My thighs touch, and guess what? I LOVE IT. The thigh gap used to be my picture perfect ideal, until I came to this realization (and you can too)…
Do you ever have those days when you’re all up in your head?
Beating yourself up. Putting yourself down. Struggling with the same things you do time and time again. I call this your “inner Mean Girl.” That “voice” that’s been with you for as long as you can remember.
- “You’re not good enough.”
- “You’re lazy.”
- “So stupid.”
- “Not doing anything.”
- “You’re pathetic.”
- “They’ve got it all together…you don’t.”
Whatever she says to you, chances are it’s been a similar message in your head that sometimes, you confuse with your OWN VOICE.
Instead of being able to decipher “Mean Girl” from “Me”, whatever Mean Girl says, you start to sink into a funk and believe it—no questions asked.
Like quicksand. Once you set one foot into those negative thoughts, you just go down from there.
Today, I caught her coming out.
It was just one of those moments.
Dressed all cute in my favorite pair of distressed AG jeans and a classy, lacy white top, I had a moment of discomfort—with my just-out-of-the-dryer jeans fitting a bit tighter than usual (Plus a heavy squat day: 200 lbs. back squat—I am coming for you!).
And so the thoughts began:
- “You need to buy a bigger pair of jeans.”
Fortunately, instead of giving in to being overcome by stinkin’ thinkin’ nowadays, I am able to STOP the thought and reframe it in the moment.
- “No, Lauryn, you’re strong—and getting stronger.”
- “Your thighs are powerful—carrying you through the day.”
- “Curves are a good thing!”
- “Your body is a vessel for carrying you through the day.”
- “No one else cares about your body.”
- “New jeans?! Bring em on!”
This wasn’t always the case though.
My inner Mean Girl dates back to my 4 or 5-year-old self, with thoughts such as these filling my mind on the daily:
- Crying over the “ugly” DJ Tanner-inspired (oversized shirt and leggings) outfit my mom picked out for me to wear (I was a style diva from the start)
- Getting frustrated over not being able to read the chapter books I wanted to read fast enough, or tell time on the non-digital clock
- Beating myself up for missing the goal for my soccer team, or embarrassment over forgetting the next move in my dance recital routine
- People-pleasing my teachers as the ‘perfect student’ (and distress if they ever called me out for giggling or talking with my friends during circle time)
- Neeeeeeding to hear words of affirmation from my parents for making the grades
From then on, that inner Mean Girl grew louder and louder over the years—fully expressing herself during my eating disorder days, when “Ugly, fat and stupid,” were common adjectives I used to describe myself. In addition, the messages: “Pathetic”, “worthless”, “always going to struggle”, “not pretty” constantly played on repeat in my head.
What about you?
When did your inner Mean Girl first introduce herself?
What did she say? What heart strings did she pull at to make you believe it?
What are the common messages she says to you today?
Below is a tribute I wrote in the throes of my own recovery—a counter statement to my biggest trouble spot: My thighs.
Note: My thighs had been my nemesis ever since my mom told me she hated her own thighs, when I was about 7 or 8. I’ll never forget standing in her bathroom with her as she curled her hair and got dressed for a party, and her stating, “My thighs are so big”, as I admired her (what I thought) beautiful womanly figure. From that moment on, I decided I hated my thighs too. And from that moment on, it was all out war.
I hated their jiggle. I hated their cellulite or extra flab. I hated how they touched. I hated how they seemed bigger and more shapely than the rest of my body. I made it my vow to whittle them down, no matter what, so they would not touch when I put my two feet together.
Until I woke up to the fact that my thighs (and my nose, and my hair, and my non-rambunctious spirit, and my smaller boobs, and my ectomorph, pear-shaped body frame) are part of me—and in the same breath, they don’t define me (who I am, what I am about, the thoughts and ideas and greatness in my head and my heart I have to offer the world).
Here is the tribute to “Loving My Thighs” I wrote on the brink of my recovery journey, over 5 years ago—as I began to accept my body and myself as it is, AND gain my voice back (to be able to say, “STOP IT!” to my inner Mean Girl.
(Don’t take that crap from nobody):
My Thighs Touch
My thighs touch.
And, you know what?
I am OK with that.
Actually, I am better than OK.
I embrace it.
Touching thighs used to be my worst nightmare.
Once a trigger-point for my eating disorder, my beliefs that my thighs could NOT touch started when I was 8-years-old.
I remember my mom making a casual comment about not liking her own thighs, and in turn, internalizing her belief as my truth for me as well.
I was also a dancer and cheerleader, and I remember feeling very awkward in my pink tights and black leotard, my little 2nd-grade tummy sticking out and those darned touching thighs. I compared myself to the other little girls in their tights, or on top of the stunt pyramids, and thought, if only I was smaller, than I’d be ________ (fill-in-the-blank: cuter, prettier, more well-liked, on the top of the pyramid, etc., etc.).
By the time I was 10, merely the thought of touching thighs sent me into an exercise binge and food-restriction-mode.
Mayday! Mayday! Sound the alarms!
As time went on, hating my thighs became a deeply-rooted belief.
The inner and outer thigh machine at the gym was a MUST everyday.
Squats in the shower, in the middle of the night, while blow-drying my hair.
Hundreds and hundreds of lunges.
My thighs were the “enemy”—and if I had the POWER to control the size of my thighs—the smaller, the skinnier, the more-chicken-leg-like, the better.
After all, don’t perfect women’s thighs not touch?
Take this model for instance.
Isn’t she modeling a perfect body more than a swimsuit?
Today, my thighs that touch represent health, life, strength, hard work, letting go.
Health, as in, now I am healthy.
Life, now that I truly have my life back after years and years of obsessing over the size of my thighs, my waist, my jeans, my arms, and on and on.
Strength, that I have beautiful, muscular, strong legs to carry me through my day-to-day comings and goings. I can walk, run, jump, stretch, sit, squat, and beyond.
Hard-work, from the months and months of hard-work I put into nursing my body from death to life. The hard-work I endured through treatment, often times feeling awful through the process, in order to now, feel great.
Letting go of the “former ideals” and instead, accepting myself as my ideal.
I don’t need to be anyone else or anything else, other than ME.
What a NOVEL idea!