I hated my legs growing up. I hated my giant thighs and dark, ashy knees. I loathed the fat on the inside of my upper thighs I like to call crotch muffins. I wasn’t much different than any other young Mexicana. Girls my age were all dancing and doing gymnastics, but I couldn’t do a single cartwheel. The white girls, their legs were strong but still thin, even when folded over, unlike mine. The cheerleaders would wear short Soffe shorts with the waistband folded over. I was resentful of their tan, lean, hairless legs.

I used to only wear jeans. It was hard for me to find pants that fit because not only am I 5’3, but I have very short legs. I hid my stumps underneath ill-fitting jeans with strings of denim, frayed, hanging from each leg. I’ve always had to go up at least one size to account for my curves. There is always a gap between my lower back and the waistband of my jeans. If you were wondering if you are curvy, that’s how you know.

Cosmopolitan magazine says that your 20s are all about revelations. Not that Cosmopolitan is a very reliable source, but in my case, this is true. I cut my first pair of Levi jeans into shorts in 2008, jorts, I like to call them. You couldn’t get me out of them. I’d wear them until they were so loose they were falling off. I survived many long Summers (and Winters with the help of tights and boots). One faithful pair turned into too many to count. My closet consists of several hanging shelves stuffed with them. I’ve begun to wonder why people wear people wear pants at all.

I had a full-length mirror in my room that leaned against the wall. The slanted angle made me appear longer, leaner, and more slender. I often left the house (still do) with false confidence about my image, immediately shattered by catching reflection of the same dark, ashy stumps I call my legs. There was a grandiose sense of liberation in the year of the jort. This is my body and whoever doesn’t like it can besame el trasero.

One of my best homegirls, I won’t say her name because she’d kill me if I did, she calls her legs tree trunks. She complains about them endlessly. It’s always about stubble, her weird knees, stretch marks, or the cellulite that only she can see. I saw something different. Her legs are tan and smooth, never prickly. The shape of her thighs is round, but firm, with no ripples in sight. To me, she had beautiful legs and I envied them.

I gave her a pair of neon peach jorts. Not too short or too tight – great for beginners. She was reluctant at first. They came up her thighs easily and complimented her voluptuous backside. I saw the way she looked at herself in the mirror (correctly hung and all). I could tell she liked what she saw. We went out that night, and when she danced, she was electric.

Insecurities are just small obstacles in life meant to be overcome. All it took was a razor and pair of jorts. My legs are still the same banged-up, brown, ashy stumps they were when I was a girl, but I love them, crotch muffins and all.

Author: Teresa Longoria

I have an incontrovertible sense of humor. There is beauty and magic in everything around me.

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