Yes, that’s right, I’ve used a Little Mix song title (with a one word difference) as the name of this blog post. Entirely intentional I assure you, and feel free to sing it because I totally did.
So let’s talk about my legs. They are my biggest physical insecurity, and just writing the sentence before this one sent a little shudder down my spine because I don’t usually consider them an ideal topic of conversation; in fact I spend a lot of time and headspace hoping not to draw any attention to them at all.
There are lots of things I think are ‘wrong’ with them; my thighs are large, the tops of them are wobbly no matter what I do, they have cellulite and stretch marks. My calves are wide and muscular – and don’t even get me started on my knees. My legs do not and will not look pretty or elegant in any length of dress or any style of trouser.
You may well have noticed, or maybe you haven’t. Many times and usually when getting ready to go out I’ve mentioned this in passing to my friends and every time it is met with a ‘what are you talking about’/’don’t be silly’/’they look nice’/some other such phrase that means the same thing. This is because my friends are very lovely people and that is what very lovely people say, because even though they know that they’re not ‘good legs’ by usual 2017 beauty standards, they’re not going to say it and also they’re fine and we should all be grateful for what we have (this is entirely true, by the way, but we’ll come on to that in a moment).
So I should say here – because I know that the people who read my blog are also very lovely people – that it doesn’t really seem to matter what anyone else thinks or doesn’t think about them. Just like a lot of body insecurities, this is about what I think of them, and the change in the way I see them has to come from me alone.
Because this blog post isn’t just about legs, really; that’s my example, but if you have an area of your body that you feel especially self-conscious of then I’m sure you will be familiar with what I’m talking about. We all know that summer can be a difficult time to think body positive, since everything in the shops seems to be designed specifically for a certain body type – although as everyone I talk to seems to find it hard to buy summer clothes that make them feel great, I have no idea what that body type is. Some kind of alien maybe? Either way, this time of year is when we all seem to be most aware of what we consider to be ‘problem areas’ (plus of course the very physical reminder that rears it’s painful and rather ugly head during summer: the dreaded chub rub).
Of course we should be grateful for what our bodies do for us – they are amazing, amazing things, and it’s something I’d like to hope we all realise. But as much as we might wholeheartedly believe that, and as much as we might agree that we all need to embrace our bodies and their beautiful differences, it’s not always that simple in practice. It can take real effort to apply it to ourselves, and that’s fine, because we are human.
It’s not easy love your body at all times – in fact sometimes it’s bloody hard and occasionally feels impossible – so often we have to make the conscious decision to try to. And that’s why I wanted to give my legs, the part of myself that I have never been kind to, a shout out today. They push through gym workouts, runs and Insanity classes. Last year they carried me up a 4000m mountain in Borneo and through a 10km race in my home city. Yesterday they squatted weights that I could never have lifted 3 years ago. They carry me from A to B to C and to WXYZ on a daily basis – but aside from all that stuff, they’re what I’ve got and I owe it to myself to try to embrace them.
And in the spirit of trying more than ever to love and celebrate what I have; a red mini skirt. If there’s one item that screams ‘LOOK AT ME’, this might well be it (or my version of it anyway). So here I am, drawing attention to the part of my body that I’m never, ever kind to in my super bright skirt, and feeling relaxed and happy in it – contrary to what my facial expression may suggest because sorry I haven’t quite mastered that in photos yet. I even wore the skirt with converse rather than nude heels or shoes with a V at the front to elongate my little stumps like all that bullshit that’s frequently pedalled tries to tell me, because trying to make them look as slim as possible wouldn’t really have demonstrated the point all that well.
So I know it’s difficult, but try to cut your body and the parts of it that you struggle with a bit of slack. It might be horribly cliché to talk about being grateful, and it might not be enough to make you truly love your body, but it’s a decent enough place to start what is sometimes a very difficult process. That is what I hope I have done for my legs today. They are strong, they are imperfect, and most importantly they are mine – here’s to being kinder to them.
Photos: Rob Poor