Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Thigh Love

I LOVE MY THIGHS.

This is something that I have not always been able to say so easily.

Real talk for a second: I am not a skinny girl. Clothing size wise I'm a UK 16, meaning most high street shops stock my size and I don't have to go out of my way to do a bit of shopping. Most friends that I've casually mentioned my clothing size to have seemed surprised, apparently I "don't look like a size 16", whatever that means. What I'm trying to say is that although I'm not small, I don't tend to be picked on for my weight either. At least not by other people. Myself is a different matter!

I think it's universally acknowledged that if you are in possession of a body, you have areas of insecurity about it. (Although that wording makes it sound like I'm talking about people who have a collection of dead people or something. I mean, I guess I am still talking about you guys but please god look at your life, look at your choices.) I also feel like regardless of your size, thighs are a difficult area for most people. They have this lovely way of seeming to triple in size when you sit down and will generally wobble at any and all moments of physical exertion. And there's nothing you can do about this! You can go to the gym and work out as much as you like, your thighs are still gonna squash when you sit down and, unless you have legs of STEEL, I'm pretty sure they're gonna continue to wobble around to their hearts content. Cause that's just what thighs do.

But here's the bit that it took me a while to realise: THIS IS PERFECTLY OKAY. Seriously. Wobbly thighs = a-ok. The thigh police are not going to break into your room in the middle of the night and arrest you for not being able to get your thighs under control. That's not a thing that happens. (It's also probably not a thing that any of you ever considered would happen but y'know, now you know for definite)

It seems so ridiculous now that it took me so long to realise such a fundamental basic thing. But it did! Because you look at ads and television shows and everyone has perfect smooth legs and you look at magazines that are freaking out over someone's cellulite and you think "oh god, I must control these unruly, gigantic, wobbly thighs of mine before people notice that I am in possession of DEVIANT THIGHS that refuse to abide by society's beauty rules and then set the thigh police on me". (side note - I keep using the phrase thigh police which I feel makes it seem like I believed such a thing existed. I didn't. I just feel like this phrase highlights the absurdity of body policing in general. Imagine a little police unit dedicated solely to keeping them thighs in line and doing midnight raids on women who were known for having big legs. It's stupid. So are magazine articles that circle the legs of celebrities and speculate over whether or not they now have cellulite and how they can get rid of it as quickly as possible. I'm putting my university degree to good use and creating a METAPHOR to highlight my point. And my brother questioned the point of an English degree. WHO'S LAUGHING NOW JAMES?)

So having finally realised that my legs are 100% standard, normal legs for a girl of my body type, I started to do something which I would recommend to the world. And it sounds really stupid when I type it out. I looked at my legs. I know, controversial right? But it weirdly is. When I dislike something about myself, I don't particularly want to look at it too hard. Because when you do that, it just opens that little box inside of you where you store all of your insecurities and negativity. And once you open that box it is so incredibly easy to spiral downwards into it and be lost forever. So, because I was uncomfortable with my thighs I just didn't look at them. Step 1 of being okay with my body meant looking at those bits that I had deemed "problem areas" and just acknowledging them. I feel like it's kind of ridiculous that there were parts of my body which I just wasn't familiar with. Like, it's my body. It's me. We're in it for the long run together, I should logically be familiar with every inch of it. So that's what I started to do!

Step 2 of my journey to like myself (god that sounds overly dramatic) was taking away the negative associations I had with words I used to describe myself. So yeah, my thighs are bumpy and wobbly. They aren't smooth. They have texture and sometimes dip in in ways that I don't entirely understand, but that's fine! Thanks to my tiny obsession with moisturiser, they are actually quite smooth. However, due to my eternal struggle with eczema they are not always so (this is something I'm going to talk about in another entry sometime). One thing is for sure, they are utterly and completely unique. No one else has thighs exactly like mine. And I think that's just a little bit wonderful! And I shouldn't be ashamed to use words like "chunky" and "wobbly" to describe them, because at the end of the day those words are literally just describing what is there. They're not passing a judgement on them, that bit is all me.

The fact is, I really like wearing short skirts and dresses. I love them. They make me happy. I'm not going to let my body insecurities stop myself from experiencing the happiness of wearing a cute dress just because it doesn't fully cover my thighs. On days when I get self conscious about the fact that my thighs aren't small, I remind myself that they continually work to carry me around the world and then I stop fussing so much. How am I supposed to go exploring without substantial thighs to support me? Not very easily, that's how! I'm at a point now where I'm able to look at my thighs and appreciate them for everything they do and say completely confidently that I love them.

I even love my chub rub which, although being an occasional pain in the arse, reminds me that my legs support me and carry me on all the adventures that I love having. So yes, it's uncomfortable and unpleasant. But so are blisters and I usually get them because I've been tramping around the place wearing my DM's and exploring. But I never stop and think that maybe my feet are wrong and ugly because they end up being blistered. Occasionally I might make an executive decision to wear different shoes for a while, but at the end of the day I'll always end up picking the DM's back up and heading off for another adventure because that's just how I like to live. So yeah, I could spend my whole life in tights and trousers so as to avoid getting chub rub. But you know what? When it's summer and it's boiling outside, I'm going to go bare legged and I'm going to frolic about and I might end up with slightly sore thighs but I'll be a hell of a lot happier than if I was self consciously wearing tights in the sweltering heat. (Side note - I am aware that it is November and bloody cold right now. This was drafted much earlier in the year! For now, tights are the way forward.)

What I hope these posts are going to do is document the various aspects of my journey toward body positivity and loving myself. At the end of the day, liking my thighs is tied up in a whole bunch of other positive changes I've made, and over time I'm hoping to explore all of those things through posts like this. In a way, this blog is becoming a vehicle for me to continue this journey of self acceptance. I don't even know if anyone else will ever read these entries but maybe someone will and maybe it will help them to feel better about themselves, or just be vaguely interesting to them, and I think that's about all I can hope for! (I feel like this is beginning to sound like the diary of an apocalypse survivor? "Maybe one day my tale can help others survive the terrible zombie frog plague that has spread across the city! Learn from my mistakes!" etc. Except rather than a zombie frog plague, we're trying to learn to love ourselves in a society that encourages us to feel inferior. Too deep?)

So yeah, I love my thighs. I don't always feel great about them, but regardless of that I'm going to make sure that I never forget that I do love them really. It's okay for me to not always be okay with them, but I am determined not to stop trying to be. 


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