I hate my legs.
Not in the "Oh, I really wish I had some of that thigh gap everyone keeps talking about" kind of way, it's more of a "please don't hurt so much today so I can get shit done" thing.
Pain is exhausting and exhaustion is not something I can afford right now. Neither is self-pity. So, to counter at least one of these things, I have decided to make a list. A list of all the things that I actually love about my legs and all the things I have done in my life with these legs of mine - regardless of how messed up with RA they are, how much metal makes up my hip joints or how much my knees hurt right now.
Here they are, in no particular order...
1. I have climbed a mountain with these legs. Ok, so it was a small-ish mountain and I almost died on the way up because I was probably in the worst shape of my life at that time, but after all the tears, the bitching and moaning, and finally, the dude who RAN past me and told me the gondola was for the other 80%, I kept on going and I made it. TO THE TOP OF A FREAKING MOUNTAIN.
2. I've walked the narrow cobblestone streets of Zanzibar's Stone Town with these legs. I've stepped on the plains of the Serengeti and walked on the same grass as giraffes and zebras and elephants and lions. I've danced with women and children in a Massai village. I've stood at the Olduvai Gorge next to the earliest footprints of humans and left a few of my own. That is what I have done with these legs.
3. I danced for seven years with these legs. And every time I hit the stage, I felt like my legs where about to fall away to nothing under me. And yet they did not. They kept me up and moved me to new heights of expression and artistry.
4. I played soccer and basketball with these legs. I hustled, I ran, I jumped, I scored. I was a proud member of my high school's ball teams and I never gave up. Ever.
5. I walked from one class in the Tory Turtle to another in the Clinical Science Building on the University of Alberta Campus in under 10 minutes, every Tuesday and Thursday for a whole damn semester! (Only U of A Alumni will get this.)
6. My legs have carried three bodies. Mine, and those of my children. They have taken on the extra weight of pregnancy and parenthood, both literally and figuratively. They quivered uncontrollably at the births of both of my babies. They anchored me to the ground and to this world as I welcomed these children into it.
7. My legs have taken my beloved dog for at least one walk "around the block" almost every day for the past 10.5 years. That is over 7000 walks with my best friend.
8. My legs have bathed in the waters of three different oceans.
9. I have buried my legs in the sands of many beaches. Ones on Hawaii, in Mexico, in Tanzania, on Vancouver Island, Singapore and St. Lucia. I've walked these beaches hand in hand with the love of my life and our footprints following behind us.
10. My legs have been chairs, horses, trains, boats, and beds for small people's imaginations.
They have 8-inch scars at the top of them to remind me that parts of them are metal-based and will need repair at some point. They have veins lining the backs of them, making it look like a drunk spider designed her web on me after a big bender. There are spots on my legs that weren't there a few years ago, remnants of a sun-worshipping, baby-oil slathering, misinformed youth. Sometimes they rub together when I walk and some days the inflammation in my knees makes it hard to tell where these joints actually begin - those are my maxi-anything wearing days.
These are my legs. Imperfections, scars, cellulite, giant melting freckles, wonky knees and all.
And while I could do without the pain, I do love my legs and I especially love all that they have done and all the places that they have taken me to in this life of mine.