I don’t even know why I was so scared to show myself exactly as I was.
Your body garnishes more attention than you might like, how have you learned to deal with that?
A large part of it was that I didn’t like people staring, but now, I wear shorts every single day and people stare all day long! The only difference is that it doesn’t bother me anymore. The more I think about it, I realize that people’s reactions towards us are out of our control. It is our response to their actions that determine how we feel, and that is something we do have control over. The older I got and the more confident I became, I realized, people were just interested in my leg they didn’t necessarily think anything negative about me or my body. I understand now that being different sparks curiosity more than anything and maybe I can use that opportunity to spread positivity.
After losing your leg, do you remember the first time you put on shorts and wore them in public?
I still remember the first day I put on a pair of denim shorts, I was with my friends at their pool and it was summer. I was melting in the heat so one of the girls offered me a pair of shorts, it took me a long time but eventually, I went upstairs and put them on. I can’t even express into words how liberating it was to step outside and wear the shorts and I never looked back since. I now prefer to wear shorts, I prefer people to see my leg and me exactly as I am. In hindsight, I wish I’d just worn the damn shorts and saved myself years of heat exhaustion and lost confidence. But I do believe it was a process I had to go through to get me to where I am today.
What advice do you have for women who don’t like their legs?
Wear the damn shorts! Your legs are built to take you places not to be picked apart for how they look.
If you want to know more about Jess and her inspiring story, follow her on IG and stop by to say Hi!
Alexus is a curve model with Natural Models LA and my occasional workout buddy. She has lost over 80 pounds and is focused on living her best life being her healthiest self. Alexus is always positive and just puts off those good human vibes you want to endlessly absorb.
You have had such an inspiring health transformation, how many sizes have you been?
I am 5’10” and I have been every size from a 10-24! I am currently a size 14.
Have you always worn shorts? Why?
No!!! I didn’t like that my legs had so much cellulite. I was insecure about how the fat on my legs “spilled over my knees” as I would describe it. I have always been hard on my legs and felt like my calves were always too big.
What are three things that have helped you manage your insecurities about your legs?
- I am learning to stop negatively comparing myself to others. It’s still an everyday learning process but one I am dedicated to mastering.
I have learned that who I am on the inside matters so much more than the opinions of how my body "should" look. I know I can’t control my DNA but I can control who I am as a person and how I treat others.
- Embracing my “flaws”. The things that I believed were my flaws are things that make me different and set me apart from other people. Maybe they aren’t flaws after all? Maybe they are just signs of being human? What is so wrong with that?
What advice do you have for women who feel self-conscious about wearing shorts?
Sometimes we forget to realize our own blessings. Embrace your legs because they’re beautiful and imperfect just like everyone else’s. Who defines what perfection is? No one. Because nothing in this world is perfect. Therefore, we all deserve to wear what we want!
If you want more of Alexus positive vibes, follower her on IG and stop by to say Hi!
Another fantastic Instagram discovery was Laura A.K.A @theirongiantess. I can’t remember how I came across her page, but the universe has this weird way of having me cross paths with women that have an alignment with my higher purpose. Laura is one of those women. She is a 6’0” tall, healthy, powerful, and stunning woman who has transformed her life, losing 115 lbs. in the process. She continues to inspire thousands of women on social media daily, to believe they can get healthy too!
How many different sizes have you been?
I’ve ranged from a size 28 to a size 4 and a size small to a 4XL, so I understand body insecurities at every size.
Have you always worn shorts? If not why?
No. Growing up, I learned society’s #1 rule for women: If it’s imperfect, cover it up. At 6’ and over 300 lbs, when I looked in the mirror, I saw a whole lot of things that needed to be covered. That inevitably meant I rarely wore shorts. When I did, it was always a conscious rebellion. A screw you to whatever was making me feel insecure.
What helped you to reach that place of rebellion and reach for confidence over insecurity?
I had to remember, most women in magazines don’t even look like the women in magazines, and so I didn’t need to use magazines as an aspirational reflection of myself. I think women should buy clothes they like - even if you think you’re not supposed to wear them. Those rules we’re all supposed to follow? They’re crap. You’re not “supposed to wear it”? Do it anyway. There is a form of empowerment and freedom in that space that every woman deserves to feel.
What gets you pumped up when you are feeling down?
I turn on my favorite sexy ass song while I get ready. Hell - make a whole kick-ass playlist if you have to! I have learned that when I feel myself going into a negative headspace, it is my job to pull myself out of it. Instead of looking in the mirror and picking out the things you hate, make a conscious effort every time you walk by the mirror to find three things you like about yourself. As that list grows, so will your self-confidence.
What advice do you have for women who want to feel confident about their bodies?
Don’t worry so much about what people think. Most of the time, people are struggling to like themselves, so stop worrying about whether they like you. Confidence is contagious.
If you are loving what Laura had to say, follow her on IG and stop by to say Hi!
For me, wearing shorts was not something I ever enjoyed. I have a tough time finding any that I feel fit my body correctly. They either pancake my butt, are too short, too long, too tight, or give me camel toe. LOL, That made me laugh. There is something about actually writing "camel toe" that is hilarious. I have always worn shorts, but until recently, I was still incredibly uncomfortable when I did. I relate to so much of what these women had to say and second it! I think age has been incredibly helpful for me. As I get older, I feel more connected to my true-self. I think it is that connection that empowers me to challenge the societal pressures to conform.
Even though I have a hard time finding shorts that I like, I really like my legs and find them to be beautiful. I love seeing new muscles show from doing almost 100 spin classes. I feel strong because I am literally strong and I now realize the only people who fear a strong woman are those feel inferior to her.
So let me ask you one more time to raise your hand if you are wearing shorts this summer! There is so much truth in this post, and I hope it has seeped through your computer screen and into that beautiful brain of yours. The most valuable lesson that I hope you can take away from posts like this is that everything you think about yourself is a choice. What you accept to be true about yourself is a choice, and at any point, you can choose a healthier, happier, more kind and loving personal belief system. These women have, I have, and so can you. At any point, you can choose to be a new version of yourself that shines from the inside out, with the body you have right now.