I am hot. By nature. Or something.
Given that I am a hot-natured person, you might think I’d wear shorts and tank tops. You’d be wrong. Or you would have been a few months ago.
Another thing about my nature: A huge goal since my teenage years has been to blend in. I wanted to hit the exact middle mark. Not overdressed. Not underdressed. Completely down the middle.
When I was younger and much thinner, I wore white. A lot. It was a way I made myself blank, unnoticeable. When I got older and thicker, I switched to black clothing. I didn’t do this consciously, exactly. One day, a counselor asked me if I owned any other colors because she’d only ever seen me wear black. I went home and looked in my closet and found almost no color.
The next big shopping trip I took, I purposely bought clothing with color: oranges, blues, reds, greens. And though I bought several sleeveless shirts – tanks, sweaters, tees – I always wore layers. A scarf. An over shirt. A cardigan. A pashmina. Whatever it took to hide my ghastly arms.
Something strange happened this spring. One day I pulled a tank top over my head. And that was it. I’m not talking about revealing, bare-it-all kinds of shirts. I’m just saying – I let my arms be out to see the sun.
They – my arms – are probably the biggest they’ve ever been. They still boast the wonder that is keratosis pilaris. They still jiggle in all the wrong ways. So what’s changed?
I have. I don’t need to hide myself anymore. I don’t require layers. I can stand to be seen.
It’s not pride. My arms don’t deserve to be seen. It’s not like that. It’s more of a freedom for myself. A gentle knowing that I’m okay in my own skin.