i have cellulite, and i’m okay with it.

Posted on Jul 8, 2013 in Fashion & Beauty

me feet flip flops

I know a lot of folks equate cellulite with getting older, but a lot of us life-long chubby ladies know that cellulite doesn’t just show up magically when your age changes. In fact, my very first memory of even knowing anything about cellulite was in 8th grade. It was right after school started—in August—the hottest time here in Indiana, and I wore a pair of shorts to school. I remember sitting down at a desk in some classroom and another student made some typical pre-teen comment about how gross my thighs looked. I’d always been a big, tall girl (I think I was probably taller than my Kindergarten teacher—during Kindergarten), so bullying about being fat was nothing new to me—and I’d learned to just brush it off mostly—but this particular comment was new and shook me to my core. I knew my thighs were big and thick as tree trunks, but I had no idea that they were all dimply and un-smooth.

That day, I stopped wearing shorts.

I didn’t wear shorts all through high school. Not when we went to an amusement park for a class trip and it was 95°. Not when I was at band camp (yes, band camp, color guard, represent!) and outside marching for eight hours at a time in August heat and humidity. I didn’t wear shorts in college. Not when I had a summer drawing class that required me to sit outside in the sun for three hours sketching wildlife. Not when I went to the Indy 500 and it was nearly 100° and I was sitting in the sun. I didn’t wear shorts after college when I went to visit my then boyfriend/now husband for a week and he had no A/C in his house in July.

Whenever someone would ask why I was wearing pants or capris or a skirt (not a short one, obviously) and not something a little bit shorter and a little bit cooler, I’d tell them that I just “wasn’t a short person” or that I was “more modest than that”. Neither of those were true. The truth is, I just didn’t want anyone to see my dimpled thighs. Of course I wanted to wear the cute little shorts that all my friends were wearing. Of course I wanted to wear something cooler during the oppressive Midwest summer. I just didn’t feel like I could wear shorts. Not only did I feel like I needed to hide my insecurity (quite literally, with fabric), but I also felt like I “owed” it to society to cover up a part of my body that was less-than-perfect. It was the whole “nobody wants to see that” mentality.

me puppyface

It wasn’t until I hit 25 that something occurred to me—maybe cellulite isn’t really that big of a deal. And even bigger than that, maybe if other people have issues with my body, it’s just that—their issues. I’d been carrying around the baggage of some stupid middle school comment a bit too long and it was time to reformulate my mindset about my body and my legs. I started thinking of all the great qualities my legs have. I’m tall and have long, strong, muscular legs. My legs let me run (most of) a half marathon. My legs carried me 40 miles through the streets of Chicago for breast cancer research. Every morning, my legs wake up with me and get me out of bed (although, admittedly, they are a little stiffer in the mornings than they were a few years ago). Maybe I don’t love my cellulite individually (I don’t). But my cellulite is a part of these amazing legs of mine, and those legs are part of this incredible body I have. And because of that, I learned to be okay with my cellulite. And because I’m okay with it, I learned that everyone else would have to be okay with it, too.

me beach shorts vacation

Once I made that shift in how I thought about my legs, the shorts started coming back. It was no longer about hiding something I wasn’t comfortable with (what I considered a “flaw”) but now it was about wearing what I wanted to wear and showing off a part of my body that had given me so much.

The wardrobe change was a gradual process. I bought one pair of shorts (short ones!) and would wear them every now and again. And then another pair. And then some shorter skirts and some shorter dresses. The confidence snowballed, because I finally felt like I was wearing the clothes that I’d been wanting to wear since I was 13. I didn’t have to skip huge sections of clothes in the summer racks just because I couldn’t show my legs. A whole world of beautiful things were opened up to me. I felt more like me because I was wearing the clothes that I wanted to. Ignoring society norms of what was a “good” and a “bad” body turned out to be incredibly empowering. And empowerment=confidence in my world.

Now, I pretty much live all summer in short shorts and short dresses. Sure, my cellulite shows. Heck, I’m even sure that as I’ve gotten older, it’s getting worse (although, I don’t know, because have you ever tried looking at the back of your legs?). And I know that there are certain things a woman isn’t supposed to wear once she turns 30 (I’m almost sure the pigtails and short shorts I have on while I’m typing this are no-nos in some book of how ladies should dress in their 30s). But I feel awesome.

