Out on These Limbs

limbs

1.
I came to like football as a careful choice unlike many of my friends for whom the sport was a natural favorite. Growing up, the sport that came to me naturally was basketball. Of course, there was wrestling from TV that I tried out with my younger sibling, which earned me a chipped tooth and sprained wrist, but B-Ball was the sport I played in my sleep. I bought illustrated books on basketball and stayed up late during NBA Nights on TV. I watched movies like Blubber, Love and Basketball, and Like Mike endlessly. I became friends with Akin, the tall but otherwise uninteresting guy and later, Babs, the lanky Hausa boy who opened his mouth to reveal brown teeth and bad English, because of B-Ball.

 

2.
Akin brought the first basketball to school and made those interested practice in the school hall during mid-day breaks. In three weeks, our number dwindled to five. B-Ball proved difficult, particularly avoiding traveling, the game rule violation everyone but Akin and Babs committed repeatedly. Still, I stayed after school to practice throws, which I was good at, especially throwing from the left side of the hoop.

 

3.
“Maybe we should play with Loyola College sometime,” Akin said one day after break-time. He talked in an offhanded manner, leaving a listener to decide what was serious, and what wasn’t. I stopped coming to practice after that day. Babs cornered me to find out why.
“I don’t like how I have been sweating and having to wash my uniform all the time,” I told him, stealing glances at his legs.
He had spindly legs like mine, only fairer and straighter. I didn’t want to tell him the thought of stepping into another school in shorts—my legs exposed and defenseless—was enough to give me a migraine. It was not going to happen.

 

4.
I found I could play football with a pair of jogging pants if I wanted to. Then, I found I couldn’t play real matches with jogging pants, except as a goalkeeper. So, I became a goalkeeper.

 

5.
When I was called up to stand in front of my secondary school assembly and announced as the male senior prefect, I imagined that the sea of eyes staring at my bony legs, sticking out underneath my blue shorts, zoomed in on every hair follicle. The next week, I had two pairs of shorts made. The new pairs were a couple of inches longer than my former knee-length pairs. Everyone called me three-quarters head boy. Standing in front of a mirror, my legs, sticking out from mid-calf to ankle, did not look so thin.

 

6.
At NYSC camp, I always looked forward to evenings and weekends when I could wear my long, oversized, khaki pants. On weekdays, I pulled down my small shorts until they grazed the edge of decency. I sat in the middle row during boring lectures from NGOs and prospective employers and stayed away from crowded places like the mammy market, where a drunk corps member could spew remarks about my broomsticks legs.

 

7.
Earlier this year, a female friend saw my lower legs because I was reclining and stretching my feet.
“You should wear shorts, Akintunde, you have really fine legs,” she remarked.
That day, I ordered a wine pair of combat shorts in size 30. I drove to work wearing a gray T-shirt over the combat shorts and a pair of brown ankle boots the day after the shorts arrived. I strutted into every office and later in the afternoon, strolled down the busy road in front of the office, saying hello to a couple of people. I stared back at the faces whose eyes lingered on my form, their approval or disapproval notwithstanding, and smiled consciously. I couldn’t drive after work so I took a total of four cabs en route home, transiting at busy terminals. The fascinating glances I received from homebound commuters made me wonder if I hadn’t been saved by my car in the morning, if my comfortable denim pants wouldn’t have been the better choice. That evening, my youngest brother came home from school and threw me a mock salute when he saw my outfit. When he was leaving three days later, I gave the combat shorts to him, packed in the plastic bag in which it had come.

 

© Akintunde Aiki 2016

Akintunde Aiki is an engineering apostate who currently finds joy in beautiful writings. He thinks Friday is the best day and November the best month. He loves all shades of the color blue. If he can get off the internet more, he’ll probably write a book. He blogs at Koroba.

