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Friday, February 1, 2008

My Thighs. Really.

I don't normally put up more than one post in a day. But this is an important exception.

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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.
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Many thanks to Kelly, and all the other brave women who met her I Heart My Body challenge for reminding me of this.

22 comments:

lattemommy said...

Hot legs, baby! And kudos for participating in Kelly's challenge. I'm loving it.

Tara R. said...

Way to go... great post and great reasons to love those thighs! You are giving your daughter a wonderful legacy.

Jenty said...

What wonderful reasons to accept your thighs :) I love this challenge.

Amy said...

Yay! Someone else showing their thighs on I Heart My Body day!

I am so glad that I didn't see that seventeen magazine article when I was in High School. That would of devastated me! I was 5'6" and 155 lbs back then. My legs touched in several different places.

Your legs are sexy and strong!

OHmommy said...

I must have read the same article cause I will forever remember it. Great post and congrats on taking the challenge.

Fawn said...

Good for you! I so don't have the guts to do that on my blog. But then, I live in a really small town and I don't blog anonymously, so that's a good ecxuse, right?

foolery said...

If my ankles touched I would throw up. It's peculiar, I know, but I have this thing . . . and my thighs wouldn't fit in the lens. Who am I kidding -- they wouldn't fit on the damn MONITOR. Kudos to you, and I only DREAM of those stats. But it is what it is.

By the way, what did Seventeen say about cowpie knees?

maggies mind said...

Beautiful! I love this challenge, and I also came away from it both no longer needing to hate things about my body but also feeling a sense of legacy and connection to my family. Excellent stuff. So glad you participated. Seventeen sucks ;)

MultiplesMommy said...

Can I count your post as my post, since our thighs are indistinguishable? Which would make me impressive if it weren't that I weigh the same as you but am 6" shorter. -sigh- You go girl! Lucky me, I have many issues. I do hate my thighs, but I hate my strechmarked, wrinkly, balloon belly more. I blame the twins. I just won't tell them so. :-)

amanda said...

This post is fantastic. I remember reading a Seventeen article eerily similar to the one you speak of. Damn them for that.

Mrs. Furious said...

That is so funny since I must have read the same article in high school and I NEVER forgot it.
It really traumatized me and made me HATE myself. Although I'm shaped differently my thighs always touched at the top... not knees (slightly bowlegged I guess). This is why I'm psychotic about not having any magazines with models on the cover in my house... I will not have my girls growing up comparing themselves to *perfect* women like I did!

MommyTime said...

Foolery: it's now my dream too, fantasy really, since it's hard to expect to have a 16 year old's body twenty-odd years and 2 children later... As for the knees, blissfully they said nothing. Because I've always had baggy ones.

All of you: thanks for being supportive! I'm going to look at your posts now too...

MommyTime said...

And, isn't it horrifying that out of a dozen women FOUR of us remember that article or some version of the same?! 25% still feel traumatized more than 20 years after reading a stupid article in a magazine that doesn't even exist any more told us that our legs weren't perfect. OhMommy, Amanda, and Mrs F, I'm so glad to know this isn't a figment of my imagination -- though the way the words are seared into my brain, I don't really think it could be.

But still, I'm inclined to become "psychotic" like you, Mrs. F, and ban skinny model mags from our house too. I feel so thankful that I grew up in a family with generally healthy body issues and normal eating habits. Just imagine what kind of emotional/mental shape I would have been in had that not been the case prior to reading that article. It's enough to make me feel sick.

secret agent mama said...

Your legs are gorgeous! Absolutely wonderful post!!

MommyTime said...

Secret Agent Mama, you are the best!

Dragonstar said...

Well according to that article I'm perfect (at least, now I've lost loads of weight!) as my thighs don't actually touch when I'm standing straight.

Now if I wasn't an honest person I'd leave it there - but I can't. So I have to confess that there's a reason my thighs don't touch - I'm knock-kneed!

So how does that work out?

suchsimplepleasures said...

awesome post!! great legs!

MIQuilter said...

And I could only WISH to have your thighs... as I am the shorter, fatter version of both my sisters. Lose another 3 inches from the short one and add another 8-10 lbs. :( There isn't enough storage space to hold the pics of all the body parts that I should learn to love but don't.

MultiplesMommy said...

Come now, MIQ, it's not like you're the fat lady at the circus! You are a PETITE version of MT...and remember, good things come in small packages! :-) You are beautiful, thighs and all. I mean that.

MIQuilter said...

actually, I'm not a petite version of MT since I weigh more than she does - I'm really just a shorter, chubbier version of her. Hurrah.

MultiplesMommy said...

MIQ...that sort of attitude will get you no where, young lady. Have a martini. Or two. You'll feel better. I promise.

Kelly said...

This is so amazing and beautiful. I want you to know that I linked you on the written on the body challenge on my site. I'm sorry the link did not show up before. I thought I caught all of them. I still get a ton of hits on that page so I hope other women read this post and learn to love themselves because of your empowering words. I'm also gonna link you on my blogroll b/c a fine woman like you deserves a spot with my other awesome peeps. Thanks from the bottom of my heart!

 

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