Cut-offs: (n) blue jeans cut off and turned into shorts.
There is certainly the possibility that if you’re willing to speak your fears out loud, you can save a lot of money on therapy.
So I will tell you bluntly that for the first twenty-one years of my life, I was frightened to death to go without a shirt or even think about wearing shorts.
When I was a teenager, I went to the swimming pool and waited until it was either empty or everyone had gone over to the snack bar before I would feverishly remove my shirt and jump in the water, hoping nobody noticed the recently submerged whale.
It was worse with my legs. They were bare.
For some reason, my genetics gave me absolutely no hair.
When I was sixteen, I took a magnifying glass, examined them, and found that there were follicles, but for some reason the little hairs became discouraged upon reaching the top of my skin—too frightened to make a public appearance.
So I was fat.
Very white because I got no sun.
And had no hair on my legs.
Not a great teenage turn-on.
So it was the summer of my twenty-first year that I found myself traveling, landing with my music group in Miami, Florida—still scared shitless to go shirtless, and completely unwilling to drop my pants.
Then, one beautiful hot day when the ladies in the group were anxious to go to the beach—tired of magnanimously staying behind with me—I grabbed an old pair of jeans, took scissors and snipped them off the best I could. I slid them on and walked outside with my two comrades.
At first, I held onto their arms, hiding and hoping nobody noticed me.
Apparently, I got my wish. Nobody noticed me.
It was Miami. There were oddly shaped people of every color, everywhere.
For the rest of that two-week trip, I did nothing but walk around shirtless, wearing my ugly cut-off jeans, walking the beach.
By the time I flew back to Nashville, Tennessee, to meet up with my producer, I was gloriously toasted brown and my confidence was at an all-time high.
I have never and will never feel the relaxation to walk into a room believing that everyone will accept my obesity or my hairless legs.
But I’m happy to report that the comfort of being comfortable in cut-offs finally comforted me.