Forty Inch Thighs
by Elizabeth Fisher

Forty inch thighs. Yes, they're all mine. If I stand with my legs together, you won't see air until you get somewhere near my ankles. Each of my thighs is larger around than most men's waists-and I have two of them! They spill over the edges of my chair, they don't fit in most theater-style seating, the only pants I can wear either have huge legs or a lot of stretch, and I've never even once been able to hook my ankle around the back of my neck. And did I mention that roll of fat that hangs from the inside of my knee?

I can't imagine a more appropriate issue to address in my first "Inside" column than what it's like to be "inside" a fat woman's body, and the relationship I have with my thighs is about as "inside" as I can get.

It may come as no surprise to some of you that my thighs have been a cause of great anxiety in my life. I'll admit it-I hated my thighs. Of course I didn't know my thighs were bad until someone who loved me told me they were. It was the summer of third grade. The first day of summer, and I had the typical excitement of a child who had been freed of the restraints of school. I got up bright and early, dressed in shorts and a summer blouse, ready to go out and conquer the world, only to hear my mother declare that I shouldn't wear shorts anymore. A-n-y-m-o-r-e. That word went off like a cannon in my head.

I remember that day as clearly as if it had happened yesterday, and it's no less vivid to me than the first time I was kissed, the first time I had sex, or the day I.... oh wait, I'm getting ahead of myself here.

It wasn't long after that day that I began thinking of myself as a freak. I knew this was true because I saw a book of circus freaks, and right there among the people with hair all over their bodies and the woman with three legs was the circus fat lady-and her thighs looked just like mine.

I knew that if I hid my thighs, I wouldn't have to deal with them, so as I got older, and my thighs got even larger, I began wearing only dark navy, brown, or black doubleknit polyester pants. You know the ones-they had an elastic waistband and seams up the front.

Nine years ago I came up with the ideal solution for losing my thighs. I went ten months without so much as an ounce of solid food. Alas, even that couldn't shake my thighs from my body. Plastic surgery became my next option and the only thing that stopped me from having that done was that my insurance wouldn't cover the procedure. (As an aside, the insurance company did, however, pay for the gall bladder surgery I just had-a condition associated with rapid weight-loss dieting and fasting.)

Of course I fell into the 95-98% of people for whom permanent weight-loss is elusive, and the 200 little "lbs" that had been on vacation found their way back to the outer reaches of my body. They even brought a few friends with them to live within the confines of my dark pants.

Somewhere during the regain, several things happened to me. 1) I saw an ad for NAAFA, requested information, and eventually joined; 2) I got online and discovered the fat-positive online community; and 3) I joined a woman-of-size movement class and established a network of supportive, fat friends. Where do my thighs play into this, you might ask? Well, at some point in time after I got online, I made a dear friend who pointed me toward Dimensions.

I was apprehensive as I opened my first copy, and right there among the women with their double chins, dimply upper arms, and hanging tummies was a beautiful fat woman-and her thighs looked just like mine.

I remember that day as clearly as if it had happened yesterday, and it's no less vivid to me than the first time I was kissed, or the first time I had sex. It was the day I came to terms with my thighs.

My thighs and I recently had a rather large victory, and I hope you'll help me celebrate. I made an agreement with a friend that if she'd wear something at the NAAFA Convention that exposed her arms, I would wear something that exposed my thighs. (Melissa, you looked stunning in your sleeveless party dress.) I am now the proud owner, and wearer, of several brightly colored pairs of shorts.

Yes, each of my thighs is larger around than most men's waists. They're also soft and dimply, and if I'm bored, I can entertain myself just by poking them and watching the ripples. They're strong, with lots of muscle under the fat, so my legs can carry me wherever I go. Oh, and did I mention that roll of fat that hangs from the inside of my knee, or that if I stand with my legs together, that you won't see air until you get somewhere near my ankles? I love my thighs. They're the only ones I'll ever have, and I'm very grateful for them.


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