Legend has it that when I came out of the womb, my mother said to my father, “Oh, Pat! Look at her thighs!”. And, her comment was made because my thighs were exceptional. They were exponentially large in their size. And, that had a bit to do with newborn healthiness, a substantial amount to do with genetics, and a heckuva lot to do with the gift God chose to give me in those thighs.
Until I was 39, I found misery in my thighs. It is difficult to find pants that fit — I typically need to buy a size up simply to fit their girth. I’ve never purchased anything that says ‘straight leg’ or ‘slim fit’. In high school volleyball, our uniform included the horribly unattractive ‘spanks’ cut like 1950s bikini bottoms. I’d dread those games.
A ray of light came with Mary Lou Retton in the 1984 Olympics. Only then had I seen a young woman with a thigh-to-waist ratio similar to mine.
My thighs were embarrassing. They were that one thing that held my self-talk, self-criticism, self-loathing. Made shopping a nightmare. And made hot, shorts-appropriate days strike dread in my heart.
Then, one day, a different voice cut through decades of thigh-negativity.
My husband and I were scuba diving off the Florida coast. It was an incredibly beautiful day. Underwater, the light was illuminating clear ocean waters, schools of fish, and coral topography.
A wave of gratitude rushed through me that I was able to do this. That the current, and burn as I kicked, didn’t slow me down. The thoughts of shame, embarrassment, desire to conceal gave way to extreme appreciation, gratitude, and pride for all my thighs have allowed me to do.
They are not small, but they are strong. (Hours working out, trying to make them smaller, offered me that). They’ve carried me up mountain tops, down mogul runs, and through remote and exotic underwater landscapes. They incented me to learn my way around a gym and appreciate the endorphin rush of exercise. And, they’ve linked me to my relatives, many of whom have a similar thigh profile.
I couldn’t believe the underwater epiphany and what changed afterward. I no longer pull on shorts as soon as I’m out of the water when we’re at the beach. I give thanks when I shop in the ‘curvy’ pants section. I find I can appreciate how lucky my slim-fit friends are never to have experienced what thigh-loathing is like…but I no longer feel jealous and ruminate “It’s not fair.”
God gave me my thighs for good reason. Without the mental and physical journey we’ve made together, I’m not sure who I’d actually be.
We all have something. Something that we have spent years wishing was different. But who would you be if that something had not been put in your path? Is it time to appreciate that something rather than loathe it?