I’m a 17 yr. old female who would like to share my story in hopes that it will help someone else who shares this strange form of shyness. I don’t think I’m alone on this, I just don’t think it is that common and have never seen anything written on it. I think though that there are other people out there who share this problem and just ignore it and live with it. I was very shy about people seeing my legs or feet. I can’t explain the feeling, it was like I thought everyone was looking at me and I felt naked. I would not go barefoot not even to answer the door if someone knocked. I would not wear shorts, skirts or even a swimsuit.
Well that all changed last summer. Unknowing to me my mom heard my friends talking while I was getting ready to go out. They wondered what was wrong with my legs that they never saw them. My mom heard them talk about how I was the only one in gym class last year that wore sweat pants. They went on to say how I skipped class when we were required to wear a leotard or or swimsuit. I guess that explained why I received a D in the class. A couple days later my mom came into my room. She asked me why I got that D in gym last year. I told her I just wasn’t that good at it. She asked me if I took part everyday? I lied and said yes. She then told me what she heard my friends say. I was so nervous I didn’t know what to say. I was caught in the lie and she new it.
She then made me remove my jeans and stand in front of the mirror. She told me to tell her what was wrong with my legs, and that she would forget it. I told her nothing was wrong with them it was just how I felt about people staring at my legs and feeling naked. She told me this summer I would get over this and I had no choice. She made me take out all my jeans and put them on the bed. She took the first pair and cut them off very short just below the back pockets and made me put them on. She had me cut off two more pair the same length. She told me I could keep one other pair to wear the first week. She took the rest away from me.
I had to wear the shorts around the house for 1 week to get used to the feel of wearing them. I was so embarrassed even around my own family. The following week the hardest part of getting over this began. She told me we were going shopping so I changed into my jeans and off we went. Not knowing it was to buy my clothes for the summer. She made me pick out shorts and skirts and even a swimsuit. She had me try all of them on and come out of the dressing room so she could see them. I just couldn’t come out though with the swimsuit on. I thought the shopping was over when she stopped at a shoe store. She picked out a pair of sandals that only had a few straps. She made me take off my shoes and socks and try them on and walk around. I felt like everyone was looking at my feet and laughing. As soon as we were in the car she made me put them on.
When we got home she told me the plan. I had to go barefoot at all times at home. During the day I had to wear the sandals anytime I went out. I had to wear shorts out in public for at least 2 hours a day. The following week it would be 4 hours, and so on increasing each week. The first 3 or 4 weeks were very tough, I took a lot of teasing from my friends but that soon faded. I soon realized how comfortable I was in the heat and that no one was looking at me.
About a month later I wore the swimsuit for the first time, it took me about 20 minutes to come out with it on. I took a deep breath and walked outside; my friends didn’t say anything; it was no big deal. By this time I was wearing only sandals at all times. I wore shorts every where I went day and night through the latter month of July and August. I would still get nervous when I first put them on but after I was out I didn’t even think about it. I want to Thank my mom for what she made me do. I feel a lot better about myself and I fit in with my friends now.
Today for the first time by my own choice I wore a skirt to school. As I look back I can’t believe I was that shy. I’m so glad I got over it.
And again Thanks Mom
Story contributed by Jill on November 11, 2000