I Know It's Winter, And I Know I Have Shorts On

I Know It's Winter, And I Know I Have Shorts On

Why don't we stop caring what other people are wearing?
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Let’s get something straight. I like shorts. Basketball shorts are usually my go-to choice for bottoms each morning. I find them comfortable and I like how I look in them. I have never been completely confident in my own skin, so it is important for me to wear what makes me comfortable.

I wear shorts all year-round, even during the winter, which I have found drives people crazy. Each morning I get ready to walk to the gym. Unless there are sub-zero temperatures and blizzard conditions outside, I wear shorts. My rationale: it is a two-minute walk up to the gym, and I’m just going to change into shorts anyway. Seems reasonable, right?

Yet, every morning when I say “good morning” to someone, a common response I hear is “where are your pants?”

Oh wow! I’m not wearing pants. That was stupid of me. Thanks for pointing that out.

I am completely aware of what I am wearing. I am also completely aware it is winter. I know these things because I have eyes, I can feel the cold, and I have common sense. I am also aware that it is socially normal to wear jeans or even thicker pants during the winter. I exist as a deviant because I wear shorts most days instead of jeans.

But my question is: who cares? Who cares if I want to wear shorts to the gym or to my class in the building across campus? I’m literally going to be outside for one minute. I don’t see the point in bundling myself up in ten layers of clothing that I’m going to take off as soon as I get to class.

I am a bit overweight for someone my age, therefore I am well insulated. I do not get cold easily. If I ever utter the words “I’m cold” I am usually complaining about my face, hands, or torso. Never my legs.

I love the usual excuses people give me for why I need to bundle up more. “You are going to get sick!” Cold weather does allow your body to catch illness easier, but I don’t think one minute of exposure is going to put me in the hospital. If so, I understand the risk.

Another question I usually get is, “what if you get held up and you are outside longer than you think?” Believe it or not, I do have the ability to think ahead, just like I have the ability to competently dress myself.

People also love to tell me, “well, if you get cold, don’t complain to me!” Great! I didn’t even ask you anyway. If I do get cold, I’ll understand completely that it is my fault. Will I change how I get dressed each day? Probably not.

I also must acknowledge that I have it relatively easy. I’m a guy. Most people don’t care what I wear from day to day. Women on the other hand are under constant social pressure and scrutiny to wear the correct outfit for the given situation. When a woman deviates from the clothing norm, they are shunned. When a man deviates from the clothing norm, they are usually just given a quick scold and treated the same as before.

Relating to my shorts problem, I feel terrible for girls who want to wear shorts in the winter. You won’t see many girls in basketball shorts because apparently that is more of a guy thing. Girls will wear the shorter shorts, and when girls wear a larger coat to overcompensate for the lost coverage on her legs, they get comments like, “wow, is she even wearing anything? Does she have any self-respect? Cover up, young lady!”

The social gender norms surrounding clothing, and anything else that can be gendered, are almost upheld as strict laws in this country. Bottom line, we need to stop worrying about what other people are wearing and focus more on what makes us comfortable. That’s my thought process every morning. I could care less about what anyone else is wearing. I want to feel like myself.

If you are a friend or someone that has a ton of classes with me and have recently said something to me about my shorts, please understand that I am not mad at you. I’m just asking those around me to understand that I am a junior in college, almost 21, and have over a 3.9 G.P.A. I know how to dress myself. I know the dangers of going outside in shorts in the middle of winter. I can take care of myself, and it really is not anyone’s business what I wear around campus, to the mall, to the store, and wherever else I can freely go. Let’s just stop judging each other on what we wear.

Cover Image Credit: The Boston Globe

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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'Sissy, Why is That Boy Wearing Makeup?'

June is time to celebrate equality.

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This past weekend, I went to the mall with my family. It was just a normal family excursion, and I wanted to walk into Sephora to show my mom a perfume I liked. We go inside, and my mother and I drift away from my dad and 6 year old sister, Sierra. I showed her the perfume I thought smelled amazing (Roses de Chloé) and we look for my sister and father to exit the store. As soon as we leave, my little sister grabs my hand and asks, "Sissy, why is that boy wearing makeup?"

This was the first time my little sister has ever asked about anything like this, and I wanted to make sure I gave her an answer. I turned to her and said, "Sierra, sometimes there are boys who wear makeup, and girls who may dress like boys. People are allowed to wear what they want, it doesn't matter." Sierra looks up at me, says, "Oh okay," and that was the end of it.

Sharing this experience to say, HAPPY PRIDE MONTH!

So thankful to live in a country where all sexual orientations get a day to celebrate their love. That's what this world needs more of-- love. It shouldn't matter who it is, where they are from, the color on their skin, or their gender identity.

When Sierra was born, I always wondered when this conversation would come up. I wondered what I would say, how she would react to it, and how she would be exposed to it. Like I consistently preach, everything happens for a reason, and I'm glad Sierra was able to get exposure and receive an immediate answer. Love is love, and I will forever stand by that.

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