Rebellious Summer 2: Arms Out, Legs Out

I eased into the rebellious summer last week with boldly printed pants. That was easy. That was safe. So this week I challenged myself. Pairing a tank with an above-the-knee length skirt was, quite frankly, petrifying.

My arms have long been a source of embarrassment for me. I’ve had bingo wings since I was young enough to get carded trying to get into the bingo hall. And my legs! O, my legs. When I was 19 and pregnant, and working on my feet 60 hours a week, I developed a ferocious networking of varicose and spider veins up and down my legs. My legs were mottled blue and misshapen. It looked as if I’d been beaten. On more than one occasion during that pregnancy some well-meaning stranger would approach me and implore, “Leave him, honey. Do it now, before the baby is born! No man who does something like that to you really loves you.”

Seventeen years (8 of those as a chef on my feet for an obscene number of hours each day), another pregnancy, and one vein surgery later, the situation has only worsened. Although the hue of my legs has toned down since then, the veins have only become more pronounced. Needless to say, this has left me more than a little reluctant to expose these bad boys.

When I lived in Hawaii, I wore jeans or an ankle length skirt every day and shirts with sleeves, no matter the temperature or humidity. I attempted to follow the same pattern in Phoenix. Somewhere in the middle of my second summer, one sweltering hot day, I got fed up. Running from client to client, climbing back into my black Honda Civic with un-tinted windows after each tutoring client was excruciating. By the time the car finally cooled enough to be bearable, I was at the next library to see the next client. Rather than taking a lunch that day, I drove straight from Southeast Regional library to Walmart and bought, <gasp!> a pair of shorts. My first pair of shorts in…….ever? Certainly my first since childhood.

That was a liberating day. Since then, I have been brave enough to go arms out or legs out when the weather gets hot enough, if only as a matter of survival. However, it’s usually one or the other, and I like my skirts to fall below the knee. That makes this simple little work outfit something of a victory!

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