Dear Nike Shorts,

I never really knew how to appreciate your beauty and wonder until the past summer.

Before that, you were the bottoms I grabbed when I wanted to throw something over my dance clothes or bikini. Or maybe when I decided to work out once a month, I would throw on a pair with a sports bra and call it a day. But now, Nike shorts, I owe you my struggling college freshman life.

You have brought me so much happiness in college.

I've had so many firsts with you: first day of college, first college party, first college community service plunge, first college crying session, first college stress vomit session (it happens), first college hurricane evacuation. They were all done in you, my beloved Nike shorts.

We have met in the store several times before college, but I want to recount on our most recent shopping interaction.

I had to go to Dick's Sporting Goods to buy an industrial sports bra for a dance fundraiser I was in. I had to search up and down for one, and then I spotted you. Two beautiful pairs of black and white Nike shorts. The first pair had white stars all over them, and my inner Rachel Berry was screaming. I said to myself "Nike shorts, I want to be your star."

The second pair had the signature "Just Do It" Nike slogan all over them in signature novel font. My inner literary nerd was screaming. I grabbed you as fast as I could, as if someone was going to swipe you out from underneath me. I ran to the register and swiped my debit card like lightening, not even caring about the fact that my banker father was going to yell at me for spending $120 at a sporting goods store when I, in fact, play ZERO sports.

It soon became an obsession.

I went through every possible way to get you. I went to every single thrift store on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and bought them out of every single extra large pair I could find. I asked my friends and family for any hand-me-downs shorts they possibly had. I raided the athletic clothes section at work and used my 50% off employee discount as much as I possibly could. By the end of summer, I had copious amounts of Nike shorts ranging from off-brand or on brand, black and white or bright colorful patterns, sports teams or schools that I didn't even go to. Nike shorts, you were my summer love.

Nike has been put in the controversy spotlight as of late. But this love letter isn't about that.

This is about how meeting you, the love of my life, changed me for the better. When I feel like I have absolutely no one in life, I have you, Nike shorts. When my anxiety and body issues get the best of me, I have you to tell me how beautiful I am, Nike shorts. You are my constant support system.

Thank you. I love you.

Sincerely,

Payton Grace Mullinax (a.k.a. the girl who never wears real pants anymore)