I’ve always thought I wanted that model figure. Lean and willowy. Maybe some of it stems from being thin as a kid; but most of it is likely due to the fact that the media seems to celebrate this figure. I wanted that figure that allowed clothes to hang just “so” and look amazing.
But guess what? I’m not quite 5’4″. That’s not really all that tall. I have wide hips. I have thick legs. I will always have a butt – even if I was starving to death, my butt would be there. It’s genetics. It’s the way I’m built. My Mom and sister are built the same way. We are not size 0 girls. It’s just not gonna happen.
I knew this, but yet I fought it. I fought it every time I got on the scale, every time I scrutinized the size tag on my pants, and every time I looked in the mirror. I tried making myself smaller through diet, through tons of exercise, and generally making myself miserable. Just to be something less. To be something I wasn’t.
In the past 4 months or so, I’ve really reframed that. I have started lifting weights. After all, I look to my Mom. She wasn’t terribly active, but she was strong, especially in her legs. Naturally. She passed those strong legs onto me, so why not use them to my advantage?
I was watching the National Women’s Soccer League final the other night, and while Western New York lost, I was admiring one of my favorite athletes, Abby Wambach. She is strong and talented. And I was thinking about her if she, instead of choosing to embrace who she is, she worried about being thin and conforming to society’s “ideal body”, she would not be able to be SO AWESOME.
And then I found this bit from her interview last year with ESPN: “I’m a confident human being, but my body does not bring my confidence — it’s my heart and my head. Confidence is the most important factor about your body, whether you’ve got five pounds to lose or 100. If you have the confidence inside, that will exude on the outside, regardless of what your body looks like. Yes, I’m a professional athlete, so I’m more fit than the average person, but I’m also bigger. There are so many different sizes and so many different shapes that you can’t compare yourself to another human being. That would be unfair. You can’t look at a model or even a professional athlete and think, “Oh, my body isn’t as fit,” because all you are doing is putting yourself down and not feeling good about yourself.”
Obviously, Abby gets it. Comparing yourself to another, wanting a body/shape that someone else has – it’s not fair.
Now, I’m learning to love what I’ve got. And by nourishing my body adequately, and lifting some heavy things, my body is loving me back. I might not be fitting perfectly into all of the latest fashions (the designers seem to forget about those of us with thick thighs and an ample behind), but there are some pieces I’m learning to rock. Like skirts. Where before, I only saw “fat” legs, now I see shapely, strong legs. I’m certainly not a professional athlete – I have to bring home the bacon by riding a desk 40+ hours a week. But I’m proud of my body and what it can do. It feels sexy. I feel good. I’m strong and getting stronger. I can do more things with my body than before. I’m beautiful. Not because I’m rail thin. Not because I’m any specified ideal, actually. I’m beautiful and awesome because I’m me, and I’m on this journey with myself. And I’m loving that.