I keep this picture of myself on my desk. It’s from 1979, in my kiddie pool in the back yard. I was a skinny kid, and even then, my thighs touched. They always touched. They’re always going to touch. It’s just the way I’m built.
For someone else, a thigh gap is a perfectly natural and beautiful thing, but striving for one, when my body is designed otherwise, would be like striving make my feet a size 6 instead of a size 9. Not gonna happen. It’s nothing I ever worked to have, although I do sometimes wish my legs were smaller. That in itself is pretty silly… my legs look the way they look because of what they need to do. When I did have skinny legs, they were that couldn’t run and knees that popped out of joint if I squatted too low. If I want legs that can lift heavy weights and propel my body up steep hills, I need ones with more muscle.
This picture is also a reminder that there was a time when I didn’t think about my body, when how I looked didn’t matter to me, when I wasn’t self-conscious about my bum or my legs or my boobs. The only gap I was concerned with then was the giant one where my front teeth had been, and even that didn’t bother me.
There is no after. That’s what I’ve learned. The only “after” will be once I’m dead. Until then, it’s all just during.
This photo shows the last five years of my life at different weights and sizes. There’s times I’ve had more motivation. Times I had less. Times I felt fantastic. Times I hurt. Times I weighed less. Times I weighed more. Times I didn’t give a flying fuck. Times I cared too much.
In other words: Life happened.
Honestly, I loved how I looked and felt in November 2012, and I’m working towards looking and feeling that way again. But sometimes, it’s just not a priority. And that’s okay. If I were a personal trainer or a fitness model, then it would be a higher priority. But I’m not. And I’m perfectly content where I am. My life does not improve in any major way if my body fat percentage is a little lower, if I can run a little faster, if I can lift a little heavier, if I wear a smaller clothing style. It really just doesn’t matter if I’m fairly fit or super fit.
Some in the fitness industry would like to call someone like me a failure, because I’m not constantly improving or even trying to. Say I’m just making excuses or I’m not focused or determined enough. Screw ’em. I don’t say they’re failures if they can’t, won’t or don’t do other things I do. I’ve never said, “I re-tiled my kitchen floor, repaired my broken dryer, dishwasher and stove, and installed drywall by myself… what’s YOUR excuse?” How ridiculous would that be?! I love to read, I’ve tamed feral cats and literally taught an old dog new tricks, I’m a pretty damn good artist and an obsessive bargain hunter… if someone else doesn’t do those things, does that make them failures, unfocused or not determined? No. That means they have other interests. And so do I. And so do you.
I had my first 5k race in many years yesterday. It was a charity race to benefit the Blue Chip Farm Animal Refuge, and there were doggies everywhere! My Beavis did not attend. In addition to not being athletic, he’s also a little bastard who can’t be trusted.
First things first, I had to start the race with my Go Go Juice. It’s a tradition.
I’d planned to run in shorts and a moisture wicking tee. I’m no sissy. I don’t mind chilly air. I’m really, really glad I wore a sweatshirt to the event, because from the time I got up to the time I got there, the wind had decided to go from gentle breeze to angry howl. I wished I’d worn gloves, too!
I also wished I’d worn pants. Not only was I cold, but my little short shorts got even shorter as I ran and … well … maybe I’m further away from my goal weight than I thought. But you know what else? So what? I have big legs. Big deal.
But, despite the wind and the cold, and the last stretch being a challenge because we were running INTO The one mile dog walk and people not having enough sense to stay on one side of the path, or keep their dogs on a shorter leash – #dogspreading! – and not running as fast as I’d have liked, I still won the 40+ age group, with my brother coming in second.
I’m not exactly sure what my final time was. It was a small race, and they didn’t have the giant clock at the end, and I didn’t stop Runkeeper right away. It was under 31 minutes, that’s all I know. I’ve done faster in the past. I’ll probably do faster in the future. But this was still good enough.