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    I'm Really Insecure About My Legs, So I Spent A Week In Rompers And Miniskirts

    A little exposure therapy to jump-start my body-positive journey.

    by ,

    Hi, my name is Morgan, and I have a pretty bad self-image. I've gained and lost (and gained again) roughly 100 lb over the last six years, and, y'know, all of those unsolicited comments can take their toll on the self-esteem.

    The thing is, no matter where I've been on the scale, I've always had a deep, deep hatred for my legs. I think it started sometime in junior high? At some point, I just decided they were ugly and didn't want to show them anymore.

    The really tough part of my loathsome body image? I have a young daughter, Delilah, and I know she's watching me. Not only has she told me she has the biggest belly in her gymnastics class, she's asked whether she'll be "fit" like daddy, or, "y' you?" Which, besides OUCH, was a major wake-up call for the messages I'm sending.

    So I challenged myself to a week of leg exposure. In front of people. Like, in real life. And then I went ahead and pitched it to my editors, so I actually had to do it. If for nothing else, to improve the self-image I'm modeling for my little girl.

    Jenny Chang

    Leading up to the week? I exfoliated and moisturized the fuck out of my legs and shaved for the first time in probably, like, three years. I was that worked up about this.

    Let me be crystal clear here: I do not show my legs EVER, under any circumstances, and haven't for years. This meant that none of my colleagues had ever seen my legs, whether they realized it or not (most likely not.)

    The challenge: I had to wear a different leg-bearing outfit every day for a solid week. I could choose the items, but they had to hit at least five inches above my knee. There was no way in hell I was purchasing five knee-bearing outfits, so I joined Rent the Runway Unlimited for a month. Actually, it turned out to be the perfect solution to finding five outfits I could force myself to leave the house in.

    I gave each outfit a grade based on fit, level of self-consciousness, and practical wearability (i.e., were my butt cheeks hanging out?).

    Ready? I'm not. But let's do it anyway.

    Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

    The day I escaped to a luncheon with a colleague, which meant not having to see everyone else at work.

    Grade? I'm shocked, but I'm actually gonna give it an A. It was just...flattering. Feeling like the romper looked good on the rest of me helped me not worry as much about my legs. And the skirt/shorts combo was a win.

    Macey J. Foronda
    Jenny Chang

    The first day I had to go to the office. People I know would see me. Sitting down.

    Morgan Shanahan

    What I'm wearing: Rivet Romper from Free People: size L ($40 rental, $148 retail).

    Why I chose this outfit: For my first day in the office, I chose this denim situation because it felt the closest to my own personal style. The hope was that it would draw less attention and help keep my self-consciousness at bay.

    How I felt in it: EXTREMELY uncomfortable. This was basically a leotard, once you took the inevitable riding-up into account. The upside was I realized that literally no one cared that I was wearing the least practical garment of all time. Even Delilah noticed that there were essentially no bottoms on this thing.

    Did anybody actually notice? Yes! But it wasn't anyone at work. I saw a close friend for dinner and she immediately recognized that I was wearing shorts — in her words, "You're wearing shorts! You don't do that!" — but first she complimented the outfit, so it was technically the second thing she noticed.

    Grade? Idk, like, a C? Aside from the fact that I was wildly self-conscious because it was basically underwear, I thought it was really cute. Unfortunately, would not recommend.

    Macey J. Foronda
    Jenny Chang

    The day I chose physical comfort over emotional comfort.

    Grade? B. I felt great in it, but cringed at any photos I saw.

    Macey J. Foronda one very unfortunately framed video.

    Jenny Chang

    The day I wore the outfit I'd most hotly anticipated.

    Grade? F. Stupid, stupid buttons.

    Macey J. Foronda
    Jenny Chang

    The day I said: "Bye forever, rompers."

    Grade? B+. No accidents.

    Macey J. Foronda

    But most importantly, modeling body-positivity for my daughter, and working toward making sure she has a role-model who loves herself, was the best takeaway of all.

    Macey J. Foronda

    So what did I learn? Well, mostly that no one worries about how I look as much as I do. A lot of people noticed my outfits, but nobody was like, "Oof, and too bad about those legs."

    Morgan Shanahan

    My legs are part of my body, and they work. They carry me where I need to go, and they're strong. And maybe, most surprisingly, I realized that I love fashion, and my insistence on covering my legs has cut my style options in half. I felt great during the course of this week because taking a risk reminded me how nice it feels to be able to express yourself through your clothes. And I'd rather wear things that express who I am instead of constantly highlighting the fact that I'm self-conscious about my body. (Look! I even wore a leg-bearing outfit to a friend's wedding VOLUNTARILY after this challenge!)

    And so I had to return all my fancy clothes.

    Macey J Foronda / BuzzFeed

    Except the one I peed in. Returning it didn't seem cool.