I don't normally put up more than one post in a day. But this is an important exception.
* * *I remember reading an article in Seventeen magazine in high school that said that when you're standing up straight, with your feet together, "perfect legs should touch in only three places: knees, calves, and ankles." I re-read the sentence a few times because it didn't make sense to me. "And thighs, obviously," I thought. I looked for "thighs" on the list. They weren't there. I went back a few sentences and read again. Nope, no thighs there either. I started from the beginning, thinking that what the author clearly meant was that there should be only three places in addition to the thighs that were supposed to touch. "Because everybody's thighs touch, right? That's how legs are built." Apparently not. I looked at the photo. -surprise- The model's thighs didn't touch. Oh.
Let me be clear. In high school I was just shy of 5'8" tall. I weighed 125 pounds. My waist was 25" around. The boys at my school, the ones I was too shy to talk to, who didn't know my name but who passed me in the hall between classes, would call out in a tone of approval, "Hey there, Slim." It sounded sexy when they said it. Which of course made me even more shy. I was tall, and geeky, and shy, and slim. And my thighs brushed each other lightly with every step I took. And thus began my hatred for my thighs.
25 years later, I'm an inch taller, 18 pounds heavier. My waist--though still proportionally small--has bourne two babies. And my thighs still touch. They also jiggle a little. And are dimpled with cellulite. They are the part of me I have most loathed for many many years.
But after Kelly's incredible post about why we women owe it to ourselves and to our daughters to love ourselves, our whole selves, our whole bodies, I am posting this picture here. It's not pretty. But I'm going to try to learn to love my thighs because, after all:
* they have carried me up mountains with a wondering toddler in my backpack
* their stretch marks prove they were the pedestals on which my body relied for the important work of growing children
* they are strong enough to jog for miles
* they are just like my mother's thighs, and my sisters' thighs, and our grandma's thighs...they are a family legacy.
And I want my family legacy to be pride and strength. I want my daughter to stand tall and stride with confidence. I want my son to think women are beautiful because of what they have inside. I want my children to think "Huh?" and be as completely uncomprehending as I was when reading the glossy magazine definition of "perfect" legs. Because before that day, poring over Seventeen magazine, I literally had no idea whatsoever about whether my body was good, bad, perfect, or flawed. It was just my body. I have spent the last 25 years worrying about whether my legs were good enough, about whether my body was good enough. Today I declare, it just is what it is. I am proud of what this body has accomplished. And "perfect" doesn't come in just one shape or size. "Perfect" is what we make it.
* * *Many thanks to Kelly, and all the other brave women who met her I Heart My Body challenge for reminding me of this.