I hadn’t planned on participating in August MacLaughlin’s Beauty of a Woman Blogfest. I didn’t find out about it until my BFF Ingrid Schaffenburg asked me to look at her post for typos (check out her post here. It ROCKS). So here goes.
Yes, I am a total joiner.
Let me start out with a little back story. I was never the pretty one in the family. I had two cousins who were stunning…then there was me. Family members would say, “Oh, Cara and Sonja are just so gorgeous. And Kristen, she is so…smart.” I guess it was a compliment. And, in fairness, my cousins looked like Mila Jovovich and Darryl Hannah so it was hard not to look plain next to those two. It still is. They still are DROP DEAD GORGEOUS and I love them both to pieces.
Anyway, when I was thirteen, I wanted to enter a modeling contest and the family laughed. They thought I was kidding. Later, when I was sixteen a family member told me, “Kristen, it’s a good thing you are so smart. Not like you are going to catch a husband with your looks.” And I suppose all of that was bad enough, but I had a nickname I never could escape and it bothered me far more than the remarks about my plain looks (yes, I was a late bloomer and thank GOD for makeup). What was the nickname?
See, I am only 5’4″ on a good day when all the planets are in line, and I am of…stockier build. I started ballet before I was four, and I never stopped dancing. I dreamed that one day I would dance in NY, so I practiced for HOURS. One day, a girl at recess called me “Horse Legs” and that was the first crack in my previously bullet-proof confidence. Suddenly, I realized that all the other girls in my ballet class were long and willowy. So were the ballerinas in the pictures on my wall. For the first time, I realized I was different.
We can call Kristen a lot of things, but “willowy” ain’t one of them.
Anyway, a boy at school heard the “Horse Legs” comment and decided to up the ante and call me Thunder Thighs…which stuck.
The 80s were a dreadful time for somebody with 21 inch thighs. The skinny jean with the tapered ankle was in style and I would get stuck in my jeans…literally. I remember one day my dad had to get involved. By this time, I’d given up dance and taken up soccer, and my jeans were stuck on my calves. Took someone with a good grip to free me from my denim snare.
And it was bad enough to have Thunder Thighs because I was fit, but later I struggled with my weight. If anything stopped me from a regular workout, I gained weight quickly…all in my butt and thighs. I recall one time I gained a lot of weight after a nasty ankle injury. I had tipped the scales, and, for the first time, I had to go over to the plus size section. I remember retreating to the shadows near the escalator so no one would see me cry.
For those followers out there on the heavy side, what SADIST determined that African animals across the @$$ was a good idea? Oh this row of zebras across my derriere makes me look three sizes smaller! This giant hibiscus on my left boob makes me look so svelte!
But you know what? I am happy for that experience, and I am happy for my Thunder Thighs. Hey, at least I have legs that take me where I need to go. I’ll admit that I still struggle with loving the Kristen I see in the mirror, but the cool thing is that I have learned to love the Kristen I see reflected in other people much more. To me, THAT Kristen? SHE is the pretty one. The Kristen who keeps the new writer from giving up, who encourages the retiree who struggles to tweet.
My weight goes up. It goes down. Hell, I have everything from a size 2 to a size 16 in my closet. But, at the end of the day, none of that really matters when it comes to beauty. Real beauty is a white light we shine into the world, and we can only see it reflected in others. Kindness, generosity, love, patience are all qualities that make those around us glow…and we all look skinnier in that kind of lighting .
I know what it feels like to be “the plain girl” and “the fat girl” and that is cool, because it freed me up to learn to be “the kind girl” and “the fun girl.” Life is short and so am I. I will never have 88 inches of skinny model legs. I still want to write Target hate mail because they still INSIST on carrying 15 different varies of SKINNY jeans and only two curvy styles, but it doesn’t bother me like it used to.
Having Thunder Thighs caused pain, true. But, as my friend Ingrid tells me, “Humor is birthed from pain.” And I always add, “Which is why I am so damn funny.” I believe that, when we learn to laugh at our imperfections, it frees us to grow, to learn. I think one of the most beautiful things about me is I can laugh at anything, and I am not afraid to share my screw ups so I can help others learn. Maybe if I had been as beautiful as my cousins or as willowy as Ingrid (who was a professional ballerina and frets over her her small boobs–seriously check out her post). Maybe if I ‘d been anything other than the smart, plain, girl with the Thunder Thighs I wouldn’t be here…and I wouldn’t have you guys.
Which means I wouldn’t change a thing.
And P.S. I actually didn’t catch a husband because of my looks, or even because I was smart. I caught him because I was FUNNY . Thank you, Thunder Thighs!
LAUGH! It makes you beautiful!
Thanks, August for the challenge!
So what about you? Maybe you haven’t participated in this blog fest, but you can share here. Do you struggle with Thunder Thighs? Have you ever had to endure the Zebra Pants of Shame? Do you loathe Target and their 50 varieties of skinny jeans? What part of you did you have to make peace with? Maybe it isn’t even your looks. Are you shy? Do you collect bar coasters and love to yodel and it has interfered with finding a husband?
…whoa. Just kind of went Jerry Springer there.
And on the next edition of Kristen Lamb’s Blog. Her commenters confess to a secret life in the circus!
Whatever. Have fun. Share. It counts for the contest.
I LOVE hearing from you!
And to prove it and show my love, for the month of February, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly. I will announce last week’s winner on Friday.
I will pick a winner every week for a critique of your first five pages. At the end of February I will pick a winner for the grand prize. A free critique from me on the first 15 pages of your novel. Good luck!
I also hope you pick up copies of my best-selling books We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer . Both books are ON SALE for $4.99!!!! And both are recommended by the hottest agents and biggest authors in the biz. My methods teach you how to make building your author platform FUN. Build a platform and still have time left to write great books.