By Denise Bennett

It’s mostly the simple things.

crossed legs | Photo showing Denise's crossed legsDon’t get me wrong. I love my new, slimmer legs. I love the fact that they no longer ache. I love that I can slip into most pants without worry and that I own three pairs of boots that I would never have been able to wear a year ago. I love watching my reflection in the glass doors as I walk into my work office each morning.

I love all of that, and so much more.

But most days, it’s the simple things. It is crossing my legs. It is glancing in a window at an outdoor café while I cross my legs and take notice of how normal I look. It is sitting in a meeting and effortlessly crossing my legs. First my left over right. Waiting about 15 minutes then, simply uncrossing and effortlessly crossing my right leg over the left.

No need to pick up my leg and drag it over to the other leg, and let it drop, and then nonchalantly placing my hand in a strategic way to keep my leg up there without it getting a mind of its own and wildly jerking itself down to the ground.

It’s the simple things.

It is the lightness, the effortless way that I can pick my leg up without shifting my hips from one side to another to somehow make more room for my leg out there in space. It’s about the cozy way that one knee just slides into a nice resting spot on top of the other knee. It’s about how I can gently bounce my leg up and down, and then effortlessly switch to the other leg if I feel like it.

It’s the normalcy. A feeling never previously felt. That’s right. Always before there was a guardedness. A sense that everyone was staring at my legs. I used to watch the shadow that my legs created on the sidewalk as I walked. Mile after mile, I would watch the shadow on the pavement as my thighs rubbed together, and my knees rubbed together and my calves got all mixed up into each other. I would watch. I would wonder what was wrong. I would say to myself, I will walk and walk and walk until this fat goes away and my legs no longer cast a shadow on the pavement as I lift these heavy legs along on this journey.

It’s the simple things. Like looking for that shadow now, and not finding it. Just walking. Normalcy. It’s buying knee-high socks, and pulling them up over my calves, and they reach all the way to my knee. They don’t slide down my leg anymore. I don’t have to fold them down to my ankle because they won’t go all the way up anymore.

I am experiencing normal for the first time. Some things are harder to adjust to. Like, I still stand in some weird abnormal way (so I have been told.) “Stop doing that with your legs,” I’m told. “Doing what?” I ask. “Standing like you are, with your legs in some weird, abnormal position, pushing your calves together. It doesn’t look normal.” I look down at them. What is she talking about. She takes a picture and shows me. “Oh,” I say. I do that. I do that to try and hide my calves from staring eyes. I don’t know how to stop. I am trying to learn.

It is the simple things most days. But some days, it is difficult to leave the past behind me.

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