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Letting It All Hang Out

I've been keeping a secret, guys. For as long as I can remember, I've been hiding something. I've been doing my best to keep people from finding out, but over the last year or so I've let some people in on it. Since I've been making an effort to be more open, I figure it's time to just get it out there and stop with the cover-up. So here I am, putting it on the internet. Are you ready? I have fat legs, y'all. And there's more--I have fat arms, too. Whew. It feels good to say it. I know you're all shocked to find this out. I mean, since the rest of me is so slim and toned, my jiggly, dimpled arms and legs are surely a surprise, right? Okay, so it turns out it wasn't a big secret. But somehow, for way too many years, I convinced myself that if I just kept my arms and legs covered, no one would know what my body really looks like. I would wear jeans all year long---even during summers in Charleston---and sweat my life away just so no one would see my legs. Cap sleeve tops made me twitchy, and the thought of going totally sleeveless in public was a nightmare. My insane cardigan collection? It's not because I have a super preppy fashion sense. It's because sweaters cover my arms when I wear all the cute sleeveless tops and dresses that I buy (you know, despite the fact that I don't show my arms). Last summer I broke down and bought shorts for the first time since at least college (that's 10 plus years for those of you keeping score at home). I read a great post by Sarah over at Bitchy But Bubbly that inspired me, and I just did it. Instead of wearing jeans all summer, I let my legs breathe...and be seen in all their pale fatness...and it was glorious. I still had my moments of doubt and sometimes felt self-conscious about how I looked in shorts, but I realized that I'm probably going to have those moments no matter what I wear. I might as be more comfortable in the process. I've been an avid shorts-wearer ever since. Despite my success in setting my legs free, my arms are a different story. My legs, while fat, are pretty proportional to the rest of my body. My arms, however, are on a whole new level. Even for my general size, they're big. And floppy. And did I mention extra big? It just seems like a lot to be putting out there for public consumption. I wanted to try to get over my complex, though. I thought that if 2016 was the summer of shorts, maybe this year would be the summer of sleeveless. Unfortunately, I still struggled with the idea of going sleeveless most of the summer, but I did give it a try recently. Last Monday, I changed out of my work clothes into some shorts to go to our football stadium to watch the eclipse with 14,000 of my closest friends. As I walked out of the office in my shorts, tank top, and---of course---cardigan on top, I immediately started sweating. How dumb is this? I thought. So I shed the cardigan in the car and headed over to the stadium. I know it sounds ridiculous, but I honestly got nervous on the way. What if I saw people I know? And what if they saw my arms? Would people think, "she does NOT need to be wearing that"? Even worse, would they SAY it? Well, let me tell you exactly what happened. THE FREAKING MOON JUMPED IN FRONT OF THE SUN AND MADE IT DARK IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY SO THAT NO ONE WOULD HAVE TO LOOK AT MY FAT ARMS! Just kidding. I mean, that happened (totality FTW), but my arms were irrelevant. No one gave me dirty looks. No one told me to cover up my gross arms. Most importantly, I did not die from heat stroke (although I still managed to sweat profusely because, well, it's August in SC). It was fine. No one cared. Huh...go figure! Maybe it was a weird effect of the eclipse, or maybe I just decided to act like a normal, rational person, but I got even more bold and wore a tank top to the gym later in the week. You'll never believe this. No one stopped and stared, and no one asked me to take my flapping arms elsewhere. I just went to my class and worked my butt off, and we all acted like nothing strange was going on. And I've gotta say, I totally get it now! I understand why people work out in tank tops! It's brilliant. In fact, I'm now convinced it was sleeves that were bringing me down this whole time. (That's gotta be it, right?) It feels silly to have believed for so long that I was somehow projecting a better version of myself by keeping my arms and legs covered. As if anyone other than me even cares! Actually, truth be told, I still care a little bit. You're not going to see me in Daisy Dukes or tank tops on the regular, and that's okay too. But if you, too, have been covering up because of what other people might think, I'm here to tell you this: Wear the shorts. Bare your arms. Be comfortable. What's the worst that can happen? Even if you cause an eclipse, it will be beautiful and people will cheer, and it doesn't get much better than that.