Almost every girl I know has a part of their body that they don’t like, or at least a part of their body that they consistently wish would change. For some it’s a constant desire to have smaller thighs, perhaps a flatter stomach or perkier back side.
As for me, the one thing that always tormented me growing up was not one of these obvious choices. In fact, when you hear it, you may laugh, because it really does seem pretty funny.
Sure, I always wanted smaller thighs when I was younger, and there was a while when I wondered if my butt would ever be considered “normal”. But these things I learned to embrace and love, and I have grown to find them beautiful over time. And then there are my knees.
Knees, you ask? Who even looks at knees? Well, I’ll tell you. An insecure little girl with mildly chubby legs, and genetics that have given her mildly chubby knees. I’m not kidding you when I say that I spent a good part of my youth looking at the knees of my classmates, wondering why I didn’t have bony little kneecaps instead of the marshmallow fluff that seemed to settle around my legs.
You see, I may have been a little chubby at times, but I was never “fat” growing up. I was the same size as a lot of my friends, but still, they had pointy little knees and I had what I thought looked like pincushions. (I know this makes me sound like a crazy person, but stay with me here.)
It wasn’t until the end of high school/beginning of college that I began to find some peace with my little pudgy knees. Enter: Destiny’s Child. Now, what does a late 90s girl band have to do with my chubby little knees?
Two words: Queen Bey.
It was around this time that I started watching Destiny’s Child videos (remember when videos were cool?), and realized that this beautiful woman, this amazing goddess called Beyonce Knowles had “fat” knees too. Here she was, reminding all of us that we weren’t ready for her jelly, yet she wasn’t perfect. She wasn’t the image of long, thin legs that everyone at the time said was perfect. Yet she was, and still is, revered as one of the most beautiful women on this planet. And whether you agree with that or not (but I mean, lets be real, there’s really no question there), it’s pretty apparent that that is the perception. Beyonce, although not model-thin, is beautiful.
It was at that very moment that my knees stopped being fat. Instead, they became my Beyonce knees. I kid you not when I say it was the first time that I realized that legs that looked like mine could be considered beautiful. That knees don’t have to be bony and knobby, and that a little extra cushioning on your legs is not a curse after all. Because Beyonce had fat* knees too. And Beyonce
was is a goddess.
Now I’m in my 30’s, and you know what? I still have Beyonce knees. No matter how thin I’ve gotten over the years, and more recently how muscular, the shape and appearance of my knees has not changed. Yes, my legs have changed over time, but I still do not have, and will never have, “skinny” bony knees. The simple fact of this is because it’s all about genetics, and that’s just how my legs were made.
Some people have longer, thinner legs. Some people have shorter, muscular legs. Some people have naturally well defined calf muscles and some people have match sticks for legs. The shape of your body, for the most part, is determined by genetics. Sure, you can manipulate it somewhat with diet and weight training, but for the most part, your body type and shape sticks with you for life. I will never have long thin legs, but I will always have a relatively small waist, just as long as I keep my health and body composition in check. It’s just the way I’m built.
My Beyonce knees in all their glory.
I have friends who have naturally slender legs (and skinny knees of course), who gain weight mostly around their midsection. Again, it’s just the way they’re built, and that’s not something we can change.
So if a flaw is something that is inherent to us, something that we can’t change, is it really a flaw? Or is it just part of who we are as humans, part of what makes us so beautiful and interesting as creatures? Next time you find yourself criticizing something in the mirror, take a second and turn those thoughts into something positive. I don’t have “fat knees”, I have Beyonce Knees. And they are fierce, because Queen Bey would have it no other way**.
Stop picking apart your body when most of it is determined by genetics. Stop looking at the tiny bit of flesh you have on your upper arms and wishing it away; stop looking at your upper thighs and wishing a visible gap between them. You were built a certain way, and you can manipulate it, but you can’t totally change it (without going to drastic and often unsafe measures).
Because once we find peace with ourselves, that’s when the real change begins to happen. Once you can learn to appreciate your body for what it is and what it does instead of dwelling on every perceived flaw, that’s when you can truly see the beauty in yourself. I could go around my entire life hating my legs, hating my knees, constantly trying new diet schemes and exercise plans to get the bony knees I wanted as a kid. But instead, I have learned to embrace and appreciate my legs for what they are.
If you’re constantly chasing something that can never possibly happen (such as the “perfect” body), how can you expect to be happy, I mean truly happy, ever? I feel like women are on a constant hunt for perfect body parts when they have everything they need already, within themselves. Look in the mirror and find a way to love what you see, even if you see some things that you want to improve.
Because as the Queen herself would say: You are fierce, and you are flawless.
*In the .0000000000001% chance that Beyonce would actually read this, I just want to be clear that I mean absolutely no insult by saying that she has “fat” knees. Thick knees. Is that a thing? Ok then. You know what I mean.
**I also want to add in that I’m exponentially disappointed by the recent allegations that Bey photoshopped some pictures of her on a yacht to give herself a thigh gap (although, I think the knees were left untouched, so there’s that). Maybe she does need to read this post after all.