I've been going back and forth for days about what body part to feature for Academichic's Dress Your Best blog event this week. As I tried to decided, I noticed that several of Academichic's posters chose to feature body parts they'd once loved less, including pregnancy-induced body changes and a delightfully uneven face. Coincidentally, I'd been in a discussion elsewhere online about learning to embrace and even love body parts you used to dislike, so I decided that would be a good guiding principle for my Dress Your Best contribution.
From there, it wasn't hard.
I have really big arms. It's hereditary--all of the women in my mother's family have big arms, even the ones who are thin. My grandmother has what my grandfather referred to as "blacksmith arms." She's a big, strong woman and she's got natural guns. Apparently it's a strong gene.
Having big arms is something hard to love as a woman, at least early on. For one thing, nothing about you (with the exception, to a point, of your breasts) is supposed to be big. For another, it's a hassle--shirt-sleeves quite often to do not fit around my upper arms, even in shirt sizes that are otherwise too big. I can't take my blood pressure with the machine at the drugstore, because my arm doesn't fit properly in the cuff. These are small things, but the annoyances add up.
I've never hated my arms enough to try to hide them--I wear sleeveless shirts more than most people do, and certainly more than a lot of people my size do (in part because of the aforementioned sleeve fitting issue). But they've never really been something I fully embraced.
Until now. Over the past six months, as I've spent more time and the gym and lifted higher weights, my arms have changed. They've--no joke--gotten bigger. They've also gotten much more developed musculature, and they've gotten stronger. Suddenly, it's clear what an asset they are. I have a greater natural strength than many, many women. I have the ability to fairly easily build serious muscle. And I like that.
I like that a lot, actually. Muscular arms have always been a back-of-my-mind goal, ever since, as a pre-teen, I saw Linda Hamilton doing pull-ups in Terminator 2. While I know I'll never be built like Linda Hamilton, I've since noticed some other really impressive arms that are more within my reach:
Photo via Fitness Magazine
And so, I'm inspired, today, to celebrate my arms.
Who needs subtle?
#8 Loft black cotton pants
#20 Ann Taylor black sleeveless pintuck collar top (thrifted)
#26 Sofft black wedges
-Forever 21 rhinestone and feather bib necklace