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.
Do you need to love your body? Here’s the argument for being “body neutral”. (Post continues after audio.)
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.