Tuesday, January 22, 2013

How I got over my thighs.

This is a torrid tale of love, hate, squats and belief in the almighty thigh gap.

Hello, my  name is Shannon and I have some big ass thighs.

My first memory of being made aware that I have big ass thighs was when I was in the sixth grade and my Grandma said (lovingly) as she touched my thigh with her hand and exclaimed, "got thighs for DAYS".

As a kid I was very tiny. I was in the lowest percentile for growth until I hit puberty and while I was undersized in both height and weight, I have always had thick sturdy short little legs.

Through my teens, I took GREAT care to try and conceal how big my thighs were and I went to great pains to wear skirts at a very certain length, I only wore certain cuts of skirts, I did not ever wear tight pants. I spent a lot of time and energy trying really hard through diet and compulsive exercise to slim down my thighs. I tried wrapping them in saran wrap for slimming, I used those hot sweat suit things, I used creams, I massaged, I stretched etc etc.

I wanted the ever talked about thigh gap.

We'll get back to that.

As I exercised harder (because of course if exercise doesn't totally change the shape of your body ur doin it wrong amirite?) and read tons of books about reshaping your body, the more my body didn't change the way I expected it to.

By the time I was 20 years old I hadn't yet learned one very important thing about the exercise/fitness industry.

None of the gurus and experts tell you the basic truth that you can't actually significantly change the fundamental shape of your body without a lot of surgery or devoting your life to only doing that.

However, you can't change your bone structure.

You can't always force your body into being in a state that it doesn't like.

It's not sustainable.

Instead I punished myself.

I dieted, I exercised more. I did different exercises, I paid trainers. I did a lot of things I probably shouldn't have.

What I learned in the next few years was that I am not built for slim thighs.

I'm just not.

Even at 105 pounds, I had big hard strong thighs with a layer of fat.

Under my little layer of fat, my body was hard all over. I did those squats that promise a rounder booty, and nope. My butt got real hard with a little layer of fat but still was not very round.

I did EVERYTHING to size down my thighs. Nothing gave me that stupid thigh gap.

The only time there is ever a gap between my thighs has been when I've worn serious control top panty hose, if I stand in a really awkward position etc.

During the time of me trying to exercise my way into an "ideal" body as tiny as I got my big ass thighs were not only there but the smaller I got the more disproportionate I looked.

When I stopped that punishment style exercise and gained weight, my thighs got bigger and I started with the only certain cuts of pants, very specific skirt styles and lengths.

At some point I frankly gave up.

I sat myself down and spent some time doing something really painful.

I wrote down the things I hated about my body and looked at them from the following POV (I don't necessarily recommend this) I wrote down what I hated, why I hated it and how I could possibly change it.

I hated most everything about my body and once I was finished I realized that everything I hated about my body was pretty immutable barring surgery.

At that point for me I decided that I could spend more time, energy and money obsessing about these things or I could find other shit to do.

I decided (this part I recommend) I have other shit to do and I was wasting a lot of my time worrying about things I a.) have no control over and b.) don't matter all that much in the long run.

Here's the thing about obsessing over bodily flaws.

Worrying about them, obsessing, thinking about how to camouflage them or minimize them is ultimately a waste of your time, energy and money.

I have big fucking thighs and proportionally weightloss, exercise etc doesn't change that. If you look at me in my underwear, or if I'm wearing a short skirt, or if I buy a workout program, or if I do pilates or yoga or whatever, nothing made that big of a difference.

For all of my obsessing and the tears and the embarrassment when my mighty thighs blew out some tights or someone noticed my thighs (or whatever body part I was obsessing about at that time) nothing changed.

In my long history of having people say dumb things to me about my body, after the initial hurt not one of them matters.

Not. One.

None of the bullshit I told myself about my failure to have slim svelte thighs was actually true or over the years has made a difference.

As I said before, if someone is getting naked with you chances are they are not going to be like,

OH SHIT YOU GOT BIG THIGHS/FAT ASS/CELLULITE/ROLLS/STRETCH MARKS/Whatever you think is the deal breaker that makes your body unacceptable- I AM GOING HOME.

Probably won't actually happen.

Here's my advice for getting over these things.

This is going to require some honesty on your part.

If you did change X thing, what would it really change?

Let me tell you a few things.

Having a different X (insert your issue here) won't instantly make you a nicer person, it won't make you better in bed, it won't increase your income for the most part, it won't magically turn everything else in your life to magic and puppies, it won't pay your rent, it won't make you suddenly the most confident person in the world.

Frankly, changing a physical feature to some nebulous idea of perfection won't solve any great mysteries or show you suddenly the meaning to your life.

Fixating on say your thighs is largely a waste of your time and a very handy way to avoid changing other things to make yourself feel better.

I believe that if you are a fat asshole, you will probably be a thin asshole.

I believe that if you manage to change the X thing that your whole life hinges on, you'll probably find other reasons that you suck.

Your X thing that you hate or focus on, is likely not actually stopping you from wearing tight pants, or short skirts or swimsuits or whatever. What's stopping you is you.

It takes a lot of thought and work to actively make the effort (and yes, it is a huge effort) to reject the programming that tells you to be ashamed of your thighs/ass/stomach/what have you.

It takes constant vigilance sometimes to say, no fuck that thinking I will do/wear what I want.

I have been at this for more than a decade and some days it is still very hard.

Some days I believe my life would be better if only my thighs were smaller.

If only, if only if only.

Sometimes I have to remind myself that being thin didn't fix shit for me.

At the end of the day, I will not be limited by the flaws fashion magazines tell me I should be working on hiding or willing out of existence.

So I will wear my skinny jeans and listen to assholes whisper behind my back on the street that my look would be SO much more flattering if I wore a longer shirt or that style should only be for "more fit" people.

Fuck that.

My time is too valuable and I have too many other things going on in my life to indulge in obsessing about my thighs or my back fat or my cellulite etc etc.

I have shit to do, you have shit to do. We have a lot of life to make happen that does not involve wasting our time on what is honestly, not that big a deal.

In the grand scheme of things about humans that are important, if you don't make your living selling images of perfection, how important to your life is having perfect thighs?

Be honest.

Having those magazine ready thighs won't make you a better person, it won't make you a better human being necessarily. It probably won't turn you into the angel everybody loves and who does all the magical wonderful things and who is suddenly rich and popular and beautiful and yadda yadda.

If you want to be better there are a thousand ways to be better and feel better.

One of those ways is to unlearn that (especially women) one must be forever striving for/pining to be a perfect physical specimen.

I challenge you my homies to do this experiment.

Take a day where you have access to a computer, notes on your phone whatever.

Make a tick mark for every moment you spent obsessing about your X thing.

Do this for a few days.

Go back and look at it and think about ALL of the other things you could have been doing that would probably make you feel better.

You could be reading, painting your nails, talking to a friend, petting your dog, having a nice walk, putting lotion on your hands, playing a game you like, frolicking on the internet looking at pictures of cute kitties, homework, day job work, paying bills, folding your laundry, taking a nap, having a cuddle, talking to that hot person you saw on the bus this morning, etc etc etc.

Report back my homies.


1 comment:

Tempest Nightingale LeTrope said...

Started forcing myself to vomit at twelve because I developed hips and a big ass and could no longer fit into size 9 boys' jeans. I was instead wearing a gargantuan Size 1 Womens. This was the mid 1970's.
Sizeism: creating eating disorders in girls since time immemorial.

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