Believe it or not, I’ve never written a Chronicle opinion piece, despite being the Opinion Editor for our illustrious middle school magazine, The Spectrum, and the writer of the nationally-acclaimed “Leaning Left” column. I don’t know exactly what’s changed (except for switching out the sweat shorts for chinos), but here goes nothing.
Funnily enough, it was those sweat shorts that had a bigger impact on my high school experience than any other piece of clothing I’ve worn. I had multiple pairs of those $20 Mini Boden shorts, in more colors than I’d like to admit. While my personal favorite was the blue and white pair with a bright waistband, the green and blue pair featured heavily in my repertoire.
For all of middle school, I tried desperately to appear as generic as could be in order to blend in. The sweats were the exception in their bright colors that practically screamed for attention. And guess what: I didn’t die. The sky didn’t fall. And even more shocking to me: people liked the shorts! What a thought!
In middle school, I was envious of the people who surrounded themselves with friends and attention because the side effect of my fear of attention was a lack of meaningful relationships.
The shorts brought me the attention I always wanted.It was in Spectrum that my favorite EICs Noa and Danielle first noticed them. We’ve been friends ever since. News of the shorts quickly spread. They became my defining feature.
With friends came a change in my personality. As most people who even vaguely know who I am now, I was intensely anti-social for the longest time. But the shorts provided an outlet into the world of friends, beyond staying at home and watching Downton Abbey.
And for that, I’m eternally grateful for those silly little nine-inch-long stripes. Grateful because thanks to them, I’ve had the best three years of my life. Grateful for the late-night frozen yogurt runs and mukbangs with Noa and Alena and Emory. Grateful for the fact that I joined Chronicle because of the friends the shorts gave me.
And Chronicle gave me Maddy, the best editorial writer I know; and Josie, the person with whom I’m thrilled to spend the next four years with; and Eli, the distant family friend whom I knew from afar and never wanted to spend time with until the journalism trip to Dallas proved that I was wrong.
So while I know this column may seem like a long-winded paean to a fairly ordinary pair of shorts, they helped ground me, gave me a community of friends (and a boyfriend!) I wouldn’t trade for the world. So thank you, Boden, for holding a Black Friday sale and encouraging my little ninth grade self to take a risk.