thoughts on funny little neuroses…

Jun 16, 2008 | Life in Progress

(wonderfully funny street art sent to me by my nyc friend karen)

i wanted to share a bit of a story:

when i was 10 years old a fellow fifth grader made fun of my legs as i walked home from school one day. i’m not exactly sure why he was making fun of my legs (they were, i believe, normal fifth grader legs), but i remember being incredibly sensitive and most definitely embarrassed about the whole thing. what was wrong with me? did i look weird? am i chubby? i was wearing a pair of green shorts that particular day with a cute tropical patterned shirt that matched perfectly. it was 1985. turns out, i wouldn’t wear another pair of shorts until 23 years later. clearly, i needed an oprah intervention for my neurosis. to grow up in florida and not wear shorts was a tremendous effort, by the way.

last week, i finally overcame my very nonsensical fear and not only bought, but wore a very cute pair of brown walking shorts. i loved them so much that i went back and bought three more pairs in yellow, green, and tan. for the last two weeks i’ve been wearing them nonstop with all my cute shoes and tops and feeling quite sassy if i do say so myself! i’d like to take this moment and thank one of my favorite tv shows, what not to wear, for showing me the way, for convincing me that i too could look cutiefied in a pair of walking shorts. oh, the fears we hold onto!
if i stand back and really think about this, there is so much to celebrate. i often talk about doing the things we don’t think we could do – how doing them can help unearth some of the best parts of ourselves. what i learned last week was this: that our particular thing can be as tiny and seemingly insignificant as clothing. or it could be as significant and huge as finally dismissing one little comment from a nameless/faceless 10 year old boy whose words held tightly to my heart for many, many years. i learned that there is always something, whether it’s huge or tiny, that we can do to create or perhaps uncover shiny new pieces of ourselves. these moments, these pieces, are waiting for us. it doesn’t have to be a huge big event. it could be as simple as putting on a pair of summery yellow shorts…everything is significant.
now that i’ve been skipping around in my shorts, i can’t tell you how utterly silly i feel for waiting all these years. and how finally getting over myself has given me a whole new perspective (and wardrobe).
so yes, i say let go. let go. let go.

Sending much love,

Show/Hide Comments (22 comments)
  1. Jen Diamond

    Which episode of What not to wear was it?

  2. Lina

    Go you!! I am right there with you…just bought my first pair of shorts in about 18 years….and they look pretty dang cute on me!

  3. pERiWinKle

    Yay! Summer! Fun! legs! brave!

    I think sometimes it is more of ‘coming over yourself’ than anything else! We hold on so close to some things and feel just too scared to let go…because..what if we liked it?! or loved! it!!! What then?

    Then we will have to do more of it!!! 4 pairs! Should get 3 more…one for every day! 🙂 xx

  4. Sunny Carvalho

    That’s so strange that you wrote about your experience and I happened to read it! In about 8th grade (in the early 80s) a boy made fun of my legs as well. I didn’t wear shorts until I was in my late 20s. Those comments really stay with you. I am now 43 and totally know who I am. I have outgrown all the insecurities of my youth and I try so hard to instill the self esteem into my girls that I didn’t have when I was young. Thanks for writing about your experience!

  5. Heather,

    Way to go Shorts Girl! I finally gave up wearing socks and letting my birthmark show, but for years I hated it. Now, I think its just darn sexy. XO
    P.S. Working hard to teach my boy that comments like that are not okay…to anyone.

  6. Tyn

    I wore sweater vests EVERYDAY in 1984. Some kind of security blanket for me. A hot one too.
    Congrats on the shorts!!! They look super cute!

  7. julie king

    oh, that breaks my heart that you held onto that for so many years. but, i love how you not only are putting it behind you but telling the story to inspire others. you are wise beyond your years!!

  8. stephanie t.

    ‘eagle beak’…Bruce L. called me ‘eagle beak’ in junior high and it hurt, like a salted wound, until I turned 25 and had a nose job. That ‘beak’ was my heritage…I make it a point to teach my kidlings how words can hurt…even the most foolish of comments can leave scars.

    Glad to hear your knees are feelin’ the breeze!!

  9. Deirdre

    Yay you! Those little comments are not so little when they sit in our heads for decades.

    I still don’t wear shorts (waaay too white), but I’ve made the leap to cropped pants – love ’em.

    For some strange reason bloglines didn’t update my listing for your blog, so the last five just came in today. Yikes! I’ve missed so much! Your mom’s house is darling. Love the colors, the sweet details, the buttons. I’m glad you had a great time.

    See you soon. xoxo

  10. justagirl

    great post… I spent years and still do, getting in first making fun of my lack of height before other people did.

  11. cherry girl

    This is a great post that I am sure a lot of people can relate to – I am trying to release my big nose issues and my inability to wear anything white!

  12. Jacky

    Your shorts AND your shoes are so cute! Where did you find them both?

  13. Vanessa Voss

    Great post 🙂

    It seems most of us have similar stories. When I was around 15 I had two people make fun of my legs, my chunky calves to be precise, and then, for many years, I was extremely insecure of my legs and kept them covered.

    I also love the show What Not To Wear. I have only watched the UK version with Trinny and Susannah. I adore those women.

    Enjoy wearing your shorts!

  14. jacki janse van rensburg

    you go girl! i walked around for ages, sucking in my lower lip, that i thought was too ‘fat’…

  15. Tia Bailey

    I too fight little battlescars that were left from 5th grade and am working very hard to get past them right now by losing weight and not “hiding” behind the baggy clothes anymore. I am so excited for you and your walking shorts. 🙂 It is definately a step forward. I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE capris and I wear them until it gets too darn cold and I have to trade them in for jeans.

    You go girl!!! Walk proud!!!

  16. zquilts

    That’s a great post! When I was 16 a boy told me that I did not have the “requisite” three triangles in my legs … and I felt so imperfect way into my adult hood – not knowing for many years what in the heck he was referring to! He was a jock and I was an artsy type which probably explains the whole thing! I agree – Let It Go – and sooner is way better to do that than later !

  17. Relyn

    Wise advice and an open-hearted post. I love this. It is exactly why I work so hard with my students to teach kindness above all else.

    I hope you enjoy your shorts for the rest of your life – even when you are ninety and the skin around your knees sags. Who cares anyway?

  18. Annie

    Oh my God, you would be so cute in shorts!

    Some girls snickered at my bronze kitten-heeled ankle boots when I was 15 and I had a shoe crisis for years where I would not wear anything different or unusual.

    That all changed when I went to art school –

  19. Katrina

    adorable! welcome home and i can’t wait to see you in those cute new shorts. last summer i decided to take a plunge and wear skirts that are just above my knees! oooh, how risky of me, right? fun post from you…

  20. Julie @ Letter9

    i almost wrote an “i bought shorts and even wore them at my baby’s birthday party with, like, lots of people around” post recently, too. looks like we share a neurotic tic.

    i mean, looks like we USED TO share one. : )


    you go girl !! enjoy those shorts !!

    and I agree with you….love that “what not to wear” 🙂

    welcome home

  22. Robin Westphal

    I’m running a body image group in my day job and I have found it amazing how we can be so affected for years by one lil comment. Way to be brave grrl! That is also the one thing I love about aging… just doesn’t matter any more what people think!


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I’m Kelly Rae Roberts

Before I picked up my first paintbrush at the age of 30, I was a medical social worker. I followed my creative whispers, and today I’m an artist & Possibilitarian. I’m passionate about creating meaningful art and experiences that awaken and inspire our spirits.

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