I love my strong, sexy thighs!

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At least that is what I will say someday… right now, it’s a (slow) work in progress.

I’ve cursed them out in many dressing rooms as I attempt to fit them into skinny jeans, pull off boy short swimsuits and look feminine in trendy skirts. These incidents always turn into a self-hate session because if I could just work out a little bit harder or skip just a few chocolate cookies, maybe I could have that perfectly-portioned body that would pull off any look or style.

I’ll never forget the first time my ‘trouble zone’ was pointed out.  I was 8 and had just received my very first leotard for the tumbling team.  I put it on, went out to show my parents and my dad smiled and said, “Whoa, thunder thighs!”. I beamed. I just knew that he was acknowledging how strong my legs were and what a good tumbler I was because of it! In my head, thunder was loud, commanding and strong… just like my thighs!

For years, I continued to tumble and coaches referred to my approach as my ‘power run’.  Once again, I was sure they were implying how strong and muscular my legs were.  It wasn’t until daisy duke shorts and prom dresses came into the picture that I realized that my legs weren’t slender, feminine or made to be shown off in swimsuits. When I started dancing in Chicago, leotards made another dreaded appearance into my life. I wore skirts, knit shorts and tied shirts around my waist at every opportunity in class.  It’s a tough world and your flaws are called out regularly.  My thighs were too strong in ballet class, too heavy in jazz class and yet, thank goodness, perfect for hip-hop class and even overlooked in tap class.  I’ll never forget the best compliment I had while there, “Your body is really coming along. Even your thighs.” I beamed.

I didn’t wear shorts for most of my 20s because I just couldn’t get past the appearance of my thighs.  They just didn’t fit my body – I’m petite, why weren’t they?  As a trainer, I knew all the exercises to tone, tighten and shrink them but for some reason, they took a stance and insisted on being muscular.  This really pissed me off for a long time.

Recently, I was cursing them while trying to put on freshly washed jeans and then looked up and saw a picture of me running the 1/2 marathon in SF a couple years ago.  That made me think of running the full marathon in Portland.  Then I thought about the years I spent hip-hop dancing.  Which lead me to think about the years I spent as a competitive cheerleader winning trophies that were taller than I was.  And what about the endless long days of video shoots that I spent on my feet? I must have been introspective that day because then I saw the wedding invitation to a friend that I rowed with at Purdue and thought about all the things I had done, friends I had made and the places I had been… thanks to my incredibly (irritatingly) strong legs.

I’m a perfectionist and a control freak. I use to think that if I just tried hard enough, I could make anything happen.  In some cases this is true, but in others (too short for the Rockettes, too blind for NASA…) there is nothing I can do to change things.  I know, this is very basic, but it took me a long time to come to terms with it.  I’m now to the point in my life, where most days, I accept who I am and how I look, and I even like myself… most days.

My new mantra is to thank my legs and the rest of my body when they carry me through a workout or run, allow me to hike Mayan ruins, snuba dive in Grand Cayman or surf in Hawaii. All this while knowing that maybe the price I have to pay is that in a swimsuit, my legs aren’t the most amazing ones on display and that my search for jeans will probably always end in frustration.

At the end of the day, they are a part of me and I’m grateful for our adventures.


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