Hello Legs, Nice To Meet You
I remember the first time I started thinking my legs were too big. I couldn't have been more then four years old. I was wearing magenta denim shorts and a matching magenta and white striped tank top. Why do I remember exactly what I was wearing? Because those stupid shorts were chafing the crap out of my little, pudgy legs.
I remember turning to my mom and complaining that the shorts hurt my thighs. She said to me, “It’s not the shorts. You will always have this problem because you will always have fat legs like everyone in my family. Deal with it.” I don’t think she meant to insult her four year old daughter, but I remember every word she said because I have carried those words with me for about 20 years.
Fat? I was fat? At four years old, I was now contemplating the fact that I was too big, and I would always be fat. From that day on, I was self conscious about my legs, especially in the summer. I hated shorts. Oh, and did I ever hate bathing suits. I remember being in Florida and covering my legs with a towel day in and day out for the entire week we were there.
Small Is Really Not My Thing
I mean, lets face the facts here: I have never been small. I was always the tallest in my grade, towering above the boys, up until at least high school. I probably hit 100 pounds in second grade. Yeah, like I said, I wasn’t small. When I got to sixth grade and hit puberty, I thinned out a lot but, even when I was at my skinniest, I was still just “too big.” Growing up as a teenager I was SO jealous of all my tiny, little dancer friends and how I would never, ever look like them. After all, I would always have big, fat legs, right?
Things got a little better right before high school when I got serious about playing basketball and along the way I picked up rowing. But even when everyone around me was in spandex, I would NOT be seen in those little booty shorts. My legs were just “too big.” I was always known for my basketball shorts that I would wear in the boat, slip off before we rowed, and then pulled on as fast as possible before I got out of the boat.
I don't know when I finally became comfortable wearing those spandex shorts in public but it was probably when I realized that mostly all rowers were built just like me. Rowers have big legs and broad shoulders, which has always been my build. Still, in the back of my mind I was “too big.”
Legs Meet CrossFit, CrossFit Meet Legs
After college and rowing ended, I picked up the wonderful sport of CrossFit. As I got more and more into it, I started realizing a trend. Girls who did CrossFit weren’t super tiny. In fact, they were really solid, and they flaunted it. Booty shorts, sports bras—these girls were not afraid too show their muscles. And that made me a little more comfortable with my athletic build.
As I progressed, I was really drawn to anything with a barbell. I started lifting heavier and heavier and with that I was getting stronger and stronger. I learned to be okay with someone calling me, “a beast” in the gym, something I HATED being called when I was younger. Now, it made me feel like a badass. I knew my body was changing, and I loved it.
I didn’t realize how much my body has changed until recently. I spend most of my waking hours in gym clothes, so when it comes to putting on real people clothes and going out somewhere besides the gym, it's a struggle. Half of my clothes don't fit anymore. Buying jeans has always been the worst. I’ve always had to get the pants bigger to fit my thighs, then I got the butt crack show going on because the waist is constantly falling down. The struggle is real, guys.
Anyways, when even my biggest jeans didn't fit, and all the shirts in my closet didn’t fit either, I wasn’t feeling all that great.
But then I realized that OBVIOUSLY nothing in my closet fits me. I’m not the same girl I was in high school and college. Clothes that used to fit me when I was 145 pounds and didn’t squat were not going to fit these thighs that can now squat almost 250 pounds.
These Legs Are Awesome
The more I think about it, the more I’ve realized: I’ve started to actually come to love my legs. It’s crazy to think that from being the thing I most despised about my body, I now flaunt them proudly. Maybe they don’t fit into my size six jeans anymore, but they can do so much more then that.
My big ass legs have helped me propel boats over countless meters, on countless bodies of water all over the country and Canada. These legs have carried me through Long Branch, NJ for 13.1 miles and then they toured me around Philly for another 26.2 miles--then they couldn't walk for a few days but, minor details.
The legs I’ve been so self conscious of can help me pick up over 300 pounds off the ground, and then go squat close to 100 pounds over my body weight. They help me climb up and down ropes, flip tires, and jump over boxes. Maybe not very gracefully, but they get the job done pretty well.
Deadlifts, Olympic Lifts, box jump misses, rope burns--and okay, the occasional face plant over a barbell--- have my legs covered in cuts and scars. My thighs are always constantly banged up and bruised. But they are my battle scars and I love them.
I am not the same girl I was before CrossFit. I don’t cover my legs anymore. Instead I rock my booty shorts loud and proud. I love how my butt looks in those spandex I was once too ashamed to be seen in. I’m not self conscious anymore about my thighs touching. And I’m not ashamed that they always will. I don’t envy those girls who have stick figure legs. It’s not something that’s a priority to me anymore because my priorities have changed.
So, yeah maybe I need to buy some new jeans to accommodate my new body and maybe I’ll get some new shirts while I’m at it. But more importantly, I’ll start appreciating this body for what it can do, and stop degrading it for what it can’t fit into because I freaking love my body.
And you know what? I finally love my big legs. And it’s a good thing because if I ever want to squat #300, then they are here to stay. And to anyone who has anything bad to say about them, all I can say is: Deal with it.