Me

I’m okay with people seeing that my legs are cottage cheese-like. I’m okay with people whispering under their breath about how some people just shouldn’t wear certain clothes. You know why? Because it’s not about those people. It’s about me. It’s about me wanting to wear the clothes I want to wear and finding a way to be okay with my not-at-all runway-caliber body. I’m sorry if a quick glimpse of my dimpled thighs is offensive to you, but that’s obviously your issue, not mine. And when I accept that I have no control over the issues of others and stop internalizing their commentary, I can clear away the mud and see how I really think and feel. And without the influence of some brat in middle school or some magazine or some TV show telling me I shouldn’t wear what I want to wear, I know that I love wearing shorts. And I’m going to keep on keepin’ on as long as it makes me feel good (and as long as Indiana summers have 90°/90% humidity days).

My next clothing peak to climb: the two-piece swimsuit. I’ve never worn one as an adult (in fact, I think the last time I wore one, I was probably three). And I want to. I’ve been waiting. Waiting until I lose some weight. Waiting until my body is more toned. Waiting until I’m ready to strut down the beach in something skimpy. But, for me, I’m learning that body confidence doesn’t come from my physical body. It doesn’t come from how I look in the mirror or how I look in clothes or how much the scale says I weigh. Body confidence comes when I decide to be happy in the body that I have. And nothing says “happy body” to me than lounging on a beach somewhere in a beautiful bikini. Chubby belly and all.

Is there any kind of clothes out there than you want to wear but don’t because of your body? What’s holding you back?

 

49 Comments

  1. Who DOESN’T have cellulite?? I am considered a healthy weight and still have some. My heart ached when I read your story… kids can be so cruel. It’s funny how something that was said so long ago can affect you for years… I can definitely relate to that. But I LOVE your attitude!! I wish I had half of your confidence, honestly. I agree… if people have a problem with what you wear then it is their problem, not yours. If you feel great then that is what really matters. Thank you so much for reminding me that imperfections are beautiful…I’ve been struggling with my many imperfections lately and I really needed to read this this morning. Thank you for being such an inspiration! God bless you!

  2. I’m 33 and only just this year considering shorts again. It may never happen though, since I found a pair I loved and aent a pic to my husband who declared them horrible… So clearly I have no idea how to dress myself.

    • I don’t know what your relationship is like with your husband, but I strongly suggest telling him how much his comment hurt you. Try asking what about them made them horrible. For example, I cannot wear shorts/pants with the pocket opening at an angle. It has to follow the waistband. Due to my shape, the angled pockets always gape even when I’m standing still and look horrible. The exact same clothes with the straight pocket may look amazing.
      So perhaps it was just a small, easily changable thing about the shorts that looked horrible. Maybe that exact length or color or pocket size or location or decoration on said shorts.

    • I’m so sorry your husband said that to you. My heart hurts for you.

    • Maybe he just didn’t like that particular pair of shorts. I have a pair of plaid shorts and every time I wore them my husband would whistle a circus theme. I wore them less and less often. Then he bought me plaid pjs and the first time I wore them he did the same thing. So I finally asked about it. He said its not that he doesn’t like the way plaid looks on me, but that for some reason plaid makes him think of circus clowns. Silly, yes, but for a long time I let it bother me because of something I made up in my head that never crossed his mind.

  3. I learned that my thighs were fat when I was 10 from my aunt, who said to my mom in Italian “Look at the thighs on that girl!” I am still paranoid as hell about them to this day.

  4. What a beautiful post! Thank you for sharing. You know, I’ve always had and struggled with body image issues. Even when I was at my lowest weight and at a healthy weight per all those charts and stuff, I still had issues. So, accepting our bodies for what they are and learning to value them isn’t necessarily about a certain weight. It’s the inner battle that needs work ya know?

  5. Isn’t it amazing how comments stick with you for so long? I think everyone, no matter their size has experienced that. I didn’t wear shorts for a long time too – and it was pretty miserable during the summer. I’m glad you’re wearing them now!

  6. Ahhh your posts are always so inspiring! I’ve never been overweight, but even so, this topic hits close to home. Everybody has their body insecurities (even skinny people), and you just bring a whole new positive light to body image. It’s so refreshing to see someone who is actually okay with their body, and not afraid to share about it. You rock, girl!

  7. This is such a great post. I had (have?) the same issue with wearing shorts. I still wear them very rarely outside of running, but over the last few years I’ve found that I LOVE wearing dresses! I now wear almost exclusively dresses not only to work, but out and about on the weekends too. I’ll put on shorts for summer yard work, but other than that I’m most confident and comfortable in a dress. It took a while for THAT to feel ok, too, as my mom used to always say how she HAD to wear dresses growing up and that I should appreciate that I have the freedom to wear shorts instead. Crazy how these comments stick with us?

