I saw a video yesterday that a friend shared on Facebook, and it had me sobbing. If you’ve never been bullied, you may not understand how this boy feels. I wasn’t physically bullied, but there were verbal taunts. Thankfully, before High School, I didn’t have to deal with that too much. It was during High School. There was one taunt that I heard time and time again, from one person, “Thunder Thighs”.
In my mind, rationally, I knew that I had muscular thighs because I had been playing soccer for years, I rode horses and did farm work. It was perfectly logical for me to have large thighs. Intellectually, I knew that I was not defined by my legs and that this person who taunted me was just some ignorant Jackass. I was, and am, an incredibly intelligent person. I knew that the list of good, attractive qualities I had was long, and it still is.
Irrationally though, this taunt wore on me. It affected me more than I should have let it, and probably more than this person ever knew. I’d succumbed to the taunts and felt that I was a very unattractive person for many years. When I got to college, and started to get asked out, I was flabbergasted. Surely these men were blind! I was unattractive… I had “thunder thighs” which I was led to believe were very undesirable and therefore, I was unworthy of being dated and being loved.
Today, my legs are still my least favorite part of my body, but I’m learning to like them. They allowed me to play soccer for many years. They’re strong. My legs allow me to power myself around and have helped me climb mountains, quite literally. They facilitate my ability to walk and run, and I’m hoping they’ll carry my through my first 5K in 2012 in cooperation with my heart.
I still remember the sting from those words… I don’t know if I ever will forget the way that taunt made me feel “less than”. Eventually my feelings for the taunter went from utter hate and loathing to something a little “less than”. I pity them and their ignorance now. I had to let go of that intense hatred I felt because it gave them too much power over how I felt. It’s probably one of the reasons I haven’t attended a class reunion, I might haul off and punch this person in the kisser if I ever saw them.
The best revenge for me is to have found wonderful friends and a husband who remind me that I’m a great person, and not defined by my thighs. The best revenge was getting asked out, quite a lot, in college. The best revenge now? Modeling. That’s been a tremendous booster of my confidence.
I did learn some valuable things from this taunting. I learned to be more conscientious of how I treat others and what I say to them. A misspoken word or turn of phrase can have lasting affects. I learned to appreciate my body, and that is continuing. I’ve learned to laugh at myself, because if I can’t laugh at myself, how can I laugh at another? I’ve learned to be a strong person and to appreciate my intelligence even more, because looks eventually fade but I will always have my intelligence.
I can only hope that the boy in this video gets the support he needs, and I think he will – the comments people have left on his video are wonderful (yes, there are some jackasses out there who made rude comments as well). Life really does get better, I know mine has. I encourage you to watch the video, and if you have kids (or grandkids or nieces and nephews) – TALK to them. Talk to their teachers, find out what’s going on. It takes a village to raise a child, and the villages have been disbanding; it’s time for them to come back together.