My thighs and I have a troubled relationship. There is a great deal of blame, suspicion and betrayal between us. When did things get so bad? Whose fault is it? “How could you have done this to me!” we both shout at each other in our morning mirror routine.
It wasn’t always this way. In middle school I had damn nice thighs. Of course, I didn’t notice them because I was too preoccupied by my boobs, or complete lack there of. Trust me, having nice thighs in middle school is about as beneficial as having a bubbly personality in middle school. No one cares. At that time, I would have made a deal with the devil to have boobs that were perceptible to the naked eye in exchange for a lifetime of bumpy thighs. Well, the devil never even approached me. He, like the boys in my grade, didn’t notice me. And yet, now my boobs are fine and my thighs, well, ugh, what I would give to never, ever have to think about them.
But I do think about them. A lot. I know I shouldn’t care about my thighs and embrace my beautiful, healthy body…blah, blah, blah. And I can do that. Sure. For like 30-60 seconds. But the truth is that somehow my thighs have gone from a body part I never once thought about, to being involved in almost every decision I make. Seriously. It’s crazy. My thighs are trying to run my life.
Look, I know this thinking is dumb, woefully unliberated and exceedingly depressing coming from a known feminist like myself, but I’m just speaking the truth. There’s a time for spouting about being confidently above the conventions of society, and there is a time to admit you are just as goddamned bogged down by them as the next gal. That time is now.
No surprise, my thighs dictate the clothes I buy. I search tirelessly for the exact right length of shorts that are long enough to cover the bumpy portion of my thighs, and short enough that I don’t look like my mom. (I’m willing to wager you know exactly where that line is on your thighs.) I’ve also mastered the art of sitting down in said shorts. I have tricks to position myself so that the dreaded dimples don’t get mushed together, causing, I don’t know what…the end of the world?
My thighs are also in charge of where I shop. I could create an app of the stores with the best and worst mirrors for Thigh Viewage. The worst are easily Old Navy and Lululemon. I once had to text friends for an intervention after trying on over-priced yoga pants and seeing my thighs in their hell-spawned mirrors. True story. But here’s a shocker…if you want to see yourself as you dream you look naked, go to Victoria’s Secret. I kid you not. They get it. They have the lighting and the mirrors set-up in that place to move inventory. I’m happy to be duped into buying a $75 bra and $30 underwear just for the gift of 10 minutes of imaging I look that good in them.
My thighs are honestly the only reason I exercise. I don’t give a crap about my heart health. And if I had velvety, taut thighs, I’d never spend another minute in a gym again. Period. And, to be clear, none of the nonsense exercise I do, including, Zumba, Pilates, and Kick Boxing, help, even a little bit, on improving my thighs. What all of this time and effort does, I suppose, is keep them from getting worse. Worse! WTF???
I’ve been married for 20 years, which seems to impress people as if I know something they don’t, which, by the way, I don’t. When they ask me the secret, I say, flatly, cellulite. They want to hear…love, understanding, commitment…whatever. Truth is, it’s my thighs. The very idea of having to introduce them to someone new terrifies me to my core. I think my husband would only ever worry about our marriage if I suddenly reconciled my relationship with my thighs and got them in smokin’ shape. It could happen. Couldn’t it?
The answer for me on this one, is no. It is not going to happen. I’m not going to fix my thighs because at my best, I’m extremely lazy. Like all troubled relationships, fixing it is hard work. You need to stop lying to yourself, get honest about what the problem really is. The process will be painful. You will undoubtedly hear things you don’t want to, like, squats, bootcamp and, lord help me, Crossfit. You will be confronted with flawed aspects of yourself you simply don’t want to change, like indulging in wine, chocolate, and butter. There will be crying.
Truth is, I could no sooner go to Crossfit than I could willingly give up wine, chocolate or butter. Once I get to this point in the thigh fixing inner dialogue, I suddenly feel very happy with my thighs. I decide that my thighs are freaking fine and between my bubbly personality and now perceptible boobs, most people could give a rat’s ass about my thighs. Sometimes even me. Yes, even I have moments of deep understanding that my cellulitey thighs don’t matter in the least. Yesterday, I read Anne Lamott’s quote, about the regret you will feel if you let your flabby, jiggly parts prevent you from living a full, fun life and realized, much to my surprise, that I had figured that out. Even more powerful than my obsession with my thighs is my hyper awareness that life is short and I don’t want to miss a single opportunity to embrace it.
The one thing in life that I can’t resist is swimming in the ocean, or any body of water, really. That consistently trumps my desire to hide my flaws. Recently I even stripped down to my bra and underwear, much to the horror of my teenage daughter, for a dip in a pristine pool of water at the top of Yosemite Falls. I wasn’t going to let the uninhibited European tourists have all the fun. Another woman my age stood nearby cheering me on. She didn’t see my cellulite, only my courage.
I’m not saying that when I bare my body I do it confidently, I don’t, but I also don’t stand on the sidelines and watch other people have all the fun. When I do disrobe for a swim, instead of concentrating on all that is wrong with my thighs, I like to imagine that they are providing a public service… They make anyone with better thighs feel really good about themselves, and hopefully inspire other women to shed the cover up and jump into life.
But remember, no matter how good you feel about embracing life and being comfortable with your thighs, do not, I repeat, do not try on clothes at Old Navy. Trust me. It will set you back.