Mind the Gap

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not up on the A-list celebrity knowhow.  My television choices are limited in the first place because I watch very little tv, but when I do I tend to pick Grey’s Anatomy over Etalk, or Masterchef over Survivor.  Even on those days where you need to watch something completely inane (because we all have those days), you’ll find me watching a pointless TLC show (My Crazy Obsession, anyone?) instead of Jersey Shore.  And in terms of reading material, I don’t think anyone has ever seen me with a People or Vanity Fair, whereas nearly everyone has seen me with a Bon Appétit or Martha Stewart.  Actually, EVERYONE has seen me with a novel, or a book of New York Times Crosswords.  Yep, even my Bon Appétit-dom is limited.

So when my dietician gave me a homework assignment to write a roast, I was a little thrown.  I mean, if we talk about a pot roast, or a roast pork loin, I follow you.  I breathe you.  I eat you…

Sage.

Garlic.

Olive oil.

Moving on…

Needless to say, this wasn’t the roast she was talking about.  You know the kind?  The one where you make fun of something, or rather someone.  And she said to me, look up a roast on Youtube, and watch some of your favourite celebrities to get inspiration.

And cue an hour of my life last night, attempting to find a roast to watch online.  See, my logic is that something really is only going to be funny if you know enough about the thing they’re talking about to understand the jokes.  There are surprisingly few that I was able to find that fit the bill for me.  Actually, there were virtually none that fit the bill because this sums up my knowledge:

  1. Pamela Anderson:  Has boobs and was on Baywatch.
  2. Justin Bieber:  A dark period in Canadian history with a voice and song collection that makes my eyes and ears bleed
  3. Bob Saget: Full House Dad and AFV host.  This ALMOST got watched because I was an avid Full House-er… but still when you only know him as Danny Tanner the subtleties would get missed.
  4. Drew Carey: The most boring part of Whose Line is it Anyway?
  5. Charlie Sheen:  The reason I could never watch Two and a Half Men.  And he snorts Coke.
  6. Joan Rivers: So many plastic surgeries her face doesn’t even move when she talks.  But as to what she actually did, I have no idea.
  7. Hugh Hefner: Who is that?

Yep, that about sums it up.

So by the time I picked something, it was getting late, and I was tired and frustrated.  I settled on Donald Trump, mostly because he’s pretty current right now.  But, once again, my knowledge was limited.  I know he’s running for president, has (had?) a show called the Apprentice, has hair that moves in disturbing ways, and that he reminds me for some odd reason of an equally obnoxious version of Don Cherry minus the awful wardrobe.

Am I the only one that sees a resemblance?!

Side note: a line in the roast, which was from 2009, was that “it is pronounced I am delusional, not I am running for president“.  This one actually made me laugh.

Anyways, I got 20 minutes into the roast.  And I fell asleep.  Maybe the rest was funny… we’ll never know.  I woke up at some point during the night and Joan rivers was talking to someone.  Perhaps if I had woke up more than just enough to slam my laptop shut, I would have learned something about what she does.

Oh well, I guess I’ll never know that either.

So I’ve kind of given up on watching a roast, and I’ll stick to the edible kind.  Unless anyone can find one of Julia Child, Gordon Ramsay, Graham Elliot, or Joe Bastianich, because I might just know enough about that to get into it.  Side note: I didn’t even have to look up how to spell Bastianich.  Word.

On to MY roast.  And guess what I’m roasting?

That’s right. You guessed it.

My number one “fat” marker.

Even as I type that I’m ashamed… but not because I don’t have one.  Or at least that I pretty much don’t have one anymore.  Rather, I’m ashamed that I can say something so cruel, so blatantly.  If you don’t have a thigh gap, you’re fat.  If you don’t have a thigh gap, you don’t work out enough.  If you don’t have a thigh gap, you’re not skinny.  If you don’t have a thigh gap you’re unhealthy.  If you don’t have a thigh gap, you eat wrong.  If you don’t have a thigh gap, you’re wrong.  If you don’t have a thigh gap, you’re unworthy of love.  If you don’t have a thigh gap, you are worthless.  If you don’t have a thigh gap you’re not beautiful.  If you don’t have a thigh gap, you’re nothing.

It’s something I would never say to anyone else, yet something I say to myself day in and day out on a daily basis.  On a minute to minute basis.  On a mirror to mirror basis.  It’s something that is a mathematical equation in my head.  No thigh gap= fat.

