I hated my body growing up. I was overweight from the time I was in elementary school. I can remember so clearly sitting in the car at the bank with my dad while he waited for the walk-up ATM to be available. A large woman walked by, and my dad uttered the phrase “thunder thighs” to my brother. I asked him what that meant.
“Well, it means that her thighs rub together when she walks.”
My thighs rub together when I walk, I thought. I was 7 years old.
I remained overweight until my third year of college. The freshman 15 were as unkind to me as anyone else, and one evening I noticed a tiny stretch mark on my stomach. I’d had them on my hips and thighs, some from growing, some not, but my stomach was smooth. I have no idea why, but that was the last straw. I decided to do something about it. I was 20 years old.
I guess I always thought being a skinny girl was a free pass to love and appreciate my body. But even at my smallest, a size 6, there was still plenty to focus negativity on — loose skin, wide hips, short legs. I have often joked that I felt like people could see my secret when I shopped for clothes — they’d know I didn’t BELONG in the size Smalls. I’d imagine them seeing the number on my jeans and rolling their eyes as I walked into the fitting room. I still feel that way, at 28 years old.
Having children has helped me to appreciate my body in a new way. It’s cliché, I know, but it’s true. I grew two beautiful girls in this belly. I nourished them with these breasts. Rocked them with these arms and chased them with these legs.
It’s hard for me to focus on a single, specific part of my body and say that I love it. I’ve always been fond of my eyes, I suppose — green, with long lashes. I like my hands and their long slender fingers. I even love the three freckles on my left forearm that make a perfect, equilateral triangle. So no, there’s no favorite. But at least there’s no least-favorite either.
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It’s a bit late that I’m getting this posted, but today is National Delurking Day. If you’re out there, leave a comment, let me know you’re reading. You don’t even have to tell me your favorite body part. I’ll settle for your favorite ninja turtle.