a leg to stand on
I want to talk about legs. That’s right, those twin appendages upon which your body is perched and that, if you’re lucky, you rarely spend much time thinking about. Those fiendish little fellas have taken up so much of my brain space that I feel I must now vent.
I have always had a rocky relationship with that stretch of flesh and bone between my hips and ankles.
Having spent most of my 19 years in a ballet leotard, I am very away of the unusual shape of my lower limbs.I cannot tell you how many times I was called on by confused ballet teachers to ‘for heaven’s sake, straighten!’ my already-stretched legs.
My obsession with legs goes so deep that legs are usually the first things I notice about a person. Flipping through magazines or watching television shows, I choose which legs I would most like to replace my own.
So entrenched is this ludicrous belief of mine that perfect legs equal happiness that when I daydream (and I daydream a lot) about my most longed-for fantasies, I unfailingly have the most world-shatteringly perfect legs. It’s as though I won’t get my dream job, take my dream vacation or get my dream guy unless my body imitatessome crazy ideal.
Even worse, is that this is something that I tell myself. I (albeit subconsciously) pin my own self-worth to my body parts.
However, in the midst of one of my straight-legged fantasies, I was all of a sudden hit with a jolting reality check. I was – rather unflatteringly – struck by the full extent of my petulant pettiness.
I was hit by what should have been a most obvious thought, but that had gotten lost in my unnecessary upset:
I have legs.
I have two complete, fully-functioning legs. My legs can do marvellous things. They bend, stretch, dance and jump. They take me wherever I want to go and back again.
How incredibly small it was of me to be dwelling so much on such an insignificant matter as the shape of my legs when I have been blessed with a remarkable operational body. Those years and years of angst I had experienced over my less-than-perfect body was thrown into stark perspective.
And in this revelation, I was afforded the space for acceptance. Life is just simply easier when you can love what you’ve been given.
I’ve never seen my legs in fashion magazines, not in music videos, catwalks or shop windows – only on me.
After all, isn’t uniqueness one of the personal qualities I value most?
My legs have character. I am yet to find a single person in this world with legs quite like mine.
I am done berating and disempowering myself because (horror of horrors) I was born with legs that bump and curve.
Who says straight is best. Besides, who has time for legs-for-days anyways?
I want to make clear that I’m not criticising the stick-thin figure (so long as it’s healthy). I think there is certainly a place for that type of body, just as there is a place for every type of body.
When it comes to bodies (and people) there is no wrong or right, only love or hate.
And I’m sure I’m not the only one with limb envy or stomach scorn. I’m sure every woman – and man – out there has that one particular part of their body they have been warring with.
I implore you, please, give up the fight – you’ll never win.
No amount of dreaming, wishing, squatting or running is going to make me magically wake up one day with legs reminiscent of chopsticks. But I’m beginning to realise, that’s okay.
A perfect body does not equal a perfect life. You can live a dazzling life without a model’s body – your contemptuous body parts will only hold you back if you let them.
Your body is only imperfect if you tell yourself that it is.
Your body is yours, just as mine is mine (and Karlie Kloss’ is Karlie Kloss’). Never be ashamed or feel you must hide your malevolent midriff or awkward arms. Be proud because they are part of you. Maybe even take them out on the town, show them off. Try on unabashed acceptance for size.
There is no need to abandon that bikini you love, or stunning strapless dress – simply accessorise with a totally chic sense of confidence and self-empowerment.
By Laura Bianchi
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