“I’m sensing… Someone in this room has difficulty with… Managing money,” The group of onlookers and spiritual seekers oohed and ahhed in the back of the Namaste Bookshop I just so happened to be in. I took a peek towards the small circle that formed around a rather flamboyant man with pepper hair, intensely massaging his temples with his fingertips. Just so you know, I am not a believer in psychics or mediums. To be honest, I don’t even know what “Namaste” means! Yet everyday I passed the bookshop on fourteenth street, with a life-sized statue of Buddha peacefully smiling by it’s doorstep underneath the serene whispers of wind chimes and incense, wondering what it was about. I probably would have never visited if it wasn’t for this girl Elena, who was determined to buy tarot cards there that day.
“I’m sensing someone in this room… Ahh,” The man grinned above his folded legs, “Someone in this room has an insecurity…. With this area of their body,” He stood up and circled his hands below his hips, “Not exactly their knees, but definitely part of their legs… Their thighs perhaps?” The word struck me like lightning.
“Mhm, baby that’s me!” A heavyset woman cackled with her girl friends while the rest of the group shook their heads in relation.
Elena continued to ignore the spectacle’s conversation as she shuffled through boxes of tarot cards, but it was something about the way the man hissed the word “thighs” that struck my subconscious into a nostalgic haze. Was this man, who had nothing better to do than spook a collection of spiritual fanatics, actually aware one of my major insecurities?
“Look at your thighs,” a girl, whom I’ll call Taylor for the sake of this blog, bluntly pointed out as we sat next to each other on the Brooklyn bound L train, two years prior. I glanced at my lap, not seeing anything out of the ordinary.
“What about them?”
“They’re so… BIG,” she then grabbed one of my thighs with her bony fingers, tickling a nerve and causing my leg to jump. She was five-foot six, like myself. She was sixteen years old at the time, like I was. She was also 99 pounds, which definitely didn’t come close to my weight of 135 pounds. Only one of my thighs were equivalent to both of hers combined. Unexpectedly, I felt disgusted with them.
Though I can proudly say that I’m no longer friends with Taylor, I can’t help but admit those words followed me home that afternoon, and sometimes sits on my confidence to this day. I don’t have a gap between my legs, and when I walk – yes – my thighs do jiggle a bit, but no one had ever pointed them out to me before in such a derogatory manner. The observation began to breed into self loathing as I payed more attention to the way my girl friends looked.
Although I was not willing to put the work into jogging or sacrificing anything over a certain number of calories, I still hungered to have a perfect body like the ones I was surrounded by at school. The desire became desperate when another friend of mine told me her boyfriend suggested a weight loss plan for her.
“But you’re thinner than I am!” I fumed, “What I would give to look like you.” I couldn’t understand why that boy wasn’t proud of the girl whose figure I idolized. It made me wonder if I looked worse than I imagined…
“Ahh yes, insecurity of the thighs,” The spiritual reader sounded pleased with himself, “There is one solution that may change your perspective on this, friends.” I leaned on one of the tarot card shelves, infixed on the man’s lambent words.
“Your thighs are connected to your legs, which hold you to this Earth,” he sat back in his chair, “You shouldn’t pester yourselves on how they look. They may not visually appeal to your liking, but think of the wonders they do for you! You are connected to this earth because of them. You are blessed with the opportunity to go forth with them, walk with them, run with them, jump with them. You can dance with them…”
“Bree,” Elena touched my arm, causing me to jump. I looked down at the plastic bag she was holding, not remembering when she left to the checkout desk, “Ready to go?”
“Yeah,” I chuckled at the realization of what I was doing, and followed her out of the store. Although I don’t believe in mind readers, that man had indeed changed my perspective on my worries. My legs hold me to this Earth… And that’s worth keeping.