This is a Guest Post By: Patricia Anderson-Peters. Thank you Patricia!
I was recently thinking that the last time anyone saw my legs above the knees was probably by accident. I might have fallen or turned just so, or for all I knew, it could have been that gynecologist appointment in 1994. In any event, it had been a very, very long time since I had shown them with intent. Yet, when one of my loves mentioned that perhaps it was time to put away the maxi-dresses (yes, put them AWAY) after counting coup on pounds and getting back into my exercise regiment, I had a ‘what if’ moment. What IF I actually got just that gutsy again? What if I turned the clock back a little, to the short skirt, heel-wearing self that I once was? The worst that could happen would be an unfortunate fall from grace and heels that would result in a few bruises to my knees and ego. Right? My one caveat was- I wouldn’t hack off that old denim skirt until I could complete the 112 miles on bike that had been taunting me since I started training again.
Well what do you know?
I did it. And sooner than I thought I would.
With scissors in hand, I cut that skirt at just above the knees and prepared for their re-entry into society. A leisure soak in the bath and a nice sharp razor got the gams back to snuff and I was ready. Gingerly slipping the skirt up and over my hips, I shivered at what wasn’t there. It was too big for my waist and fell at my hips, which fortunately kept it just low enough that I couldn’t chicken out, but I fussed with it more than a teen-aged boy would have after a football game.
But the dare was there and as is often said, “Don’t dare her if you don’t want it done.”
Living up to one’s reputation really can be daunting from time to time.
With a deep breath for courage, I teetered out to the living room. My skin was flushed to the same color as the red shirt I had chosen to wear. I felt naked, probably more naked than being nude, honestly. We get nude for a bath, or to make love. But putting on skin bearing clothing (any skin) is deliberate and says “I’m here world, deal with it. Love me or leave me but I’m here.”
They loved it.
More importantly, I loved it.
Like any other person in the world, we really do want to hear that we are fine. Sometimes, that we are MORE than fine—that we are wonderful. But it had been a very long time since I looked at myself and was able to say “You, legs? I love you.” (And yes, it’s perfectly fine to talk to your body parts. I do draw up short of naming them though. Always felt funny about that.) We don’t have to become egomaniacal about it, but we really should be our own best critics, rather than our worst.
Life and its peculiarities, its challenges and sorrows will throw us every imaginable curveball as we go along. Some would say that I’ve had more than my fair share of them. As the years have rolled by, it was easier by far to settle into a state of invisibility, a sort of one-sided window through which I began to watch it all go by, rather than engaging it with all of the spirit that had characterized me in my earlier years. Yet in doing so, I found that I was becoming invisible even to myself. The reflection in the mirror became more dim, the colors of my soul a bit less vibrant than they had previously been. That’s the thing about letting ourselves become imprisoned by the worst sort of jailer: ourselves. The sentences are long and the punishments, capital. Not a single one of us will get out of this world alive, but we do have a choice about how we will live before we die. It can be a short skirt day, every day.
We are not always surrounded by people that will value us enough to tell us that we are looking awesome, and are willing to walk us through the doorway into remembering who we were, and reveling in who we are. There are days we wake up alone, and have to “mantra-walk” our way to our personal sense of wonderful. We’ll look into our mirrors and have to tell ourselves, all the reasons why our smile is incomparable. When we shelve into those divine bras we spent far too much money on, we need to place our hands over our hearts, and feel the rhythm of the best love song ever composed. It’s the one with the beat that keeps time to a job, a family and a world moving at lightning speed. Then, fearlessly suit up in that skirt that shows just enough knee to remind you, that you are still a drop-dead diva no matter what your age, size or circumstance, because honey—you’ve earned it.