Here is a thing about me: I thigh-watch.
Everywhere I go I stare at thighs in leggings and thighs in jeans and thighs extending column-like from miniskirts and sundresses. I watch thighs with birthmarks and thighs with stretchmarks and the glimpses of thighs through fashionably ripped denim. I watch them fold elegantly over one another and I watch them pressed together daintily. I look at thighs that meet and thighs that don’t and thighs that barely change in thickness from ankle to hip.
I’m weird (and slightly creepy), I get it. But thighs? They are my measuring post.
Once upon a time, I had a glorious relationship with my legs. I played netball, hockey and competed in athletics competitions and as such, my legs rewarded me by being chiselled and lengthy and blemish-free. I wore skirts with gleeful abandon, venturing out into the sub-zero Northern winters with my pins on show and a smile on my face. My legs and me? We were homies.
Then one day I sauntered unassuming, into one of my favourite clothes stores and realised that I could no longer tug a pair of their trousers up past my knees. They got to my thighs and simply…stopped. Incredulous, I tossed them aside and reached for another pair and when the same thing happened, I stood in front of the fitting room mirror and stared at my legs and started to hate them.
So I started to look at thighs. Unconsciously at first. My eyes would linger too long on a pair of legs that looked like mine used to and I would feel a twinge of jealousy and another twinge of self-loathing. I’d make some sort of silent promise to myself to do enough lunges to right the situation and when I would fail, I would hate myself and my legs a little more. Then I would see another pair of thighs that were “better” than mine; shapelier or tapering just the right amount and I’d watch those for a while and hate my legs even more. Rinse and motherfucking repeat.
The internet is chock full right now of body acceptance and HAES articles. Real stories from real women that are inspiring and uplifting and measured and while I love them, they also make me feel a little guilty. Because right now, I don’t accept my body. At this moment in time, I’m not happy with the way I look and more importantly, the way I feel in terms of health and I am in the process of doing something about it.
I am aware that there is more than one way to be beautiful. There are hundreds of ways to be desirable and sexy and I don’t buy the BS pushed by magazines and fashion houses that only skinny is beautiful. I am aware beauty comes in all shapes and sizes and races and ages and in the future, I will be one of those women who can and does feel stunning at any size. I will never be skinny and actually, I’m absolutely fine with that.
Does this mean that I will stop trying to eat a little better, sleep a little longer and exercise a little more? Not at all. Does it mean that there won’t still be mornings (like this morning) when I wake up, put on a skirt and twenty seconds, rip it off in favour of jeans? Probably not. What it does mean is that my thigh watching has to stop. I need to stop equating my reality with someone else’s version of normal. There needs to be some kind of happy union between getting healthy and accepting myself.
For me, it starts with stopping comparing myself with others.
I want to thank each and every one of you who commented and/or reached out to me after the last post. I am feeling better and although I know these emotions come in waves, right now, I’m surfing and not sinking. Ask me again tomorrow. I am grateful for all of you.
Leave a comment
Stereo. 20-something aspiring bon vivant. London based. Exceptionally Nigerian. Partial to snark. My default setting is "wry". Jeans and blazers are my uniform. Landlady. Speed reader, tuneless singer, hoarder of words, drinker of Schloer; I am suspicious of most people, have zero tolerance for tomfoolery, have a vast DVD collection, worship at the altar of Al Green, own too many bottles of nail polish, have small eyes, small ears and giant hair and owe approximately 86% of my awesome to the Parents Typewriter.
Want to know more?
- +2013 (24)
- +2012 (52)
- +2011 (98)
- +2010 (62)