I have THICK THIGHS and I can not lie!

Hiya!

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….

I only had the mini sewing kit measuring tape, so I had to stick one side down to get the other side around.

I only had the mini sewing kit measuring tape, so I ran out of tape.

Over the years, a few things happened that help me accept my body the way it’s structured:

  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

No-gap thighs are GREAT for hide and seek!

No-gap thighs are GREAT for hide and seek!

Mini update

“Hi, my name is Vikera and it’s been 9 days since my last post.”

Okay, so there’s no Bloggers Anonymous, but there should be! There’s a lot of angst surrounding my deadlines. There are times when I have so much going on in my head that I can’t come out with a coherent thought. Those of you who follow my blog, know how anxious I get when I don’t post regularly and the guilt that accompanies the lapse. Instead of waiting for inspiration, how about I catch you up.

So a few things to report:

    • You can tell that I’ve changed the theme again. While I liked the other one, it really wasn’t working as it should. I hope this one feels more comfortable for me (and for you!)
    • I’m still a faux SAHM. I’m enjoying it, but I’m starting to get anxious. Job search has been slow.
    • I’ve started a blogging workshop. It helps bloggers grow their audience and appreciate the ones who faithfully follow their blogs (like you! Thanks!)
    • The weather has been great so far. I know a lot of people in Vancouver complain about the rain, but I’ll take the rain over the snow any day of the week. If getting a bunch of rain means we have 20 C degree (68 F degree) weather in April, I’m definitely okay with it overall.

      Vancouver does Spring! Siiiiiiigh..

      Vancouver does Spring! Siiiiiiigh..

    • I upgraded my phone to a touchscreen – a Lumia 625 – it’s pretty fancy, but I’m getting used to it. I had no idea a phone could do so much stuff. It’s amazing! The phone my Facebook friends suggested I get would have been too much phone for me. It’s just as well that I chose this free one instead.
    • I just cut and dyed my hair. I’ve had my hair short before, but not in this style. I’ve never had this colour before either, so it’ll take some getting used to, for sure! Every time I dye my hair myself, the colour NEVER takes, always coming out way too dark. This time, to compound the change of the funky haircut, it came out exactly like the picture on the box. Just my luck!
[Photo taken by Vikera Hunte. Do not copy without permission.]

[Photo taken by Vikera Hunte. Do not copy without permission.]

  • I did join that gym, but I’m 99% sure I’m cancelling the membership. Before you start yelling “Quitter!” let me explain. I wanted to join the gym for the social interaction as well as the exercise component of it. Turns out this gym doesn’t have classes, per se, it’s more of a get-in-do-your-own-workout-and-go-home, so it didn’t really serve its original purpose. I also prefer to save my money and work out by myself for free – thank you YouTube!

Ummmmm….what else? I don’t think I have anything more to report.

What I’ve learned in this time at home is that I am basically a happy person. I continue to do the best with the combination of what I have, what I’ve worked for and what life has given me. Living my life this way has worked well for me so far, so why stop now?!

I don’t know what the blogging workshop will reveal. Maybe at the end of it, I’ll need to start over. Maybe I’ll find the formula that will get me scooped up by someone who wants me to write for them. Maybe I’ll build up a portfolio that will change my life. I don’t really know. With things like these, I try not to anticipate the outcome without first going through the process.

We’ll just have to see how it goes….

Walls

Sometimes your heart is your biggest liability. Sure, it shows you how to love and it retains love, but sometimes, the heart can be your worst enemy! Your heart has a way of not keeping up with the times. It holds onto things better left in the past: people, emotions, memories that evoke feelings of security, happiness and a wholeness that no longer exist.

This poem I wrote is dedicated to those who have to build walls around their heart to protect them from people they used to love – people who the heart keeps forgetting to forget.

My poem is called ‘Walls’

I must build walls
Walls that keep me safe
Walls that keep you out

Once, we had nothing
but each other
inseparable, content
our lives subsets
no walls, only the ones
we built around our hearts

Now, there is a wall
built brick by brick
mortar and rock
to keep me safe
to keep you out -
out of my heart

I must build walls
walls that keep me safe
walls that keep you out

Things I like – John Legend and his music

[Photo taken by Vikera Hunte. Do not copy without permission.]

[Photo taken by Vikera Hunte. Do not copy without permission.]

I’ve always liked John Legend. Always. From the very beginning. There is a sincerity about him that I respect. He can play the piano, he can sing and he had crooked teeth. Him being famous with crooked teeth was important to me. For a long time, he didn’t care to fix it. He accepted himself the way he was and lets us know it’s not that important and it’s not what he’s about. As with everything in Hollywood though, he succumbed to the pressure and got straight “teefs”. I was a little disappointed, but I guess if you marry a supermodel, you have to tart yourself up some, I suppose. Anywho…

His words soothe my heart. He sings a lot about love, not because his voice is perfectly suited for melodic declarations of love, but because it’s something he feels. When he touches the piano keys and closes his eyes, you can tell he’s in a moment. He’s not overly sexy, playing it up for the ladies, but because he’s drunk the love kool-aid too and wants to sing about it and can express himself better than most.

