The man behind the counter at the gym stopped me this morning.
“Do you mind if I tell you something?” he asked. “You have very athletic legs.”
Athletic legs? As in big and muscular? Strong and big? Big and… well, just big?
I smiled, though I certainly didn’t feel much like smiling. One of the first things my husband told me when we were dating 20 years ago was that I had legs like tree trunks. Um, he thought he was giving me a compliment.
Note to men: no woman likes being told she has thunder thighs. It is NOT a compliment.
Just yesterday, my best friend stopped me and said, “Katrin! Your legs! They are soooo muscular.”
And… a few days earlier, I put on a pair of pants I haven’t worn since last year and they were so tight on the thighs I thought my circulation would be cut off and I’d lose both legs (maybe not such a bad thing).
So this morning on my way to work, I’m musing about this confluence of thigh commentary. How do I want to feel about this? Because ultimately, it’s my choice. I can feel bad and self conscious. Or I can feel good. I do know for certain that all three people who mentioned my legs were doing so in the spirit of kindness–giving me kudos for having nice, strong legs. It’s me who is turning that into “big, muscular, thunder thighs.”
So much of how we feel about how we look or what we do–whether in work or in parenting–is less about reality than about perception. I can feel good about my strong, healthy, slightly-too-big body, or I can feel like crap about it. I can set my standards very high (I’ll NEVER look like Carmen Electra, I might as well go kill myself right now) or I can be realistic (Serena Williams has “athletic legs” and does she look bad? No!).
So what’s it gonna be for me?