I can remember a time when, about eight years old, I stared down at my body and a wave of sadness hit me. I hated what I saw.
I didn’t like my tummy. I didn’t like the hairs on my arms. I didn’t like my short toes or ankles.
But most of all, I didn’t like my thighs — and as I grew a bit older, this feeling only swelled.
Any time I had to put on bathers, I’d insist on wearing shorts to hide the way they’d rub together.
At school, I went through long phases of refusing to sport anything except trousers. I didn’t want to face the shame of letting my peers see the way my quad muscles protruded beneath my skirt hemline.
I deeply resented my mum for leaving me to inherit her naturally bigger legs.
I imagined how much better my life would be if only it were possible to just slice off the unwanted bits, or if I could afford plastic surgery.
I scrutinised the legs of just about every girl and woman I saw, just to see how I compared. (Always worse.)
Whenever I saw or heard the phrase “thunder thighs”, I’d get a sickly lump in my throat as though it was me people were talking about.
I plotted out the best technique to sit in chairs in a way that kept my thighs from flattening out too much. It was brutally uncomfortable. But that didn’t matter.
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All that mattered was that my thighs looked thin. As thin as bloody well possible.
Fast forward a few years, and I eventually came to realise I had a completely warped and dangerous view of myself.
But I’m ashamed to admit that it only took me until after high school to really accept my body. To love my body.
So when I saw a body positive thighs movement had gone viral, my immediate thought was just how amazing this would have been back when I was a kid.
The #ThighsforJeaux hashtag was started by a woman in South Africa after she tweeted a photo of her own, unedited thighs on a hot day.
Mixo told The Independent she posted her photo after she “remembered that a lot of people don’t get to enjoy being comfortable on a summer day because of insecurities.”
That was me. I lived in Singapore, where it is consistently a humid 30 degrees. And still, I’d tug on a pair of jeans almost daily.
But this gorgeous #ThighsForJeaux movement is seeing women of all shapes love and celebrate their thighs the way I wish I had. Some are dimply, some are thick, some are hairy, some are wobbly, some are scarred, and all are beautiful.
The movement actually started a year ago, but it’s now enjoying a new spike in popularity. And it’s something I’m thrilled to see.
Because as shallow as some might deem it, one of my biggest regrets is having plagued my childhood with hate for my thighs.
So I only hope that by allowing other young girls to see just how wonderful all unfiltered thighs are — not just the ‘thigh gaps’ in advertisements — it will help save them from years of insecurities.
And I hope they sit down however they damn well please.