[Photo taken by Vikera Hunte. Do not copy without permission.]

From the onset of his fame, he has handled himself and his craft with respect. I had the benefit of seeing him perform twice. Once, he opened up for Sade, which I personally felt was beneath him, BUT I get it -it’s Sade! Duh! The second time, I went to see him at a smaller venue. I sprung for mid-price tickets and I went alone. I wanted to go alone. I wanted to sit there and absorb his music through my pores. I knew I would be moved to tears and would rather have no witnesses. I was in row 15, so I was pretty close to the stage. In retrospect, it would have been worth it to spend the extra $50 to sit in the front row. It also didn’t help that he came into the audience and stood on a seat in row 5 and sang half a song. Oh to be in row 6! Thanks to Betsy, though, I was able to get some great shots to capture the magic.

[Photo taken by Vikera Hunte. Do not copy without permission.]

I’ve pulled some videos from the internet to provide a good representation of his music. The first one is powerful, with him at the piano, his voice and his fingers doing all the work to entertain the audience. No fancy footwork, backup dancers, pyrotechnics or any of that stuff – just the music. Ignore the wet blanket audience – I just don’t get how they can just sit passively while their senses are being treated to such a great piece of music. You can see how hard he works here and how into the music he is.

If you want to hear how smooth his voice is, without the whole band and back up singers, listen to a classic – a man, his voice and his piano.

You may not love his music as much as I do, but maybe you will. He has a newer CD out now, which the second concert promoted, but I’m partial to his older stuff.

Hey, I like what I like!

V

ps. The position of the arrow in the picture on the left here is unfortunate and completely unintentional! teehee…

Crushes, pining and virginity

You know what? When I read my diary, it’s like watching the gears turn in the back of a watch. I see myself as I am today so clearly on the pages on those ink-stained books. It’s fascinating to see how little I have changed in the course of almost two decades. My views on love still seem to be the same. Does it mean that I haven’t grown in all those years or does it mean that despite the ups and downs, I have been able to hold onto an untainted view of romance and love?

The themes of my entries for about five years are crushes, pining and staying a virgin. Every entry was on one of those three.

In my diary, I write about my many, many crushes! Boys, who I liked over the years, range from tutors to classmates to co-workers. None of them are physically alike – meaning I don’t have a type. I was and am still primarily attracted to something intangible when it comes to men. I guess I have always found value in compatibility more than physical attraction. I write about a genuine smile or kindness or gentleness or a sense of humour. That much hasn’t changed. I still maintain that physical attraction can change over time, but the characteristics of a person stay the same and the thing that brought you together will keep you together!

I also seemed to have spent many years pining. Pining for someone to love me, pining for happiness, pining to be complete with another person. It doesn’t really make much sense since I didn’t actually crush on guys who were interested in me. Ha! I seldom seemed to like guys who liked me back. What’s up with that? Maybe it’s a fear of intimacy? Maybe it’s a fear of being hurt. I go for what I know I can’t get so I can’t be hurt. Crushing on someone who doesn’t want you is definitely safer and infinitely more exciting than crushing on someone who thinks you are the sun! Reciprocity opens the door to hurt and panic. I am still like that today. If I make eye contact with someone across the room, if he only gestures as if he may walk over, I’m in the washroom hiding out in 5 seconds flat! Sigh.

What I do like is that as a young adult and now, I seem to be clear as to what I want out of a relationship. In those pages, I see a person coming of age with a clear understanding of morality and equality that still holds true today. I wrote about not wanting to be pressured to go ‘all the way’.

I can’t stand a guy who brags about his sexual capabilities. It annoys me. For example, every guy I know seems to think they are the hottest things on legs. Worse if they know I’m a virgin. They always try to convince me that they could get me to go all the way.

I never did succumb to the pressure, which shows my strength of resolve. Well, I’m no longer a virgin, but I do still stand for what I believe regardless of outside pressure.

So what does this all mean? I guess it means that I’m true to myself over the years. I have the same values and expectations. The only difference is that while I was younger, it seemed urgent to fall in love. Now I see that while at times I do have that sense of urgency, I know now that it’s better to wait and be happy. Well, after all the angst in my twenties, I did eventually get married and had a beautiful child, so it all turned out okay (minus the whole divorce thing!). Maybe this round of crushes, pining and almost virginity (Sigh.) will be just as good!

Clicking memories

When Kidlet was born, I would go to Wal-Mart almost every week to collect pictures I had printed. Now that I look back, I see how many duplicates I have and the excess of having so many pics of this small person where the only thing that was different from one picture to the next was the clothes he wore and the amount of drool running down his face. As he got older, the picture-taking slowed, the camera only being brought out for ‘real’ things: Disney on Ice or birthdays or the first day of school. I decided to be more discerning in the things to be kept in the archive. The physical documentation of my life and my child’s quickly changed from a heavily illustrated novel to a pamphlet.

