Embrace:Rosie Says

Hi, friends.  This evening I bring you the inaugural post in what I hope will become a regular feature here on the blog.  Emily emailed me her story last night, and I am thrilled to share it here as the first Embrace:Me post EVER.

Writes Emily:

My work has a miniature gym. There are 3 treadmills, an elliptical, a bike and some free weights.

After work, you might think our teensy (but free!) gym might be packed, but apparently everyone makes more money than me (or manages it better) and attends real gyms.

I’m alone for the first 40 minutes of my bike ride, chugging up and down my hills. A woman walks in. We know each other by name, enough to chat for approximately 37 seconds in an elevator. As she puts down her coat and preps for her run, she observes my huffing and puffing:

Her: Looks hard.

Me: Almost done!

Her: You turned up the resistance, didn’t you.

Me: (Proudly, grinning, panting) Yeah… you know…. workin’ it (or something equally idiotic, I don’t remember)

Her: You shouldn’t do that. You don’t want bulky thighs.

Me: (Silence)

She thinks we stopped talking because she started running and bopping along to her ipod. I know it was because I didn’t know what to say next. Although I’m very forthright with strangers, I don’t know how to say to someone who thinks she’s being constructive “shut the fuck up, I like my thunder thighs.” But that is what I would have said. And also, how do you know what why I exercise? Don’t presume that because you work out to be a size 2 (she wasn’t, but whatever), or to make your mother happy, or to look like Gisele/Katy Perry/ScarJo/Beyonce, or because men don’t whistle at you on the street, or because you think you’re supposed to, that any of these reasons is why I work out. I work out because it feels good. Not because it feels good looking in the mirror, mind you, but because the exercise itself feels good. Working hard feels good. Feeling my muscles burn in the moment, and ache the next day, feels good. Doing something today that I couldn’t do yesterday feels good.

So shut the fuck up and leave my thunder thighs alone.

Emily describes her blog Rosie Says as, “a blog about the intersection of three big buckets, sex/gender, media and politics. I’m from Boston, but have made Chicago my home. From a healthy body perspective, I’m most proud of running my first 10K, finally beating my friend Julia at tennis, and improving my chaturangas in yoga class.”

Thanks, Emily, for being brave enough to put yourself forward.  If you would like your story featured as part of the Embrace:Me project, please contact me at icametorun [at] gmail [dot] com, on twitter (@icametorun), or on Facebook.



  1. Oh other Emily, if this happens again, you can just respond that it’s a myth that that will happen: women’s thigh muscles don’t bulk up like men’s do, so you don’t need to look for excuses not to give your legs the workouts they deserve! I think that will get the point across. 😉

  2. Just gonna put this out here anonymously as a guy who knows Emily (really, we only had a class or two together), I think it’s great to see a woman who’s proud of who she is. It sucks to see women who tear themselves apart emotionally for how they look physically, and it’s really refreshing to hear this kind of self-embrace, without being overtly ecstatic about holding pride as a virtue. It’s an amazing example of a healthy emotional balance, that honestly, I don’t have yet (men also suffer from the assumed inadequacy of body, though it’s often cast in a different light).

    And, as a side-note, I think Emily’s pretty damn hot, body-wise and mindset-wise. Not that this is the end-goal, but I’ve found compliments are always nice to hear 🙂

  3. Thanks for the comments everyone! Your attitudes are awesome and your tips for handling gym-bitches and body-snarking are brilliant! And to anonymous, hey thanks, you’re right… who doesn’t love a compliment? Especially one written like that!

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