Imagine if we obsessed about the things we loved about ourselves. – Leah Tackles Social
Estimated time to read: 8 minutes
I’ve always been insecure about my big calves and ankles. So much so, when I heard of calf reduction surgery in China around 2012, I strongly considered flying across the world to have the operation (you could ask my sisters to verify if you don’t believe me). It is part of the reason I hated wearing jeans when I was younger – finding a pair that sit comfortably around my calves was a never-ending cycle even to this day. And this rightcheyeah is also a part of the reason why I fell in love with wide leg pants. And let me not forget the infamous calf boots that would NEVER be wide enough to go over my legs and why I never wore any. The second I saw these babies at Macy’s and spotted the words “Extended Calf” on the price tag, I knew they were for me.
People have called my legs tree trunks, logs, boats, other wild names. Thank God I have thick skin, but even then sometimes words can find a way to hurt. Till one day my coworker said, “Girl, you better love them thick legs. Men love em!” 😅 Shout out to good people who encourage you in the randomest ways. To say the least, that was one of the main reasons why I am always in skirts when in the office or board room. Because I want them to know a woman is present – thick calves and all.
Body shaming is not cool, at all. But the unfortunately reality is that people have a way to say words they think are funny and entertaining in a moment, and don’t think about the rippling, repeating, damaging effect it could have on someone else’s psyche. Behind every joke is some sort of truth after all, right? What we don’t love or appreciate in someone else’s body is not something we should harp on or make them feel less than about; just imagine what that person may go through trying to accept something about themselves that may not look like “the norm.”
Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me is the biggest piece of bologna to have ever been said aloud. It’s more like sticks and stones can break my bones, and words can break my spirit. Words are powerful – they are thoughts actualized. The representation of how someone thinks on the inside manifested on the outside.
When I was younger, I used to think I was less feminine because my legs were so much bigger. This was probably in part because I would think women were supposed to be dainty coupled with the less than encouraging words I’d hear from others about my body. Other than I look like my mother [body and all] and that is what God gave to me, I didn’t understand why or how they were so big considering I was not a [traditional] athlete (I used to step and dance in high school and college).
It truly wasn’t until my coworker friend said those words I mentioned above that triggered something in me – something that made me begin to come to myself. Something that opened my eyes and encouraged me like no other. Quite honestly, it’s possible it’s something that family and other friends may have said to me before then, but I wasn’t yet ready to receive it. But when I was ready to hear, listen, and understand, it all came to me. This is my body, and if I wanted anyone to love it, I must first love all of myself – thick legs and all.
It is super easy to hear something (aka, the opinions of the Negative Nancies) about yourself and think it is your truth, when in reality it’s not. It is easy to take what you hate about yourself and magnify it above all else and think it’s the end of you.
But what if we love ourselves more than we [silently] disrespect and hate ourselves? I’m not talking perpetuating vanity here, but stopping the perpetuating effects of body shaming and increasing self-love and appreciation. Seeing the dimples on your legs and accepting how your body changes as you age. Recognizing that your curl pattern is thicker than the next woman’s and rocking your hair out, wild and freely. Embracing the fact that you have a little gap in your teeth rather than not smiling. We are all created the same, but made differently. And that is the beauty of each and everyone one of us as a collective whole.
It is 100% fine to admire something in someone else (body or persona), but it is not OK to put yourself down or think you are less than. Body shaming should never come from anyone, but more especially, it should never come from within.
When I stopped looking at my legs as ugly, and realized that this was how I was created, I began to love myself inside and out more. And my legs are legit now my favorite part of my body (along with my clavicles!). Stop every negative thought before it takes root in you – thoughts bring to reality what is most thought about. So if you hate your legs, hips, lips or anything else inwardly, it will show outwardly with how you treat yourself. Respect and appreciate yourself first so that others will respect and appreciate you too. You may think it is easier said than done, but it truly isn’t.
Have you ever body shamed yourself? Let me know in the comments below, and let’s make an effort to reverse our hate mindset into love.
I am wearing one of my long-time favorite blazers Mrs. Kate made for me with a long sleeved shirt from H&M, super thick leggings I’m obsessed with from TJ Maxx, and my new favorite [extended calf] boots by Karen Scott for Macy’s. This weekend they are having a 25% off sale; use the code YAY.