I hate my legs.
Not like oh, I wish my legs were 3% thinner. I am truly embarrassed to claim my legs as part of my body.
I used to wear jeans year-round. Even in the heat of summer. I eventually got bold and moved up to capris. Look out!
Last summer my friend Michele pumped up my confidence enough and convinced me to wear shorts. I went to Walmart and bought about four pairs of shorts in different colors. I wore them daily, even though it felt as wrong as if I was walking around shirtless.
You see, my legs aren't exactly like the other legs I know. My legs have pockets of fat that don't even exist on other legs. I'm fairly certain my legs have different genetic code than all the other legs walking around on this earth. Even when I was at my verrrrrry thinnest, my legs were still made up of lumpy, bumpy, squishy matter.
I have tried diet and exercise. I have toned and squeezed. I've tried self-tanner to cover these jiggle sticks, but nothing seems to change what I'm working with.
Perhaps it would be prudent for me to share the fact that my older sister has great legs. Not just great. Killer legs. She and my brother could have a calf-off and they literally have. They are toned and muscular and shapely. My sister tans very well and my brother is hairy, so I'm the only one walking around with ghost legs. These people were drawn out of the same gene pool as I was, and yet my legs just don't match theirs.
I realized the other day, while trying to decide if I'd rather roast in pants or expose my deformed limbs in shorts, that I just haven't seen other legs like mine. Celebrities don't have these bad boys. The other moms at my kids' schools aren't shaped like me. Even my plus size friends have super toned legs.
So I guess it boils down to feeling like the oddball. I'm different than everyone else in a way that I already don't like. I mean, why couldn't I be different in a way that's super awesome?
I've accepted that I'll never wear a two-piece swimsuit ever again. I've accepted that I have more wrinkles than all my older friends and that I have to fill in my eyebrows with a pencil. But I just can't seem to accept these darn things that have the audacity to call themselves legs.
I've worried about how my views of my legs will affect my daughter, but I've seen her legs and they're fantastic. Thank heavens. I'll have to teach her to love her long and lean perfect body in a "do as I say, not as I do" sort of way.
We will soon be going on a family vacation. To Florida. Where people wear shorts all the time. We will be vacationing with my stick-thin sister-in-law, my cousin who has been a life long dancer (read: fantastic body), and my aforementioned sister. There will be swimsuits involved. I couldn't seem to find a swimsuit with pants, so I had to settle for a skirt. It's not even a maxi skirt.
I so badly want to enjoy this vacation with my family, and I will. I just know it. I don't want to be distracted by body image issues. This will be a mental battle for sure. But it's one I intend to win. My kids are worth it, and they deserve a mom who is having fun with them and not one who is wearing a robe on the daily.
It would be so cool if this next paragraph contained my mind-blowing wisdom about how to love your body for all it can do and because it is fearfully and wonderfully made. Actually I do thank God quite often for what my body can do. I can walk without any pain. I could run if my children's lives were in peril. I'm tall enough to reach all sorts of things. I can drive myself and park wherever there's a spot, and these cottage cheese gams make it all possible. I'm thankful for what I can do, but I'm still not a fan of how I look doing it.
Maybe you have something about your body that genuinely bothers you. Not just the little insecurities of wondering if your hair looks frizzy or if your shirt shows that weird back fat indent that women get from their bras. I mean maybe you base your whole wardrobe around part of you that you deem strictly unacceptable. We can get through this together.
Maybe our deformities keep us humble. Maybe they keep us grounded and help us look past physical appearance. Or maybe I'm just still learning how to grow out of body issues. Maybe I'll be brave enough to wear shorts, and another woman will see that I'm letting my imperfections show and so can she.
That's what I'll be telling myself in Florida.