I’ve have a love/hate relationship with my legs.
Let me explain.
I was blessed to be short and most of my height is made up from my legs, my torso is almost non existent. Not only am I short but I’m kind of rectangular and thin. It wasn’t very long while growing up before I started realizing that I had chicken legs. I would wish all day that I would have been given shapely legs like my sister. My sister is built a little different. She’s also short but she’s a little curvier than I am.
(circa 7th grade-I could barely keep my socks to stay up)
In Latino culture, curves rule. My boyish uncurvy frame not only masked some of my femininity but it also made me appear younger (my baby face doesn’t help). I craved to have Shakira thighs, J Lo glutes and a gymnasts calves. I hated wearing skirts and shorts because you could see my buckling knees.
Dancing during middle school and high school helped a little. My calves started to build some muscle but not much. I even mustered the courage to wear a skirt a few times. But for the most part my legs still looked the same. For a long time I just accepted that I would be doomed to live with chicken legs. I looked to my sister with envy as she effortlessly filled out her jeans.
(The dancing years, circa 2 years later?)
And then college came and a few good friends introduced me to long distance running. I was scarred because I had disastrous results with the 100 meter dash in high school. I didn’t think I was made of the stuff needed to be a runner. But I soon came to find that running was my way to clear my head. I could run for miles and all the anxiety I had felt melted away. I would push myself until I felt that runners high and would enjoy the high for as long as I could (usually until my thirst screamed for water). All summer after my first year at college I trained for a half marathon and behold Karina Chicken legs was no more. I had definition where I never had, and although my legs were still thin, they were shapely no longer bony.
I rejoiced and enjoyed these shapely legs for many years after I had discovered the secret. I could wear skirts and shorts and actually be proud of the legs I showed, and even jeans seemed to hug my “curves” in all the right places.
(July 2013 post graduation)
And then I had an amazing baby boy, and for 7 out of the 9 months I was pregnant I did very little exercise (If stuffing face with ice cream and watching netflix counts as exercise). I couldn’t tell during my pregnancy because the extra fluid in my body made me bloat, but I had lost most of the definition in my legs again. So when Isaiah was born in August most of my jeans actually fit me loose as the bloating and swelling subsided. I was pretty upset, my favorite jeans fit loose in the back, in the thighs, everywhere. When I flexed my legs there was nothing there.
(September 2015 post baby, enviously stares at Sonia’s legs)
On the flip side though, pregnancy brought something that maybe many mothers aren’t as excited about as I am. But my hips actually got wider. I’ve just started to lose some of my box body frame, and I’m digging it.
But what I wasn’t digging were my reincarnated chicken legs. So I decided to start hitting the gym again. And slowly the soreness and the strained muscles, late and early workouts have paid off. I can see the muscles in my legs again, I can feel my jeans getting tighter and as bizarre as that is it makes me really happy.
Because having built legs gives me power. They give me physical power where my upper body lacks. I may not be able to fight but I can run and I can run for a long time, and maybe I may never need that skill but it’s come in handy a few times.
So no I’m not scarred of getting too muscular by doing 100 lunges and running 6 miles. I’ve had the “thigh gap” that apparently is a thing but no one really knows who actually wants one, and I don’t want to have it again. Thick thighs and toned legs is the way to go. Just ask Shakira, JLo or my sister 😉