As a little girl playing soccer I learned to take up space. I learned to be fearless on the field. And most importantly I learned taking up space was an important aspect of being a competitive player.
Then when I was 15 years old I learned that this was now a different game.
When I was 15 years old I remember seeing the movie What Women Want for the first time. I specifically recall a scene where Mel Gibson’s character could hear women’s thoughts. In the scene he ran by a woman on roller blades who was counting all the calories she ate for that day.
That scene was the first time I realized that it is normal and acceptable for women to have body issues. For women to have disorderly eating. It’s the universal female experience to want to be less of yourself as a woman.
After the age of 15 I started to soak up the messaging that now I would be judged according to how little space I could take up. The thick strong quads and thighs that took me far in a soccer match now made me unappealing. Less worthy. Less attractive.
As a young woman there were many days when–of the 60,000 thoughts a day that women have–I spent at least 20,000 figuring out how I was going to make my thighs disappear. If I could only be a smaller version of myself–like Felicity at NYU looking beautifully melancholy about her handsome bed-headed boyfriend Ben.
I started to dislike my body. I felt wildly uncomfortable in my own skin.
In college I can remember feeling such self-hatred I wanted to take a piece of my thighs out. I felt angry and violent toward my own body. If I could only take up less space….
I would be happy, I would get attention, I would be loved.
And Then I Woke Up And Realized Taking Up Space Feels Amazing
Very slowly over a period of about 9 years I started throwing the external rules out.
I realized my thighs were actually the conduit to a spiritual explosion. These thighs could carry me for miles and miles. These thighs could take me across half-marathons and then full marathons. These thighs helped me chase down a senator at an event for a podcast interview.
I started to get angry at the people and the systems that told me my thighs made me unappealing. I stopped spending time with women who reminded me of me before I went through this awakening.
Today I thank god I’m not a size zero. I thank my body for providing a healthy vessel to live life on this planet.
I’m starting a revolution of thigh love. Of worthiness. Of self-nourishment. A radical act of self-love. And I want to inspire radical acts of self-love across the nation, and the world.
I love you thighs. To take up space is to feel worthy. When you feel worthy your light shines brighter. You’re funny. You’re innovative. You take risks, and you believe you can do things, and you do.
Say it with me:
- Thank you, body, for all that you do.
- I am strong, I am good.
- When I see myself, I see beauty.
- My body is sacred.
- I am powerful and strong.
- My beauty is my own.
- I love who I am, body and soul.