Now that I have a fancy camera, I’m all about taking pictures of things. Pictures of every event I’d like to remember, whether it’s a sunset or a cloud pattern or something creative that Kidlet did. One time he made his own hockey rink from an empty box, complete with advertisements for Subway and Tim Horton’s on the side of the box. The hockey players were little men he created from pipe cleaners. Those things HAVE to be captured, and I have about a dozen pictures of it.

I’m not really sure what brought on the change to slow down in the first place. I think it felt kind of self-indulgent. I think I felt like when he’s 15, he’ll be embarrassed at how many pics there are of him around. It’s kind of overwhelming. For anyone who’s had at least one child knows how much hoopla a first child can bring. He’d view me as one of those crazy mothers who kept locks from first haircuts and of first teeth (which I HAVE kept, by the way). Then I thought to myself, “Who cares what he thinks?!”

Okay, let me qualify that. What I’ve learned over the years is that your past is VERY important to your present and your future present. It all speaks to the person you will become. Either you will spend your life trying to recreate the past or you will spend your life trying to avoid recreating the past or, more than likely, it will be a combination of the two. For him to grow up and not know his past, where he came from, who he once was, what he once knew, what he once liked, would be the greatest harm I can to do him as his mother. For him to look at himself as an adult and have no idea what brought him to that particular point in life would be a tragedy.

A friend of mine shared a picture of her mother at around the age my friend was now. It sent chills up my spine – they were almost identical. For some reason, that provided me with so much comfort, thinking that maybe when I’m 58, I’ll look in the mirror and see my mother’s face as I last saw it. It will prove that no matter where my life took me, I once belonged to someone – if only genetically. That’s what I want to give Kidlet.

I want him to be able to look back and see where he came from. I want him to understand the influences in his life. He might grow to like the outdoors and then he’ll see through pictures how many times we went out to the park and the forest. He might be a hockey goalie or be an engineer or architect and he’ll see his hockey rink and realize he was interested in hockey and was a talented engineer from a young age. I don’t want him to look back and think his life was all birthday parties. I want him to know all the little things too. I may not always be around, and I just want to make sure he knows who he is. I will not apologize for that.

When we held the Olympics here in Vancouver four years ago, I had taken him to many events around town, participating in a lot of the activities, even taking a day off work for us to see the goings on. I bought a small ‘official Winter Olympics 2010′ album and put pictures of us and our forays in it. He often looks at the pictures and pieces together that trip. Over the years, he’s forgotten some of the details and I fill in the blanks. I envision him showing his children that album in 25 years, explaining why he loves his country or use it as an example about why quality time as a family is important. I don’t know what he’d use it for, but it’ll be a piece of his puzzle to use.

Now, I no longer print the pictures, but I keep them all stored online (sorry Wal-Mart): I can save up to 25,000 pictures, so I keep the good ones and bad ones, the imperfect ones. They’re all there for him to piece together his childhood later on, uncensored.

After all, it’s his life, I’m just the archivist.

In the meantime….

So having said this and feeling pretty good about accepting my body as is, I think I want to join the gym.

I know, I know…let me explain….

I have a lot of time on my hands. I have only a few hobbies: this blog being the main one followed by singing in the shower and then a distant amateur photography. More and more I find myself being bored. I don’t watch a lot of TV and my mind has not been settled enough to read. Pretty soon, Kidlet is going to be spending more time with his dad, so that leaves me with even MORE time to sit around and do lots of nothing – leaving my mind in a very fertile place to sprout all kinds of thoughts that I will probably not be able to manage. Sigh. I also noticed that the loneliness has started creeping up and I can’t let that get a hold of me.

So what are my choices? Friends work full time, so not a lot of play time during the week. I can only write so much. Also, with the writing, I find the more I write, the more my mind comes up with things to write about. Double sigh.

What can I commit to that can be flexible with my schedule and will tire me out so that when I get home all I need to do is eat, shower and sleep? Aha! The gym! I’d be around people, I’d get out of the house, use up some of my energy and enjoy some much needed endorphins! I don’t really have a goal of weight loss or anything, that’s not the point here. The point is to be engaged and be used up.

I’ve been part of a gym before. I went after work a couple times a week with a friend of mine. We went for a quick workout and then stayed for the Zumba classes. We did that for a couple of months and those were good times! At another point, I did a few drop-in kickboxing classes. Now those were a lot of fun. Sure, a few times I thought I would collapse, but I managed to make it through each hour. Both of these experiences were memorable as being refreshing.

I feel like this could be the start of something good – try something new. Maybe if I’m more active, I’ll increase my stamina and endurance and be able to do some outdoor activities when the weather gets a bit better. Maybe I’ll meet a guy at the gym – obviously, that was part of the decision-making! Maybe I’ll tone up my body. Maybe I’ll make friends, who will introduce me to some other activity I can participate in. Maybe I’ll just make friends. I don’t know. Maybe I’ll join and then cancel my membership in the first month. Who knows? I have to try something and for $14.99 a month with no contract, why not that?

I just know that things are not the way I would like them to be and I have to figure out a way to make it better. I’ll try this and see how it goes. Even a tiptoe is 5 inches from where I was standing before.

And people thought the gym is just for losing weight or gaining muscle….