  8. I love this! I think everyone has cellulite, skinny or not. Rock it! Also, go for that 2-piece! Just find one thats supportive up top (because really, that is important) and then it will be that much more comfortable.

    I love reading your blog!

  9. I just want to say I loved this post so thank you.

    I don’t wear shorts because I hate them. I own shorts, and I’ll wear them when it’s excrutiatingly hot and humid out. But I absolutely find them physically uncomfortable to wear. It doesn’t seem to matter if they’re demin, khaki or straight up spandex compression shorts; if the hems fall between my thighs, I can’t stand them.

    The funny thing about my hatred of shorts though is I feel wrong for not wearing them. I feel like a traitor to the message of empowerment for loving your body the way it is because I feel like people perceive my not wearing shorts as me being uncomfortable with my legs/ thighs.

  10. Love this post!

  11. The beginning of this post was so heartbreaking. I’m glad it had such a happy and empowering ending. I didn’t wear shorts or skirts for most my life either, although for a different reason. I’ve always had incredibly fair skin and always felt self conscious about not having the flawlessly tan legs all the other skirt-wearing girls in school seemed to have. Nowadays I just channel my inner Scarlett O’Hara and totally embrace my paleness and hey, I’m wearing shorts right now! :)

  12. I feel such respect and love for you right now! This post is very timely and inspirational for me. I had a moment of body self acceptance yesterday (yep, just a moment) and it was such a healing, new moment for me. It gives me courage to read how you have evolved.

    And when I look at your pictures, what I see is your energy and your smile first and that colours the whole picture beautiful… I hope you feel that beauty too.

  13. Wonderful post! I have avoided shorts most of my adult life, concerned that my legs were not “perfect” enough to be seen (and possibly judged) by others. Thank you for sharing your story. BTW–you look great in shorts!

  14. I LOVE this post! I think body image issues are just something that a lot of us women tackle, whether we ought to or not. I haven’t worn shorts since I was a little kid, because I’ve always felt self-conscious about my body. But get this – my high school graduation dress was a size 2. My wedding dress was a size 4. And now, after three children, as a size 10-12, I’m finally thinking “gee, maybe I’ll buy some shorts this summer”. Go figure, right? But I seriously loved this post. Very encouraging and inspiring!

  15. Hell yeah, girl!
    I definitely have some cellulite too and you can even see it through my yoga pants (So I guess avoiding shorts doesn’t even cut it if I want to avoid my cellulite showing. But I sure as hell am not going to avoid wearing stretchy pants!)
    You’re so right that if someone else has a problem with your body that their problem.

    I avoid shorts because I find them uncomfortable (they always rise up when I walk! It’s so awkward to keep having to pull them down from my crotch zone). But when it gets really hot or when I’m by the pool then I’ll show off my cellulite in shorts, no problem!

  16. Whoa, I just started a blog by writing almost exactly the same post about shorts. Jinx!
    http://onbeingenough.tumblr.com/post/54916438778/i-bought-shorts

  17. I have always had issues with my cellulite as well, and for the same thing – hurtful comments in my formative years. Your post really resonated with me because I am that girl who will not wear shorter dresses and shorts at all in the summer, despite the heat. I just refuse to go outside. I love your post on this because you are absolutely right.

    I’ve also been debating about whether or not to go the two piece route this summer, and I have to keep in mind all of the things you said. That it’s about how YOU feel as opposed to how others feel. Thank you so much for this post!

  18. I LOVE this, Cassie!! I love your attitude about your body- you are so damn inspiring. And for the record, I think you look amazing- you and your legs!!
    My legs are one of my favorite body parts- but I am very self conscious about the top of my thighs and the fact that they will ALWAYS rub together. I try to focus on the other 90% of my legs that I love. I was always really self conscious of my arms when I was growing up, and would never EVER wear a tank top. I remember prom dress shopping and trying to find something with sleeves (which was impossible) and keeping my shawl wrapped around me all night. It wasn’t until sometime in college that I actually wore a tank top in public- I just didn’t care anymore. I’ve worked on toning my arms since then, and while they’re not perfect or fat-free, they’re mine and I like them (working on LOVING them).

  19. I’m a thin-ish person. I’ve had cellulite since I was in high school. Not because I’m unhealthy or unfit, but because those are the genes I was blessed with. I also have spinder veins, again, thanks to my genes. If people have a problem with anyone wearing shorts, fuck ‘em. I used to be worried about my legs, but now at 30?! Whatever. If I want to wear shorts, I’m going to wear them. Their problem is NOT my problem :)

    Also?! I wear short shorts MORE now at 30 than I did in my 20′s. I’m FAR more confident now than I ever was. wear what you love (just so long as you don’t wear the same outfit as the Prancercize lady!)

