Sunday, March 3, 2013

She's got legs

So I have my share of body image issues. It's not something I'm proud of, but lots of times when I see myself - in my head, in a photograph, in a mirror - the image I see remains one that is ugly. Mis-shapen. Out of shape. Unfit. I think I'm being realistic. I think I am seeing what the world sees. I see photos like the one below, and I am sure that the only thing anyone sees when they look at the image is my thighs.

My lumpy, bumpy, cellulite-ridden thighs.
Please ignore the PROOF marks; I'm trying to make a point.
And how freaking sad is that? I'm sitting here looking at the photo, and that's the first thing that came into my mind. "Gosh, I shouldn't have worn shorts. Those are some hideous legs."

But they're not. I'm wrong. Those are awesome legs.

In the hours before this photo was snapped, those legs carried me 13.1 miles through the humidity of central Florida, weather that couldn't be more different than that which I'd trained in. And they brought me across the finish line.

These legs are my legs. They are not perfect, but really, no one notices that but me. So here is where I stop the rotten self-talk and focus on what's good.

They may not be outwardly muscular, but my legs are incredibly strong. These legs are my legs, and I won't disrespect them any more. These are the legs of a woman, complete with curve and jiggle; this is how they are supposed to look, how they are supposed to work. These aren't just the legs of a runner; these are the legs of a woman who has worked off an extra 90-some-odd pounds. Mine are proud legs. Legs that pulled me through 23 races in 2012. Legs that pedal up hills and around corners while the wind whistles in my ears. Legs that will never be confused with those of supermodels, but given the choice, I'd keep this set anyway.

While we were in Florida to run the half marathon, my friend Carrie introduced us to the Body Peace Treaty, from Seventeen Magazine. In my opinion, the Treaty is revolutionary. It focuses on reminding young girls to value their bodies, and it resonates in women of any age. And, it serves as a reminder that our flaws aren't flaws at all. They are a reflection of what makes a person unique.

Celebrate your essential you-ness. Dare to be different.

And love your legs.


Jen McElroy said...

You are so right! Love those legs for where they have gotten you -- through weight loss, training sessions, spinning, running... things that you are extremely proud of so now it is time to be proud of your entire body (not just the legs). Congratulations on your half marathon! It is an amazing accomplishment!!

Maggie said...

Thank you so much, Jen! I'm happy I finished; this was a TOUGH one. It was my second half, and there was a point at which I thought I wasn't going to finish. (There were two points at which I contemplated cheating; I have never been there before! So I am proud that I made it to the finish line; makes me feel like a badass!