When I was 13, Jason pointed at my legs in band class and said “Look, her thighs touch!” Everyone looked and laughed. I looked too. He had a valid point. They DID touch. But he didn’t say it like it was a simple fact; he said it like it was gross. Something to be ashamed of. Not right.
So I decided that these were thighs only a mother could love and that a girl should hate. I studied them incessantly in the mirror for two more decades. Spitting venom at them. I pulled back my inner thighs to see what a thigh gap would look like. It looked like a ticket to self respect at the time. One I’d never earn.
When I was 23, it was clear my thighs were the absolute worst thing. My boyfriend remarked: “Don’t you think it’s weird that you have such fat thighs when you’re so athletic?” He took a bite of a ham sandwich non-chalantly. And I knew I was doomed to never wear shorts again.
When I was 30, I ran a marathon. Over 42.2k, my thighs were chafed. Like a bloody kinda chafed. At the finish line, my friend looked on in horror: “oh god, your thighs.” I looked down at those bloody red beasts and I felt something new. Gratitude. They pulled me through.
That night in an ice bath, inner thighs a’burning, I thought about Jason and that day in band class and that maybe just maybe I had made some assumptions about these tanks because of their aesthetics and that maybe just maybe I’d been very very wrong.
For the next 8 years I tested this theory vigorously. I put my thighs through the ringer. I ran races—further and faster and my thighs kept pace. “They’re dependable,” I thought. I summitted peaks and my thighs burned. “Hmmm,” I thought, “these puppies can endure.” I canonballed into cold alpine lakes and my thighs swam me back to shore. “Interesting,” I thought. “These gams are agile, too.”
In all cases, they still jiggled and chafed and touched, too. But they never ever wavered. Not once. They showed up for me.
My thighs are really stinkin’ strong.