And I try to combat it, as hard as I might, but it’s there.  That desire for that unattainable ideal is there.  Because let’s be clear I HAVE HAD the coveted crevice, on three occasions:

  1. When I was a kid, no where near close to puberty.
  2. When I was first admitted to hospital, severely malnourished, underweight, and near death.
  3. During relapse recently, when the doctor seriously threatened re-hospitalization if I didn’t turn things around.  AKA, I was almost, but not quite at the aforementioned point.

That’s it. I’ve come close a few times… yep, the circumference of my thighs begins to decrease and I almost, ALMOST, achieve the great divide and then…

I lose my period. Whoops.

Yep, I lose my period, my body’s definitive way of saying, “Hey you, I’m not healthy anymore so I’m going to turn off your ability to reproduce because it’s too dangerous to carry a child,” and I STILL don’t quite have a thigh gap.  You hear me, STILL HAVE TOUCHING THIGHS AND MY BODY ALREADY SAYS YOU’RE SICK!

The thigh gap is one of those things that seems to be making headlines on a daily basis. Just typing in “thigh gap” on Google, you come up with thousands of articles from “6 steps to a thigh gap”, to “the miracle thigh gap diet”. It is a feature in such high demand, that numerous “fitness experts” are making work out videos geared specifically towards achieving this oh-so-desirable chasm, and countless magazines tout it on their cover stories. It has become the definitive test to show whether you are a physically desirable woman, among women that is (because they’ve done surveys and apparently men don’t find this near as appealing as we do).

Is it a new phenomenon? Not really. It was something that existed in the modeling industry for years to determine whether or not you were a thin enough frame, but here’s the thing: like all crazy fashion epidemics, from bell bottoms to shoulder pads, it eventually spread to the general public. Now, everyone HAS to have one.

But the reality is: naturally, healthily, only a small percentage of the population can achieve this ideal. And these people are not anorexic, they’re not eating disordered, and they probably don’t think twice about it. It’s just part of their make up. They’re perfectly healthy individuals.

To have a thigh gap, naturally, you pretty much have to have a specific bone structure. AKA: you have to have wider hips, you have to have a specific angle created between the pelvis and the femur. Or you can look at whether you’re a mesomorph body type (tend to put on muscle), endomorph (tend to carry more muscle and have a higher body fat percentage naturally), or an ectomorph (have trouble putting on muscle or fat in general- aka most likely to have a natural thigh gap). Or, you can look at the muscles in your thighs themselves, whether your adductor muscles are located higher or lower on your thigh (http://www.jensinkler.com/close-thigh-gap/), or even how muscular you are in general. I mean, chances are, if you do a lot of lower body work and as such have really strong leg muscles, that muscle mass has to go somewhere. But would you tell that same person that they are unhealthy and fat because their thighs touch? To put it in perspective, another dietician once said to me, “You want a definitive way to get a thigh gap? Just develop Rickets!”

So, the obsession has to stop.  But how?

Honestly, I don’t know.

My thighs are my everyday reminder of my own imperfection, but not the human sort, the hideous unforgiveable sort. I will do whatever I can to avoid 360° mirrors and not have to face my backside. I walk up the street and scrutinize every woman’s thigh’s that I see, not so much to bring myself up, but to find a way to knock myself down and show myself that flawless thighs are a reality and an achievable one. I’m just not good enough, not disciplined enough, not worthy enough to achieve it. I breathe a sigh of relief when I pass a woman wearing baggy pants. The scrutiny is so automatic, so engrained, that I don’t even realize I’m doing it until I feel my self-esteem plummet. I can’t wear jeans because their inflexibility makes me feel like my legs are rubbing together more than normal and that I’m gaining fat and cellulite by the minute. I never have owned, though I’ve envied and admired them, a pair of shorts that are shorter than mid thigh, and even then feel unworthy and uncomfortable of even wearing those.

Apparently it’s not enough to fear the food, to fear the food, to fear the scale… now I’m literally afraid of the clothes in my closet too. Win.

Walking to work, even before the eating disorder, was hell because I almost walked into posts or people… I was never looking up but rather looking down at my thighs as I moved, trying to tell if they were jiggling slightly more, or slightly less than the day before. Now it’s a sin for them to jiggle at all. My thighs fuel my exercise addiction. I fear to add more bulk in muscle in the off chance that that might make my thighs touch more, or add on the pounds on the weigh scale, but I’m terrified to stop to only see more cellulite appear, or have my thighs get even closer together to mock me because, get this, it never was muscle build up in the first place. It was fat. It was cellulite. Surprise!

