Summer’s here and I’m taking on the body shamers!

by Collette McColgan

Warmer weather means more body on show, and with that can come funny looks. But, how liberating it feels not to care

Girl in summer clothes
Summer is here, and along with it comes lovely warm weather and potential for holidays.

I’ve spoken about my love of summer before, and also my own way of ‘dressing up the deformities’ arthritis gave me. What I haven’t mentioned before is that summer is the hardest season for me to reconcile what I want to wear with not drawing too much attention to my weird bits.

I like to wear dresses, and they usually cut off above the knee, revealing my nice knocky knees to the world. Just the other day I caught a girl giving my bendy-out legs the side-eye when I walked to work. Wholly unnecessary, I think.

If I wear too short a dress without tights, it might get caught in the arch of my back and reveal my already more-than-noticeable bottom to the world. Nobody wants that, except the very niche categories of people who are a) fans of all forms of public embarrassment; or b) admirers of my bottom. It should go without saying that the former category is the more populous.

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Then there’s the problem with the dreaded bikini. I don’t have a bikini body. I have a normal person’s body, plus arthritic features. I have to reveal my s-shaped spine; I have to show off my wonky hips and sticky out bum; I have to get out my mad elbows and ribs that point in opposite directions, because of my ‘stance’.

I could always wear something different to cover myself up a bit more, but the truth is I look equally horrific in any type of swimwear. Clingy fabrics in revealing cuts do not lend themselves to my arthritic body.

In fact, this is what I have come to accept about summer in general. I might look bad in summer fashion, but I’m not going to stop wearing nice summer dresses and shorts and little floaty skirts. And not just because I would look mental turning up to work in a high neck jumper and winter coat to hide my body.

Mostly because – and I’ve only really come to this realisation since that girl gave me the side-eye – I think sometimes there are bigger things to worry about than what people think of you. To be honest, I’ve enough going on worrying about myself to be worrying about others being judgy.

Think she was just jealous anyway because her summer dress wasn’t as nice as mine. Yeah, I’m sure that’s it.

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