We Get to Build What We Want.
Big booties and big legs are in right now, but it wasn't always this way.
Throughout my childhood, I spent a long time flipping through magazines (later Googling), scouring whatever I could get my hands on wondering how I could have trim thighs that didn't touch.
As early as the age of 7, I remember asking my mother how I could sit down and avoid my legs spreading out or sticking to the bottom of a plastic lawn chair, sporting patterns in my fat every time I got up. I agonized over not having thin legs for years, especially when hers, whose genetics I shared, were effortlessly lithe. I tried going on walks with her, eating her diet of one meal a day, using the Thighmaster she ordered from an infomercial, and never putting my legs all the way on the chair so they wouldn't spread out, spilling over the sides and through the cracks and out where they could be seen.
My shift in perspective didn't come with the shift in societal preferences. Despite thickness being in, I still felt like I was too much. For some reason, that cultural shift applied to everyone but me: I was still the target for cellulite creams and sweat wraps and fad diets, hoping against hope that my body shape would change if I wished it hard enough. Because it didn't, and because I also wasn't thick enough, I still failed.
Until I decided to embrace the fact that my worth was inherent, and no cream could give me what I was born with: the right to be here. It didn't feel natural at first - I had to make a conscious choice to believe it for a long time - but it became easier when I decided if we couldn't love each other, my thighs and I could at least exist in a stalemate.
They weren't going anywhere, but neither was I.
And then the magic began to pour over me in waves. I saw my legs for what they could do: carry me throughout my day, squat and lunge and deadlift heavy weights, run (begrudgingly) and jump and play with my dogs, act as a defense mechanism if I ever needed it and a badge of honor anywhere I went. I began to explore their possibilities: to see how strong they could get, what they could look like if I embraced their shape, where they could take me, and how embracing them and their vastness carried over to me embracing myself and my enormity.
Fitness as a method of shrinking will always be there. There will always be a market for it, and we can always buy in. But what if, instead of aiming to shrink our bodies, we used our fitness as an opportunity to explore? To feel powerful? To say thank you, giant ass legs, can I have some more? To ask, "what would happen if I trained to gain muscle? To get bigger on purpose?" To see where we could go, if we believed in ourselves and got a little curious?
Training presents an opportunity for us to challenge the ideas we've constructed about ourselves based on what we believe to be true and the responses of others.
We get to say what matters. We get to choose movements, careers, partners, and lives for ourselves, regardless of how others respond. We get to find those who resonate with us. We get to choose. We get to build what we want.
And it can all start with a pair of legs.