Do you ever stumble across something relatively ordinary that, for whatever reason, has a serious impact on you? It’s hard not to feel silly attributing meaning to random articles on the internet, but I suppose meaning is the overall intent of their creators.
A recent photo series featured on HuffPost Women had this effect on me. It was called 25 Women Bare Their Gloriously Unretouched Thighs — And Describe Them with One Word (I know, concise) and I would encourage everyone to check it out. Our thighs–has there ever been a body part so villainous and yet so glamorized? (The answer is probably yes, and here’s looking at you, Belly, but still…) As is noted in the original post,
“One word many women associate with their thighs is “complicated.” It can be hard to be 100 percent into your thighs when the only ones we seem to see are attached to airbrushed models in magazines and advertisements. Quite often, those “perfect” thighs don’t even exist without the help of crafty retouchers. (Spoiler alert: 90 percent of women have cellulite.) But knowing that intellectually doesn’t always assuage the visceral shame women can feel when they feel like they don’t measure up to an ideal.”
This resonated with me so much. After years of painful shame surrounding the mere existence of my thighs (and the noticeable non-existence of my coveted thigh gap), I had pursued (or evaluated) several options to rid myself of the saddlebags and otherwise disgusting areas of my lower limbs, including extreme dieting/exercise, diet pills, and even liposuction (never convinced myself to spend the money on lipo, though). I took up running to get “runners legs.” I used to worship images like this one, covering books and binders with quotes like “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” or “think before you eat,” all in a valiant effort to rid myself of my ever-offending thighs, as if somehow their very existence were an affront to the gods and being a larger person made me a lesser person.
So reading this post and looking at all the beautiful images of other women’s legs (and the commentary on their individual journeys to compassion for their gams, all so very much like mine and all so vastly different) got me thinking about my own thighs and trying to come up with the word I would use to describe them. The truth is that there’s really only one good choice: Thunderous.
To say the relationship I have with my thighs is complicated would be an absolute understatement, which I think is why these images were so powerful to me. Only in recent years have I reached a point of acceptance about my “thunder thighs” that doesn’t involve making excuses for them or apologizing for their stretch marks, cellulite, or fat. Only recently have I realized that maybe even “acceptance” isn’t the right way to look at it–they are not something that should be “accepted” as if they are somehow lesser and just exist to be tolerated in all their roundness.
No, my thighs are perfect. They are loud (hear me roar!), they are strong, and they are enduring. They have run half marathons, scaled mountainsides, climbed stairs, biked miles upon miles, kicked through open water. They are eternally supportive, providing me a base on which to stand. They have stretched and they have shrunk and the resulting stretch marks exist to remind me of that journey. They are bumped and bruised from trees and rocks on the mountain path, from being crawled over by my beautiful dogs, from falling off my bike or getting out of the pool. They are sensual, providing curve to my shape and allowing me to fill out my dresses. They represent my life and the continual balance of strength and endurance with a side of Hideaway Pizza and the occasional beer.
They are powerful and they are thunderous.
So ladies, this post is for all the thighs out there that are veiny, dimpled, strong, flabby, soft, long, short, slim or round. May you learn to love them as much as I do, for they are just one beautiful part of an ultimately perfect whole person.
And let’s hear it! For those of you who are interested, I’d love to know why you love your thighs. What’s your one word? I encourage you to really think of all the wonderful things they provide you, and maybe even post a photo of your own beautiful legs.