Don't dwell on things you cannot change

Posted: September 05, 2007

I admit it: I have cankles.

What is a cankle, you may ask? Cankles are when there is no definition between your calf and your ankle. Since I am short, my cankles cause my legs to resemble tree stumps.

I tried for a long time to disguise my cankles under long pants or with mile-high heels that elongated my legs. I would get jealous when I saw other women with slim and dainty ankles, and then obsess over my lack of them.

The problem is that there is no way to get rid of cankles, except maybe plastic surgery, which is not an option for me. I thought that if I toned up my calves, my ankles would look thinner, but that made my legs look manlier and my ankles look as swollen as a pregnant woman in her third trimester.

If I want a flatter stomach, I do more crunches. If I want a firmer bottom, I squat like a madwoman. If I want to tone my arms, I grab some weights and do bicep curls. My body could be perfect, but I would still have cankles.

One day, I finally came clean to a friend about my insecurities. "I've got cankles," I blurted out. She looked down, examined my legs, and said, "Yeah, you do." That was it.

Once I had said it aloud, I began to accept it. I was a thin girl, I just happened to have fat ankles. The more I came to terms with that, the easier it was for me to accept other "flaws" that I had no control over. For example, my second toes are bigger than my big toes on both feet, I have a dimple in the middle of each of my butt cheeks, my shoulders are broad, I have a small chest, and my cheeks never lost their baby fat. Also, my skin is pale and I don't tan. (My skin has two colors and those are white and red, possibly orange if I use fake tan.)

There is no sense in focusing on the things I can't change. Now, I concentrate on the parts of me I can improve. So, I do a few more crunches, some extra squats, and some bicep curls. I laugh about my big toes and wear SPF 30 lotion to protect my light skin. I still wear mile-high heels because I love them, but I no longer get jealous of women with skinny ankles.

It's a cliche to say that nobody is perfect, and that isn't the point I am trying to make. You can't control the weather, and you can't control having big feet, so get over it. Work on what you can change and stop dwelling on what you can't.

Whenever someone mentions cankles, I show them mine, and then brush it off by saying, "Whatever. I'm a skinny girl with fat ankles."

Lauren Siegler lives and writes in Cinnaminson.

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