For most of my jobs, wearing a skirt just wasn’t a realistic option. You don’t wear a skirt and babysit an infant. You don’t work in a flower shop - unloading bunches of roses flown in from Ecuador, designing corsages and boutonnieres for a wedding, sweeping and mopping the floor at the end of the day while wearing a skirt. And, you don’t wear a skirt to shelf books in a public library.
When I became a teacher, wearing a skirt wasn’t easy either. Teaching kindergarten required me to spend a great deal of time each day sitting on the carpet. When I began teaching fourth grade, I decided to wear a skirt once a week. Jeans one day, skirt one day, slacks the other 3 days. That was my un-official uniform.
The year I was pregnant, I deviated from my uniform policy. And this past year, the year I began having trouble with my legs, I stopped wearing skirts completely. Now, my skirts were never shorter than my knee, but even that length suddenly felt too short.
My legs look different than they used to. I have blue, purple, and red veins snaking down my legs, weaving in and out like the interchanges on a busy freeway. I am self-conscious. Children look. Children wonder. Children ask (“Why do your legs look like that?). And children comment (Your legs have a lot of veins). Now, to further “decorate” my legs, I have a one-and-a-half-inch scar on the upper left portion of my calf.
So, I stopped wearing skirts.
And, if I’m honest, I didn’t just stop wearing skirts because of my students. I also stopped because of my colleagues. Adults don’t always have a much better filter than children. They often say the first thing that comes to their mind. And sometimes, those first thoughts are hurtful and unkind.
But I miss wearing my skirts. I find that when I wear skirts, I carry myself differently. Stand a little straighter. Sit a little higher. Feel a little prettier and more feminine.
There’s a part of me that thinks, “The heck with it;” I’m going to wear what I want to wear, and maybe just invest in some dark panty hose. I’m going to celebrate the fact that regardless of the pain my legs are causing me, they are still functioning.
And then there’s the other part of me that sighs - loudly, and thinks, it’s just not worth it. Put on a pair of pants and don’t worry about it.