And while cellulite is my prime concern, it is rivaled (coming in a now perilously close second) only by the thigh gap. For me, this ideal didn’t even come into fruition until I was already so ensconced in my eating disorder and at my worst. Actually I don’t remember ever thinking about a thigh gap, or examining other women’s bodies for one until ironically I was in recovery and away at residential treatment. Not until I had reached a point where, after a considerable amount of time that I maintained a weight less than healthy, I suddenly became aware of the fact that my thighs were touching as I stood in the shower one morning. And I panicked, and I freaked out!

Is this normal?!

Did my thighs touch before the eating disorder? I can’t remember!

And if they did, why does it feel so uncomfortable now, so wrong, so… unhealthy?

And now I can’t escape that one either. I can try to quote my old therapist’s phrase that she coined when I erupted in our session that same day, saying “Your thighs aren’t touching… they’re embracing one another.” I can try to say that until the cows come home. They say that if you say something enough times, you eventually get to believe it.

Well… it has been pretty much 2.5 years since she said that, and I don’t believe it yet. Shall I keep telling myself?

No.  But what else do they say?  I heard somewhere that laughter is the best medicine.  Perhaps something becomes less serious, less overwhelming, less consuming, less foreboding if you poke fun at it.  If you roast it.

And I’m a perfectionist, so I’m of course all like: “I have to do this RIGHT!”  So… I googled. Yes I did:

screenshot

And one of the warnings was to consider the personality of the one you’re roasting, because you want to “poke fun, not mortally wound”… BUT, for us because the mortal wounding of the thigh gap wouldn’t be such a bad thing, we can be uncensored. WIN!

So here goes nothing:

So, thigh gap, we’ve been together a while, and now that you’re going I figured it was a good idea to look back on all the good times we’ve shared.  You know, all the times we’ve gone out, shared a pizza, picked up ice cream cones… Oh wait, we didn’t do any of that.  Your aversion to cheese, cream, and anything containing fat kind of put a damper on things.  But we did stand in front of a mirror and bend over to check the space between our legs.  That was a good time!  Totally just as good as a pizza…

Yeah, you’re kind of neurotic and all-consuming.  No, no, don’t get me wrong it’s a good thing!  I mean, we all need that refreshing burst of insanity to spice up our daily routine.  Your insanity actually took up a significant portion of my brain waves, and what else was I going to use that energy for?  Hanging out with friends?  Solving world hunger? Oh wait!  You already did that one, by elevating hunger to a celebrated state of being!  If only everyone was as smart as you we would have realized decades ago that famine isn’t actually a shortfall, it is a heroic circumstance that we should all strive for.  Yeah, it comes with a rather high mortality rate, but come on.  YOLO. Living on the edge!

Yeah, for such a daredevil, you are a bit high-maintenance.  I mean, who else starts their day with 200 lunges and 300 squats?!  Not to mention your expense. I mean I guess I could have gone the cheap route.  You’re one of those friends whose love I apparently can buy for 16.95 plus shipping and handling, in a moisturizing, firming lotion.  But you know me, I go all out.  That treadmill in the back room… yeah, that must have bought ALOT of love from you.

And your frugality… it’s something of legend.  With you, my budget looked great!  I mean when you can cut out 3 of 4 food groups, your grocery bill goes WAY down!  And you taught me to really appreciate the little things in life.  I mean REALLY appreciate the little things… because that’s all I ever had on my plate.  Little things.

But one quality I will always value about you is your honesty.  I always knew where I stood with you.  Somewhere between not good enough, pathetic, and dreadful, and you never were afraid to let me know it.  Sure, maybe it resulted in a few tears, and a few meltdowns, but that is true of any relationship, right?  And we always worked it out, and stayed together for the kids.  You know our daughters, Osteoporosis and Amenorrhea, and our son Bradycardia.  I remember when you suggested we try for a fourth, but we could never decide on a name so we never went there.  Yeah, I could never get on board with your pick of Suicide.

Anyways, the end has come.   I’m sad to see you leave, but my vagina is getting cold.  It’s been a slice.

Wow, that was a little inappropriate.  Ah well.  #sorryI’mnotsorry

And in other news, check out some awesome commentary on the thigh gap trend:

And on a slightly inappropriate, but equally true note:

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