I have always hated my legs. Well, at least I have hated them for as long as I knew that your legs were a thing you could hate about yourself. I have memories of shopping for shorts in grade seven and complaining about them then, so I am working on 27 years of leg hatred.
The reason I have hated my legs is because I have always believed them to be too skinny. Now, before you roll your eyes too hard at me, let me elaborate. It’s not so much that my legs are “too skinny” as that my legs (and, to be fair, my arms) are skinnier than the rest of my body. For me, it is a PROPORTION issue, one that, I assure you, has been pointed out to me my whole life.
- “Wow! I never noticed how skinny your arms are!” (this is usually followed by the person putting their fingers around my wrist and illustrating to me how skinny my wrists are).
- “Wow! I never noticed how skinny your legs are!” (this has sometimes – though less frequently – been followed by the person putting their fingers around my ankles to illustrate how skinny my ankles are. And yes, many people can put their fingers all the way around my ankles. MANY PEOPLE).
I’m not saying this was always said as a criticism, but it was often followed by tips on how I could build muscle mass in order to make said arms or legs BIGGER. And I don’t ever remember it being followed by anything along the lines of: “And hey – they’re so NICE!”
As a leg hater, I have spent most of my life avoiding wearing shorts and shorter skirts. Capris are my friend. When I buy skirts or dresses I look for ones that fall below the knee (thus covering my “too skinny” knees). I also don’t wear leggings. Besides the fact that I believe leggings are mostly a torture device designed to make my legs feel like they CANNOT BREATHE, they also draw too much attention to my “spindly” legs.
Anyway, after years of leg-hating and leg-covering and looking for ways to minimize my “problem legs,”imagine my surprise to discover a number of months ago some truly shocking news:
My legs are now totally in style.
It all boils down to this thing that I didn’t know was a thing, that is actually a real thing and apparently an important thing and a thing that many women go to great lengths in order to achieve. Friends, I have a THIGH GAP.
In case you don’t know what a thigh gap is, it is when you stand up and there is a visible space between your two standing thighs. And it is ALL THE RAGE. I just did a quick google search about thigh gaps and I seem to have achieved what, in the words of one article, is now “the holy grail of women’s bodies.”
And here I’ve been trying to hide my holy grail all this time!
I admit, this is a lot to take in. It’s quite a change to suddenly shift my leg-worldview after nearly 30 years. I really wasn’t prepared for cultural leg expectations to veer in my favour. I mean, here I am, with a closet full of capris, and I can finally wear shorts! NOW my legs are the right legs. Wouldn’t it be nice to go back to 13 year old Leanne trying on shorts and hating her legs and tell her to hang tight, because in just a couple of decades her legs would be exactly right?
Well, I’d like to go back to 13 year old Leanne. And I’d like to talk to her about her legs. But I tell you this: I wouldn’t talk to her at all about some stupid, idiotic thigh gap to make her feel better. And I wouldn’t tell her that her teeth were going to look fine when the braces came off. And I wouldn’t tell her that the frizz in her hair would tame itself eventually, or that there would be people, one day, who would think she was pretty.
I would tell her “Buy the shorts.” And wear the shorts. Not because your legs are the “right” legs – but because it’s hot out, and shorts are comfortable. I would tell her to stand proud with the exact body she has been given, no matter what it grows into. I would tell her she has been made wonderful, and I would hope that she would spend the next 27 years certain of that, and that it would have nothing to do with whether her legs were muscular enough for the 1990s or had a big enough thigh gap for the 2010s.
I can’t say it to 13 year old Leanne, so instead I’m going to say it to anyone out there who may be reading this: Buy the shorts. Or the dress. Or the jeans. Buy them and say: “Well look at this lucky piece of clothing that gets to be worn on my perfect-for-me body.” Wear them and know: “I am wonderfully made” That’s what God says about us, actually. And, funny enough, no mention of skinny legs, or a thigh gap.
Honestly, when I started googling about thigh gaps today, it didn’t make me happy that I had the “right look” in this regard. It made me sad for all the girls and women looking in the mirror and saying: “I’m not good enough.” Because of a thigh gap. Can we call this what it is? Complete and total CRAP.
I still have a long way to go. There’s lots I don’t like about my body, and I rarely think it’s fully wonderful. I’ve been lying to myself for so long that the truth becomes harder to believe. But the truth is NOT that my legs are now good enough. The truth is that they always were.
So I’m wearing the shorts.