I think God blessed me with some really beautiful attributes. My hair doesn’t suck, I have an almost perfect smile, my lips are great, and I have a long neck, nice shoulders and back, have been told my eyes are total winners, and until I hit 35 and my skin decided to FREAK THE HECK OUT ON ME AND BREAK OUT EVERY OTHER DAY I SWEAR-my complexion rocked.
There is a whole lot to be grateful for in my physical make up.
Just not in the leg department.
There are things I do not like about my physical appearance.
My nose was severely broken when I was 12 and the way they “fixed” it (or didn’t) pains me occasionally. I have super saggy underarms from huge weight loss and…the thought of showing my legs to the world makes me want to hyperventilate.
And I AM hyperventilating because that is exactly what I am going to do today.
I bought a swimsuit, see.
Until yesterday it had been TWELVE YEARS since I purchased a swimsuit for myself.
I bought this one in 1998 before going to sing in Hawaii with the Honolulu symphony.
And I haven’t purchased one since.
Well, for one, I am not a huge fan of the water.
And for another…I nearly died in 1999.
Three weeks after delivering my second son I developed a massive blood clot in my abdomen and it went down my entire leg. When they admitted me to the hospital my leg was the size of both of my legs put together and it was dark purple.
I was very sick.
For a very long time.
I was diagnosed with a clotting disorder and I pulled through and got better. But that leg has never come close to looking normal again because my circulatory system is totally damaged now. My skin still looks slightly purple and my left leg is much more swollen and the veins more visible than in my right leg.
And my legs were not so hot BEFORE the clot, dudes.
I’ve never had smooth looking skin, I bruise easily and don’t tan, I have cankles and bowed legs. Also, it is damn near impossible for me to develop muscle mass. Add that to pain when I do it and disliking it in general it’s just hard to get too motivated about working out*.
I was very heavy for a lot of my life and so I have stretch marks everywhere on them. Like I mentioned, I had a huge weight loss and that makes the skin on my thighs saggy (which is AWESOME). AND DEAR ALL THAT IS HOLY ON THE EARTH ARE THEY FLABBY.
Trust me on this.
One of my friends that is the kindest soul on earth saw my legs in the dressing room and pretty much agreed with me that they are probably better not overly seen.
It’s why I don’t wear skirts or dresses often and why when I do, they almost always touch the floor. It’s why pants are my friends and why if I HAVE to wear a skirt that shows my gams I swear by fishnet tights and my stretchy leather boots (No zip ups will fit that leg of mine, friends.).
I love my fish nets and stretchy boots. They saved me during the Halloween when Jon and I went as “Dog and Beth: Bounty Hunters”
Because of my size 10 feet, cankles and swelling, I do not do heels or strappy ANYTHING.
And I DO NOT DO SWIMSUITS.
A funny, non-serious conversation on Facebook asking me to post photos of myself in my bathing suit and someone said something like the chances of that were nil because “Loralee hates her legs”.
I obviously talk about and it bothers me way too much if it is something someone that met me online can plop down like that in the blink of an eye.
It also led to an intense discussion off line about my leg issues and women and their insecurities in general and well…I am tired of being uncomfortable in my own skin.
I want to be able to take my kids swimming and actually participate.
I want to wear a breezy skirt or shorts in the summer so I don’t roast and die in the heat.
I’d like to wear a dress to the cocktail parties at BlogHer.
So…I decided to confront this train head on and try to get over it.
So, I’m posting untouched photos that were taken (in about 10 minutes) by my fabulous photographer friend, Brigitte. (She does ALL my pretty photography, people. If you live in Cache Valley GET THEE TO THE MALL TO HER NEW STUDIO, “Smiles”!!! See that, Bridgy! I love you! EVEN THOUGH YOU SAID I HAD WHITE, HAIRY HE-LEGS!!! (Or whatever.) (Ok, I may be slightly exaggerating what she said.) (A little bit.) (Maybe.)
I only had her take them because I was a: having trouble taking them and b: the flash made them look unrealistically good. (The one and ONLY time I would complain about that problem. Heh.)
I’m sure the experience was awesome for her.
To make it better?
I am scheduled to have my lower legs waxed on Friday so I am seriously all sorts of Yetti-awesome-hawtness right now.
Let’s get on with it, shall we?
This is my suit. The pretty part. The part I am totally ok showing despite a 4-baby tummy and flappy underarms.
When you have a talented photographer as a friend, she can even tell you how to sit so your legs look pretty good–cankles and edema and dimply skin and all: (HOLY COW MY HAIR IS RED IN THE FULL SUN. It’s like I rounded up Little Orphan Annie and Ronald McDonald and bitchslapped them into a bottle of hair dye. Hee!)
Now let’s look a WEE bit closer (but still not a bad photo. I’m dipping my toe in here gradually, people. We will not even GO INTO THE ISSUES I HAVE WITH MY HEINEY OR THAT IT IS FLAT AS A PANCAKE. My pants fall down. It’s embarrassing.):
AND CLOSER. (My husband nixed any really horrible photos he felt were worse because of a bad angle or lighting and didn’t think photos showing my upper thigh sag was wise. And I am utterly OK WITH THAT. Still you get a bit of it here)::
And as much as I do not dig cellulite, I know many of us have it so this doesn’t even bother me, overly. (Plus, when you’ve been 300 lbs, it is not too hard to be thankful for what you have in a lot of cases.)
But my calves and ankles make me very self-conscious.
Just as a comparison, I’ll show you my leg and cankles compared with Brigitte’s beautiful, smooth-skinned legs. If only to torture you all with the MAN HAIR THAT I HAVE ON THEM. Hey, it hurts me more than it hurts you. I am the one who has to live with channeling Chewbacca until Friday. (TGIF will NEVER have been so sweet to my ears, people.)
I know I cannot make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, people. My legs are never going to be a feature on my “good” list but I can try to be better about it and just love them for the fact that they get me where I go and that I can walk around on them.
Plus, they have looked a WHOLE LOT WORSE THAN THEY DO NOW. I realized that when I looked at these photos. But you have got to understand how bad they looked for how long. People with medical training would tell me to go to the ER when they saw me if I exposed them because it well…looked like I had a blood clot in my leg.
I’ve been used to thinking about them a certain way in my head and I need to adjust my mindset.
Issues. I, uh…have them?
So, I am just going to (really, really try to) be grateful for what I have.
Thanks for holding my hand through this, y’all.
I am really just left with one question.
Do you think that stretchy boots would work with my swimsuit????
* I know the apperence of my legs would improve with a regular work out. I know I can’t overly bitch about something if I am not pulling my weight and trying to fix it, so… I’m giving it (yet another) go starting May 10th. Me and a a trainer at Gold’s Gym. Whee. I’ll let you know how it goes. Maybe I’ll actually have an ass by BlogHer, who knows??? :)