I read a great article on MSN today about a woman who loves her body, but hates her legs. That caught my eye because I hate my legs, too! (I can't say I love my body, yet, but I suspect I'd be in a similar boat as the woman in the article.) Here's the link to it:
This woman may as well have been me writing this story. The way she describes the physical appearance of her legs are the same way I describe mine: blotchy, stuffed sausage. I consider myself to be a person with moderate or average self-esteem, but when it comes to my legs, my confidence crumbles. I don't own a pair of shorts that aren't meant to be worn outside a pool. I don't wear swimsuits without a long pair of boardshorts. I have knee-length dresses, but it takes a feat of strength on my part to ignore the fact that you can still see my huge calves and ankles. So, I normally wear long dresses, pants (even in summer), long skirts, and "flood" length pants (which still make me uncomfortable sometimes).
Long board shorts on my Mexican Riviera vacay.
Rolled up floods in Puerto Vallarta, MX. It was 90+ degrees outside and I still wore heavy denim. I felt awkward with these and my "ugly" shoes.
I hate my legs more than any other part of my body. I have that awful "double wave" on my arms... ya know, that extra flab under the bicep. I do hate that, but I hate it less than my legs. I wish that pooch on my tummy, the part right under my belly button that cushions my internal lady organs, was significantly smaller... or at least stuck out only as much as my upper tummy. I wish my butt was a little more perky, and a lot less saggy. I don't even necessarily want it smaller at this point. Just up more than down. I would love for my teeth to be whiter, but those white strip things burn my gums and make my teeth SUPER sensitive. And, I hate all these things, but I hate them less than my legs.
Maybe its because I'm afraid I won't ever be able to do anything about them. My body shape is a lot like my grandmother's and my aunt's. I'm pear shaped, with a larger lower half. My grandmother isn't the biggest woman (she's lost a lot of weight recently), but her calves look very "athletic", and they always have. Same with my aunt. And same with me. I want my body to look proportional when I get to my goal. And somehow, I don't think my legs will cooperate.
My calves look ginormous to me in this pic. Like the stuffed sausage I think of when it comes to my legs.
Besides that, my legs are total jerks. My knees are the crap. They hurt going up and down stairs. My ankles are weak little wussies. And my feet... man, don't get my started on that plantar fasciitis. And my calves can't handle a little bit of workout. Several years ago I sustained a pretty wicked injury when I was coaching gymnastics. Part of our employment agreement there was to at least be working on good exercise habits and gymnastic moves if possible. I was a fairly decent tumbler, especially considering I wasn't the smallest girl. So, after work, when all the kids had gone home, and most of the coaches, too, a few of us would stay after and get our fitness on. One of the coaches was working on becoming a certified personal trainer, so we offered to be her guinea pigs. She did a great job on me. My butt was lifted, I dropped two pants sizes, I felt good and I looked good.
Well, one night we were doing calve raises on the floor beam, which provides a greater range of motion. Unfortunately, I must have overdone it even though I didn't feel a thing that night. I woke up the next day unable to walk. My calves had spasmed sooooo bad! I was unable to walk for a week, and I was unable to walk normally for another after that. And I've always had problems ever since. My muscles up the back of both calves are always tight and bother me when I exercise. Grrr... I probably should have had some sort of physical therapy, but I didn't have health insurance at the time.
A few things about myself and my journey differed from her article. When life starts to suck (and lets face it, these days it does quite a bit) I don't notice a heightened sense of self-criticism when it comes to my physical appearance. My grandmother may/may not have been raised in a time when women were reliant on their looks to "land a man" or a job or whatever else. But, I never got that impression from her. She never projected an importance on looks, just health.
"Coping with imperfections is the best way of dealing with them," says Martin. "You can't heal relationships with your body once and for all. It's a constant negotiation. The women who are successful at this are those who take the time to really tune into their lives, to reject their own internal critics, and really turn up their focus on joy and wellness. Once you step away and look at the bigger picture, the size of your thighs seems pretty insignificant."
This blog really wasn't meant to be a huge put-down on myself. It was just supposed to be working on myself about accepting who I am, how I am. Sometime I'd like to think I'll get there. So, I apparently need to step away and look at the bigger picture, focus on my joy and wellness, and really tune into my life. However you do that.
It would be nice to not have to buy wide-calf boots someday.