  20. Your posts like these always give me such a boost of confidence! As I read it, I keep thinking “yeah! amen to that!” More women need to feel this way. I think it’s so sad that almost every woman is ashamed of some part of their body and can let it control them, we’re all victims of it. Time to stand up against what’s socially acceptable for a “perfect” body. Everyone is beautiful!

  21. It’s funny…I never really thought about why I didn’t wear shorts too often. It wasn’t because of cellulite of being made fun of though…it was the constant riding up between the thighs aspect of it haha. Or when you sit and your legs stick and sweat to something. That’s why I stick to bermuda shorts a lot of the time. I hate sweaty, sticky thighs.

    There was a time though where I would NOT wear sandals because someone made fun of my toes being fat and the big one being shorter than the second toe. To think I went years suffering in real shoes instead of letting my poor feet breathe. Now I live in sandals as long as I can.

  22. All I have to say is that this post really hits home! I remember in high school watching VH1′s Behind the Music of No Doubt and this is when Gwen was a little more filled out but still looked awesome and had that bright pink hair (still luvs the look) and was talking about body image and how she hated her legs, and I thought if she has issues then everyone has issues! So what I am trying to say is that, people are too busy worrying about themselves then really looking at you!

  23. Love, love, love this post, Cassie!! I too covered up for a very long time and am only now embracing my long, strong legs. Yes, my thighs are dimpled, but if anyone cares, then that’s a reflection of them and their hang-ups and not mine.
    You rawk, girl! :)

  24. I love this post for so many reasons. I have also dealt with not so beautiful cellulite since middle school, no matter what weight I’m at. I’m tired of feeling like I need to cover it up. It is what it is. Summer of shorts :)

    Go for it with the 2 piece swimsuit… you won’t regret it!

  25. oh, i so relate to the idea of “nobody wants to see that” and basing your wardrobe choices on what you feel is ‘acceptable’ to show. for me it’s been several things about my body, but mainly my arms. i hated my upper arms for years (a combination of their shape, size, and an unfortunate conversation with an ex-boyfriend) and never would wear tank tops or cap sleeves and chose at least elbow-length whenever possible. but at some point (around last year i think) i realized that there is nothing inherently ‘unacceptable’ about my arms. i can FEEL like they’re hideous and that other people MUST also be noticing, but these feelings do not equate reality. for one, they are not so abnormal; for two, who decides what kinds or shapes of body parts are acceptable? and for three, just like you said, if it bothers someone to see these soft upper arms, it’s their prerogative to look the other way.

    rock your short shorts, girl. because what i’ve found after embracing the freedom to wear tank tops is that they’re basically all i live in in the summer (with some shorts and cellulite of my own!) …it feels good to dress appropriately for hot weather! :)

  26. The story of why you stopped wearing shorts is almost identical to mine. Middle school, some idiot boy, and the words “Thunder Thighs.” I can’t even picture the kid who said it now, and I certainly don’t remember his name. But it’s amazing how much impact the comment had on me. It’s been a long time since I thought about that, but this post was an important reminder to me as I raise a young son. I hope to teach my kids the power of their words, and I really hope neither of my boys grows up to be the kind of kid who would say something like this to another person. I’m glad you gained enough confidence to own the clothes you want to wear!

  27. I am a strong and toned young woman, but lately I feel terribly embarrassed by my body. I have a size 7 or 8 booty and A-cup breasts, and I feel disproportionate and awkward. This post (and this blog) are really inspiring to me. No matter what you look like or how others perceive you, everyone has issues with their body. It’s just a matter of accepting that we are who we are and we’re not all meant to look like airbrushed magazine covers. I just haven’t really accepted that yet.

    • Look around at real life women instead of the magazine models. I bet you look more like them and if you ask me, real IS beautiful!

  28. Thank you so much for this perspective! I have struggled with the same thig for years. I never thought I ‘should’ wear shorts. But I love having a few pairs now, and I wear them proudly!

    Also, the whole two piece swimsuit? You should go for it!!! I used to think there were only skimpy bikinis or the more matronly two piece suits, but this year I got a retro inspired high waisted suit and have never gotten more compliments! It’s all about the hunt for the right one.

    Thanks for the post!

