“Is that a bruise on your leg? Does it hurt?” asked the Nail technician as I was receiving a pedicure. I responded, “No, it’s a vein. I’ve had it there all my life.”
I felt good about saying that.
I remember a time when having that vein-like bruise caused me shame. In fact, I was embarrassed to wear shorts and skirts until about 2011.
My legs have been a huge source of insecurity for me all my life. I’ve had spider and reticular veins in my legs for as long as I can remember. I’ve also had a cyst in one thigh since I was 15. And, in terms of muscle tone, I have to work the hardest on my legs to maintain their strength. I joined the track team in high school mostly because I wanted toned legs and sexy calves. (I liked to run too, but I mostly wanted strong, firm legs.)
Many times during my youth I wished for “perfect” legs. In terms of solutions, all they had during that time was a leg cream that was like a concealer. But it was never an even application and had to be reapplied every day. I also went to the doctor to have my cyst removed, but was told it would leave a scoop in my leg, like scooping out a ball of melon. Rather than risk more embarrassment, I chose to leave it. It’s benign anyway, so the only people I’ve had to explain this weird bump on my leg was with massage therapists or if I became intimate. And yes, that caused a lot of insecurity for me in the area of being intimate.
For some reason though, I never felt to get surgery, or laser treatments when there was a solution for unsightly leg veins. There were many times I’d pass by the offices that advertised that my legs could look beautiful, and still, as insecure as I was, I could never bring myself to make an appointment. I dreamed of a day when I would feel comfortable enough in my own body, just as it was, to show off my legs and be proud.
Thankfully, that day came when I moved to Maui and began strength training. I didn’t actually wear shorts until I felt my legs were “tight” enough to be exposed. What that meant for me was that there was little to no cellulite, and they felt firm. They didn’t need to be rock-solid, just smooth and toned. So, it wasn’t until I was in my 30’s that I began wearing shorts, skirts and felt sexy. (Crazy, right?) And, with this new found freedom, I also didn’t care about the veins in my legs. I didn’t care who saw what, if it made them uncomfortable or embarrassed for me. I was good. It was a miracle!
The true miracle though, was that day with the nail technician. Why? Because on that day, I was not in my prime “tight” shape. I trained for a while, and then I became very busy with work and I couldn’t do it all. I didn’t have the energy to train as hard, or as much, and my legs were the first to change. So even though my legs were not “perfect” by the media standards, I didn’t care. I rocked what my momma gave me (in some short shorts too) and knew and felt that I was STILL beautiful. Veins, cellulite, a little jiggle when I wiggled, I let it all hang out.
But why would I have to fear or be insecure about my body in the first place? In my last post titled “#Mirror“, I addressed how many people scorned Miley Cyrus’ performance at the MTV VMA’s. It’s not the first time the media has gone ballistic over what a woman has worn, or not worn in a performance. And sadly, much of our world seems to think that what the Media says, is the “truth.” But how many times does the media scorn a man and how he looks? It’s rare. So we have a bunch of copycats, and misguided young people (who become misguided adults) who don’t know how to think for themselves, or honor themselves and understand that they are beautiful, regardless of what they see in magazines or on the news. It’s sad.
Do you remember back in the day when full-figured women were the predominant images portrayed by painters? A woman just as she was, au-natural, was beautiful, and was considered art. I have learned over the years that men love a confident woman. Period. Rock those lumps, bumps, curves, and everything your momma gave you and trust me, there will be men, (and women) who will find you sexy. It’s not about what the Media finds sexy, it’s what you hold as the truth for yourself.
Additionally, I would like to say that eating healthy and exercising has contributed to me feeling good in my body. I now choose exercises that are in resonance with what my body needs on a whole, rather than choosing to exercise from a place of insecurity.
So as I am a work in progress, so is much of the World. After all, we are a reflection of one another. And isn’t it time we (all) felt good about ourselves? Just as we are? Appreciative of one another and knowing that we are good enough, worthy enough and attractive without having to alter ourselves using non-natural methods? I pray and dream of that day. Do you?
‘Til next time, thanks for reading, and yes, YOU are beautiful.