‘He made me wear shorts!’ I wail to my mother. She’s just collected me from a training session with Marc from fit4u and we’re chatting over a cappuccino before tackling the rest of the day. Well, when I say that we’re chatting, I mean I am talking and my mother is sympathetically listening. If anyone understands how devastating wearing shorts is for me, it’s my Mom. She’s had to endure years of me returning from school practically in tears because I’ve been told I have ‘legs like tree, stumps’. I was also told by one particularly nasty b***h, ‘You’ve got washer woman’s knees. You know? Your knees look as though you’ve been on your hands and knees washing floors most of your life.’
What made the comments so hurtful is that the girls were right. In typical teenage obsession, I spent many moments staring at my legs in the mirror, HATING what I saw; soft, chubby rolls of skin where a neat hard knee should be. How I wished that I had knees like the rest of the girls in the class at the all girls’ school I attended. While they were all trying to flout the ‘no dresses more than two inches above the knee’ rule, I was letting my hem out to cover my knees. Sadly, I still had to wear shorts at physical education classes, so everyone got to see my legs, and so began the merciless teasing.
As I grew up, I came to peace with my legs and knees. I spent some time caring for my cousin who was left paralysed in an accident and my perspective on life changed. At least I had a pair of working legs. I just kept them covered up at all times.
…Till now. ‘So why did he make you wear shorts?’ my Mom asks. ‘Well,’ I reply, ‘when I say made, he strongly suggested that I start training in shorts from now. He knows how self conscious I am about my legs and his argument is that if I enter for the 2013 Miss Fitness contest, I’m going to have to wear a lot less in front of a lot more people than just him. I honestly don’t know if I can do it.’
‘Just do it.’ My mom says, ‘anyway, I think your knees are cute.’
‘I do not want cute knees! Cute knees belong to a toddler. I want sexy knees, like Pippa Middleton!’
Sadly, my knees aren’t the only part of my body I’m in a panic about if I want to get into the miss fitness competition. I have short legs and there is still cellulite clinging stubbornly to the back of them. In theory, a pair of six inch heels, a fake tan and lots of hard work should overcome all that. My knees however…there’s nothing I can do about them. Not even surgery (yes, to my shame, many years back I enquired about it). So, do I just enter and open my self up to mocking on a mass scale, or will I chicken out. I have two months left to decide, so let’s see.