  29. Yes!

  30. For the longest time I hated to wear tank tops because of my “flabby” arms. Well recently, I embraced it and make fun of my own self. I like to make people laugh by doing the bingo wings :]

  31. You look AMAZING in your photos – SO happy and confident! I had a similar middle school weight-related traumatizing experience. One of the guys in my class – who I’d like to note is not a stellar life example anymore – told me I had a “wide load.” I still remember how much it hurt and how embarrassed I was of my body after he said that to me. Yes I have a booty but guess what buddy, curves are in! And I’m a woman, we have curves and we have cellulite so I am standing with you on this – if you don’t like looking at my booty in shorts or a skirt or a bikini then you should kindly turn your head the other way :)

  32. This post is truly wonderful. It nearly brought me to tears. I too have always been the bigger girl, from grade school on. These last two years, I’ve been losing weight, eating healthier, living a better life. And yet, even now, I get that tinge of body hatred running through my mind sometimes. When I see skinny girls on the beach, and look down at my own tummy – it’s not happiness that results. I see my legs in the mirror and maybe sometimes think they’re too thick for what they should be; my waist could be smaller; my arms could be more toned. But then, like you, I realize what my body does for me every single day, and how I love that. And it makes it all better, because it’s so insanely important to be happy in the skin you’re in and not worry about others’ issues with that. Thanks for this :) And happy shorts-wearing!!

  33. BEST. POST. EVER!

    I’m totally with you on the cellulite being around for a long long time. It’s just who I am. Way to stand up and be proud. I’m modest by religion which keeps me covered but I still don’t think I’d be brave enough to wear shorts that were above my knee if I didn’t have my religious choices. I sure like you for being brave and honest and true. You are the best! Really. I mean it.

  34. I’m a skinny girl with ALOT of cellulite. Had it since 20 and I’ve always been very thin. Mine is actually pretty severe but… There is nothing I can do to change it and I’m not gonna spend my time hating myself. Yes I hate cellulite but its one thing I can’t change. My daughter and I are just over 100 lbs both of us have it. Skinny girls get cellulite too! Loved your post and honesty you are super cute!

  35. Thanks for your inspiring post. I have always worn shorts but I have been self conscious about them. Usually I wear long shorts that come almost to my knees. Now maybe I can adopt your attitude and really start to wear the things I like. Maybe I’ll even be confident enough to wear a two piece after I complete the super summer challenge!

    P.S. Color guard rocks!

  36. Yeah, girl! You wear your body well. Break out the bikini!

  37. I love your body confidence! I have come leaps and bounds with my clothing choices. After losing 177lbs, I have loose skin and while I’m not always in love with it, I have learned to embrace it. This summer I bought my first pair of shorter shorts and my first bikini since I was probably 3 as well. I get looks when I wear either, but like you, I say it’s their issue, not mine. I worked hard for my new body and I’m flaunting it. ;)

  38. Yes! I love this post! I have always been insecure of my shape, but I’ve always wanted to try skinny jeans. This post may have just given me the courage I needed!!

  39. LOVE this post! I’m tall, but I carry my weight in the lower half of my body. All my friends comment on how it must be so easy to wear clothes, but I refuse to wear shorter shorts and skirts because I hate how my thighs look in them. If my shorts or skirts don’t come down to at least an inch above my knees, I don’t wear them. Only my pjs at home in the summer are shorter (because I don’t leave my house!). I even wear capris when I workout in the summertime. We all have insecurities, even if you think someone looks better then you. Thank you for pointing out what we all worry about…and how it is possible to get over it!

  40. A very inspiring post, thank you. I really need to work on feeling positive about my body and all that it does for me, all these years of negative vibes can’t be good for us! Xx

  41. Wow, this is a really inspiring blog post! It reminds me of my own childhood and the relation to my body in the last 25 years. I always thought nobody wants to see my legs with the cellulite. And nobody wants to see my belly with all those stretch marks. But thanks to my husband I started last week to wear a bikini – the first time after many, many years. Everything is going to be alright!

    I wish you all the best – give it a try!

  42. I would love to look better in jeans. or pants for that matter. Or those funky tight wrap dresses. But mama has no butt. at all. in any way shape or form. even in my dreams.

  43. This post inspired me to buy my first pair of non-pajama/workout shorts in probably 10 years. And then I wore them in public. thank you :)

  44. I was reading thinking I was going to chide you, but I came away with great respect. I actually wish many of my clients trying to get rid of cellulite had your perspective. There are solutions but they do take time and include some lifetime lifestyle changes. It’s gotta be worth it or it isn’t type deal.

    Great post!

    Cheryl

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