What I never learned from Mr. Timberlake when he brought Sexy back.
“Just take them,”she whispered.
“You think she will notice? “
“Not a chance, she’s dumb as rocks. Plus, they are going to look ten times better on you.”
We crouched beside one another, staring into the dark abysmal locker of the most popular girl in school. Left Open.
An Altar of Name Brand Relics for Plain Jane 9th graders to bow down and worship before. The Sacred Jeans, known for luring in a slew of boys just learning to jive with their own hormones, sat before us on a Stunning Throne of Popular Girl Laundry.
I grabbed the pants from the top of the pile and shoved them into my messenger bag.
“You are right,” I said, slamming the girl’s locker shut. “She left it open. She had to expect something would get stolen.”
Yes, that’s right. I am a thief. A crook. Do you think less of me now that I’ve shared an uber rebellious story from my reckless youth existence?
To my defense, they were teeny tiny pants so I only count them as half when I chalk them up to merchandise. I am half crook. Half thief.
Sidenote for the most popular girl in high school who may or may not read this blog: Honestly, those pants were destined to hug my hips. They could have never had the same impact if they spent all their Little Jean Life only on you. No, they never travelled and I never got a sisterhood out of them but they taught me a thing or two about my own identity. And they made for a killer denim makeup case when I grew tired of spray painting them on my body. So thanks girl, you can come over to my closet any day and borrow your little heart out.
Back to the Sacred Jeans.
For all the years where “teen” was stapled to the end of my age, those jeans were the highlight of my existence. They had magical fray. They defined “hip hugger” and “low rise” before we ever saw the jean types in marquee lettering over Abercrombie sale racks.
They gave me this word—this sultry Cosmopolitan word—and they allowed me to parade around in that adjective like a pair of oversized heels found in mommy’s closet.
I didn’t bring sexy back in those pants. I unearthed sexy for the very first time. I owned Sexy the best way a girl could own a word without having any clue what it really meant beyond guys making comments on the school bus, degrading comments that at the time you giggle over, write in your diary and thank the Good Lord for making some girls “smart” and other girls “faithful” but for giving you the adjective that oozes with goodness: Sexy.
My 9th grade existence consisted of baby hooker clothing and forgetting my 50 states one by one to make boys like me. And I was darn proud.
Yes, I get it now. God did not look down on me parading like a prostitute with a Lisa Frank binder and give me a standing ovation. More than likely, he put his head down and said out loud, “She’ll learn one day. She’ll get it the hard way.”
And I did, I certainly did. It look a long spell of meeting boys who only looked to my body instead of my soul. Never told me a secret. Never asked who I really was beyond the skin tight jeans that would make any reptile cringe and shed the skin right off for lack of oxygen.
If I knew then what I know now about Sexy and the way it works when you don’t know the true meaning, I would hold off on the pants. The skin-tight shirts. The second wardrobe that existed in my own locker to change into once I got past mom at the breakfast table.
Sexy is something you learn and define as you grow inward and project outward. As you take on more of life. As you take Bigger Bites & make Bigger Plans & navigate your way around the world on your own.
Sexy is waking up and getting to work on time. Sexy is not the high heels you can manage to walk in but rather where you are going, the direction and the path you are taking. Sexy is not stealing pants or stealing hearts just to be reckless with them; it is stealing stars from the sky to hitch a good dream to, stealing advice from Good Women who have the interest of refining you like copper in the forefront of their mind.
Sexy is values in hand that you never go back on. Compassion on sleeves that you never stop sewing.
Sexy is no apologies tucked into the sockets of your gums for being alive, for breathing, for taking up space and making noise while you’ve got two feet and a chance to cause a ruckus in this lifetime.
Sexy is not only valuing the depths of the heart, but guarding your possessions: your stories, your fears, your dreams and your hopes for Tomorrow. Not spoon-feeding them to every one you meet at a bar but keeping some stories for candlelight, for the one who knows you well enough to get white wine and Oreos for tear control after a somewhat endless day.
Sexy is knowing what you want and not letting others convince you otherwise. Knowing what you stand for and not letting others use you as a welcome mat.
Sexy is not letting the pencil skirt speak for you but sometimes silencing your mouth all together and letting the actions speak. Letting the ladle at the soup kitchen speak. The hand that holds the door open. The shoulder that is a prop for the friend in need.
Sexy is staying faithful to the belief that it was never about the pants but about meeting the girl on the day she folded them up and put them away before walking outside to take on the world in her own skin.