Learning to Love my Legs

One of my best friends, Jen, is currently in her junior year at UT in the nursing program. I’ve always heard horror stories about nursing school: the long hours, always on your feet, the patients who throw various bodily excrements at you. In this past academic year, I’ve learned all this (and more) is not only true but a daily reality. Last week, I got a picture message from Jen with a picture of her leg. I look down at the bottom of the picture and see her sock rolled down and a message that reads, “I HAVE CANKLES!” Her body is athletic from the years she spent rowing in high school and she has incredibly TINY ankles, but in this picture, you can just barely see where her ankles are supposed to be.

I myself have never had cankles. I have had thighkles. From the time I was just a child, my legs have always looked as though someone has forced a Christmas ham or two into each of my calves and intricately placed jet-puffed marshmallows around what would otherwise be my ankles. For these reasons, I have spent summers in dress slacks, glistening like that rotisserie chicken I was telling you about, and ruing the days in which a function I would attend who require me to be in a bathing suit. But today, I learned to love my legs.

I was at the gym, for the fifth day in a row for those who are counting, and I stood waiting for the seated leg press machine to open up. I adjust the seat and increase the weight up to 100 lbs. I carefully wiggle my way into a position that reminds me somewhat of my yearly checkups at my gyno’s office. I push off with my legs, and I can feel all the muscles in my legs start to work together. I look down at them and realize how fabulous my legs really are.

They have taken over 20 years of torture from my hideous eating habits and lackadaisical approach to exercise, and yet, they are still there, strong, carrying me with pride from place to place. Under the marshmallows and Christmas hams are two of the hardest working legs in East Tennessee. Carrying around all my weight for all this time has surely not been easy, but yet, they haven’t given up. If any hating were merited, it would be my body hating me for the torture I’ve inflicted on it all this time, and I can tell by how great I am starting to feel and that my body is starting to get some relief.

I love my body, and I am working hard to get it into the best shape it possibly can be. I know it won’t come overnight, but in time, I can finally honor it in the way God intended.