I’m healed enough from heart surgery to workout. I’ve been at the gym most days. However, I’ve found myself in a huge predicament: no running skirt. I’m a strong believer in wearing what’s flattering and skirts cover the parts of me that I’m not ready to show the world.
That’s how I found myself in the women’s athletic department at Sports Authority. After a few minutes of searching through racks of yoga pants and sports bras, I found my mecca: running skirts.
I started flipping through them: medium, small, small, extra small, medium, large.
Not one extra large on the entire rack. I held the tiny large against my hips and shuttered trying to imagine shoving one butt-cheek into the skirt. I laugh out loud causing people who fit into athletic clothing to stare at me.
An employee walked by and against my better judgement, I called him over.
“Do you have anything bigger than this?” I questioned holding the tiny large between my fingers as if it might bite me.
He looks at me with big brown sympathetic eyes. ” I’m sorry. That’s the largest we carry.”
I’d already been to Kohl’s, Dick, and Lady’s Footlocker that day. The frustration built up in me until I couldn’t hold it anymore
“Why doesn’t anyone ever carry bigger sizes? They shame us for being too big. Tell us we are unloveable, unsexy and unhealthy and when we make choices like working out, we are greeted with…nothing. I deserve cute workout clothes just as much as thin girls. Being plus-sized doesn’t mean I don’t work out and it certainly doesn’t mean that I don’t want to feel good about myself while working out.”
I sighed and shoved the running skirt back into the rack.
He stared at me, mouth agape and finally he said, ” We could order you something online.”
“I can order on my own. I want to be able to walk into a store, try something on, and take it home. Why is that such a difficult concept?”
I paused, look at bewildered face and suddenly felt bad. “I’m sorry for the rant. It’s certainly not your fault.”
He leaned closer to me, ” It’s okay, my girlfriend has the same problem.” Suddenly, I loved him. Bless him. A plus-sized girlfriend.
I finally found running skirts on a back rack at Target. Sizes XL and XXL. BAM. And they fit.
But, what if I was bigger. Shouldn’t they come in true plus-size?
It doesn’t matter what size you are- we all want to get healthier and healthier isn’t about size. While what you wear seems frivolous, it isn’t. Looking good on the outside is empowering. Feeling good about oneself on the outside leads to confidence inside just as much as feeling confident can bolster your feelings about how you look.
Size isn’t a limitation of empowerment.
Not acknowledging that we all deserve to feel good about ourselves and that all of us are worthy isn’t just a loss of respect; it’s also a loss of the bottom line.
While most American women are plus-size, most stores only cater to sizes 0-12. Yes, there are plus-size stores out there, but there isn’t the same variety. I should be able to walk into any store and buy a running skirt, a pair of tights, or a T-shirt I don’t have to stretch to make it fit.
Maybe it isn’t intentional shaming, but it feels like being shamed.
Beauty is beauty no matter what size you are. And, feeling beautiful is power.