Personally, I’ve always wondered how I would feel about my body if I still lived in Trinidad. Sometimes I feel a little like Mowgli from the Jungle Book: a completely different species trying to integrate, everybody telling him, “You’re one of us, you’re the same,” yet he knows and they know he’s different, but everyone just plays the game. Anyway, on to what I wanted to write about today.
A friend of mine shared an article from Elisabeth Akinwale’s blog. Admittedly, I don’t know much about Elisabeth. All I know is that she does Crossfit, which seems to be a kind of hardcore bootcamp-ish kind of exercise that focusses on all over body strength. (Because I’m not sure what it is, I’m deliberately being vague, so as not to misrepresent it. People who do it seem to love it though! You should check it out.)
Anyway, Elisabeth shared this article about the “thigh gap”. Go ahead, click on the link, read it and come back, I’ll wait.
According to Wikipedia, “A thigh gap in women is a space between the inner thighs when standing upright with both knees touching”and I will confess to you: I once wanted a thigh gap.
Years ago, I admitted out loud that I wanted a thigh gap. I was tired of shorts being bunched up because of the friction. I have thick and solid thighs…not super muscular, but dense and they swell into full hips, so in my mind, if my thighs would slim down, because my hips were so wide, it wouldn’t take much to get that gap. I had it all figured out! Sigh. Poor delusional me. I never did anything much to achieve it, but it was one of those things I wished I had, like a million dollars!
In Elisabeth’s article, she talks about her big thighs being 26 inches around. I knew mine was in that area. Sure enough….
Over the years, a few things happened that help me accept my body the way it’s structured:
- I went on a trip with a couple friends who had full thighs, and they introduced me to some kind of powder to prevent chaffing of the thighs. That was a revelation to me. Not only did other people exist that had touching thighs, but there were enough people with full thighs to have products to address specific concerns about rubbing thighs. Whoa!
- On my 3-week visit to Trinidad, there were thick thighs as far as the eye could see, strutting proudly. They probably never even heard of a thigh gap and they all seemed to be happy.
- Hearing my cousin talk of her thigh issues and pants, I realized that I come from a long line of thick thighed (<– I just made up that word!) women, so I don’t know who I’m trying to fool anyway. You can’t fight genetics.
- Elisabeth alluded to it too, but I’ve realized that if my thighs were smaller, my butt might get smaller too and that’s definitely not a risk I’m willing to take!
I’m really glad that I read this article. I found myself nodding the whole time I was reading it. It confirmed that I have stopped the insanity and accepted that whatever will be will be!
To counterbalance the “Mowgli effect”, I deliberately seek out images and sources for positive reinforcement. If you can’t find someone to be inspired by with the bodies you see, find other bodies to look at! If what you’re looking at makes you feel bad about yourself, look at something else!
I’ve always looked to professional athlete Serena Williams’ and the ultimate dance performer Beyonce for inspiration because they have thick thighs too, are FIT and fabulous! Now I will add Elisabeth to that list! Feel free to comment with other women I should put on my radar.
In the comments section of Elisabeth’s article, there were things said about how ridiculous the whole ‘thigh gap’ thing is to begin with, but I felt very sheepish to judge. After all, I was once a believer.
To write this article, I did an image search for “thigh gap” and the results were pretty crazy…crazy like a ketchup and peanut butter sandwich! Click on the link and see what I mean - it will petrify you!) Just looking at those pictures, I know that it’s not even something that is desirable to me anyway, let alone being possible! It’s like busting your hump aspiring to be a size 4 and then you see what a size 4 really looks like and you almost pass out because you realize just how misguided you were in the first place!
Humour me, next time you’re in a clothing store, go check out a pair of pants in your ‘dream’ size and ask yourself if it’s reasonable that you can make it happen from where you are today and think of what it would take to get there. That will put it in perspective. I know it helped me be realistic about my body and my expectations of it.
These days, I’m embracing my body for what it is. Sure, I’ve thickened up a bit over the years, but for someone who eats popcorn and yogurt (not in the same mouthful though) in bed at 11 pm, what’s to be expected?
The thigh gap? I’m okay with not having one. Besides, like Elisabeth says, having a pair of thick thighs has its uses.