Dear girl in the pew in front of me,
I don’t know you, but I can tell a couple of things about you just from looking at your back for 20 minutes last Sunday: you are beautiful; you are athletic and work hard for those awesome legs; and you can wear a pair of daisy dukes WAY better than I can. Girlfriend, you’ve got it.
Ah, California. The land of sunshine and beaches, which sometimes means itty bitty clothes. I mean, I know the shorts are getting shorter these days and I’m a 31-year old fogey (I have been known to shout “Get off my lawn!” and go to bed before 9pm), but I have to wonder if you know how short those shorts really are. If you don’t, my guess is you’re thinking “that’s just the style these days, grandma”. If you do, there is probably a reason why you choose to wear them. You can’t wear something like that that leaves your bum in the wind and not expect people to notice, but, hey, I’m not here to shake my fist or call you names. I’m just here to encourage you.
Encourage you? Yah, betcha didn’t see that coming, huh? You deserve more. You are a beautiful young woman who deserves more than what those shorts give you: the cheap, fleeting attention of men, the superficial confidence, the less-kind chicks who will make assumptions and then gossip to their friends about you, even if they’re wearing the exact same pair of shorts. It sucks, but it’s true: the mean girls will always hold a double standard. Whether you like it or not, whether you know it or not, that’s what those shorts do. They give the world a false impression of you and invite quick judgments. You deserve more than that.
I’m not going to pretend to know what’s going on in your life. Maybe you think they’re really just a cute pair of shorts. Maybe no one has told you another inch or two of fabric wouldn’t hurt. Or maybe it’s worse – maybe you have been hurt in such a way that your only sense of self-worth comes from how much attention you can get from men. I know lots of ladies who have been in that dark place. Maybe you thought if you wore something outrageous enough, your family wouldn’t make you go to church. Sadly, if this is the case, it probably won’t work – it’ll likely just make their resolve stronger. I don’t know. Whatever the reason you opted for those navy blue daisy dukes is none of my business. You don’t have to justify anything to me. Moreover, your reason doesn’t lessen the fact that you deserve more than what you’ve been getting.
If you have been told “if you’ve got it, flaunt it”, you deserve better advice. If you have been hurt, you deserve to be surrounded with people who will help you heal, not excuse it as a phase. If you’ve been ignored, bullied, or shamed, you deserve more. “More?” you ask, “Like what?” You deserve to be protected, honored, respected, cherished, and loved for who you are, not what you look like. You deserve to be more than a terrific pair of legs because, darlin, you are so much more than that. You are a fearfully and wonderfully made child of God! There is no one else with a heart or mind like yours! We should absolutely be celebrating that.
My sweet, precious girl, you are indeed lovely and I’m willing to bet you will remain so for a very long while, but I hope, for the sake of your heart, that your identity isn’t found in those compliments. You deserve to be known for your intelligence and wit, your athletic abilities or artistic talents, maybe you have a fantastic passion for healing or innate ability to teach. The contribution you make to this world will not be a fabulous body, because we deserve more than that from you and we know you have more to give.
I’m not saying you have to dress like a nun or be ashamed of your body – not at all! All I want you to take away from this note is I think you have the potential to do great things (and I don’t even know you!), and I want other complete strangers to see it, too. You know how quick this world is to make judgments and spread rumors – you don’t deserve to be bogged down in that mess. Those shorts, though, are a VIP invitation to that mess, which is too bad because, if anyone can pull them off, it’s you.
With sincerity and love,
The random chick who wished someone would have told her these things when she was your age (which was, like, a million years ago)