Chasing the Thigh Gap

back-view-blur-blurred-background-1758144I’m sitting on his couch, wearing red underwear and a t-shirt he gave me, my feet propped up on the coffee table. He’s lying on the couch to my right, and we’re talking about Saturday morning things, which is to say, nothing of consequence.

I’m sorry to change the subject, but I just have to tell you how much I’m enjoying this view. I mean, <gesturing at the exposed length of my thigh> mmm…just beautiful. 

I glance self-consciously at my pale legs, thinking of how I’ve spent the past thirty years hating them for their thickness, hating them for the same reason that he loves them.

Thanks. I’m trying to love my thighs, but it’s hard to appreciate something I’ve been trained to see as undesirable.

I’m reminded of the cultural differences between us, and I’m simultaneously thankful that he grew up seeing curves as beautiful, and resentful of my lifelong pursuit of the elusive thigh gap.

He shifts on the couch, making space for me to lie down. I gladly press my body to his, relieved to no longer be the object of his gaze. Our arms encircle one another, and I rest my cheek against his chest. I can feel the sculpted muscles of his chest and abs through his thin t-shirt, and I briefly wonder why he’s attracted to me.

You’re a pretty self-disciplined person, wouldn’t you say?

     Yeah. I’d say so. 

I wish I were more like that. More disciplined. It must be hard to be with someone who lacks self control when you seem to be so good at it.

<Ignoring my last sentence> In what area of your life do you wish you had more discipline?

My eating. But it’s not so simple. On the one hand, I want to feel ok with my body, regardless of size, but I also want to be healthy. I’ve never had a realistic view of my body, tending to see myself as much bigger than I am. I want to be mindful. I want to eat to live, but food has a power I’ve never felt strong enough to fight against. Life is short, and food is good, and I. Feel. Powerless. It’s hard to develop discipline in an area so tied up in how I see myself. Why is the shape and size of my body so intertwined in my own self-worth anyway? I would never use that measure to gauge anyone else’s value. I wish there were a quick fix or magic pill, but that’s not the same thing as wanting to be disciplined, is it? 

Thankfully, he doesn’t offer me solutions. I just needed him to know.


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