 

Photo credit: Unsplash/ https://pixabay.com/en/feet-boots-filling-cabinet-legs-1246673/

©Timi Yeseibo 2016

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Timi Yeseibo and livelytwist.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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35 thoughts on “Out on These Limbs

  1. Hi Timi,

    Ah, this reminded me of my own “Leggy Affair” XD

    I didn’t think that men had hang-ups about their legs, it’s rather nice to know that we all suffer these things. Funny how we torture our own selves far more than anyone else will about these so-called flaws.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I found reading your post extremely entertaining. Contrary to popular belief, men struggle with body image issues just as much as women, except that men don’t bicker much about it. One thing I took away from your post is that everyone has different tastes and that is nature’s comic way of smiling at us. Otherwise, I don’t see why your female friend would have given you such a really nice and uplifting comment about your limbs. In one wonderful way, you are still extremely lucky if your insecurities are about the size of your legs. I say that considering the millions of dollars that have been accrued by penile implant surgeons and those in the penis size enlargement pill industry. You know as they say, broad shoulders, six packs and v-lines only get you through the front door, the package is what actually keeps you in the bedroom. Never mind those fascinating glances and stares on your way back home from work while wearing shorts. Possessing the body you desire might make you feel more confident, but it’s often just a placebo. Those who are frankly confident embrace imperfection, own it, use it to their advantage.
    Now, I’m heading over to Koroba for more.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Reading your interesting comment, a line from a song I vaguely remember comes to mind: “…I’m perfectly incomplete, working on my masterpiece tonight…”

      Perfectly incomplete sounds nice and helpful, like making a mole of a mountain.

      Thanks for the comment, man.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Hi Akintunde,

        I really enjoyed reading this well-written piece, Story 7 cracked me up. Lol @ “saved by my car”

        Funny how when we don’t care what others think, it becomes an easier affair (I’ve been listening to George Michael’s “An Easier Affair”) 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Woah! I really love this piece of writing. Kudos to you Akintunde.
    It’s sad how we allow others perception of some imperfect features of bodies determines our carriage and reaction.
    At least you had a positive and encouraging nudge and that’s good.

    Thanks for sharing this part of your life with us. God bless you.

    PS: Aunty Timi, Pls am I eligible for to participate in this seven series writing? How can Icontact you ma?

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Sometimes, I wonder which is worse: super skinny or super fat legs. Basketball was fun for awhile, I was the best at travelling and scratching my opponents.
    Lovely, Akintunde, I enjoyed this also

    Liked by 4 people

    1. “The opinions of those around us can easily influence our decisions, and choices.”
      Begs the question if it’s a binary thing: good or bad.

      I’ll be glad to share the story when I finally revisit it. Lol.

      Thanks for reading.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Enjoyed reading your piece. I am not much for wearing shorts but I will in hot weather. When I was a human resources manager in New Jersey sometimes in the summertime candidates would arrive wearing shorts for a job interview. I wouldn’t interview them and sent them home. Made few people mad but wearing shorts to a job interview is just not appropriate. In Louisville some people wear shorts in the wintertime. They will wear a jacket and shorts. I always say if it’s cold enough to wear a jacket it is cold enough to wear long pants. Cheers! Even though it’s Monday I wish you happy Friday!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Body image can be a funny, complicated thing. One person sees you and says a part of the body is gorgeous and you flaunt it, then another comes and says it’s horrible and you rush to hide it. God help you if you’re more interested in impressing the latter than the former; it’s a long winding road to terrible self esteem.

    Of course your legs are objectively thin, by now you know that, but who cares if the world thinks stick-legs are a thing to hide? The world is fickle and today’s fashionable acts will soon become tomorrow’s taboo. We can only hope to find the strength to like our bodies the way they are like we’re our own John Legend singing love songs to our skin. In the end, loving our bodies and striving to keep them as healthy as we can is all we can strive for in this world of sin.

    You worry a lot though, and care about people, which isn’t a bad thing. We can’t all live our lives raising a middle finger to the world. Just start praying your children inherit their mother’s legs so they’ll be spared this agony. 🙂

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Lol @ inherit their mother’s legs. I hope her legs aren’t stick thin too! 🙂

      You make valid points Ife, which in adolescence sometimes seem hard to grasp. Later in life, we (hopefully) come into our own, though the occasional demon torments us.

      Me thinks Akintunde is doing fine with his legs.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Interesting from your story how we allow our perception of what people think right or wrong control our actions. Was with some old friends at the park yesterday and one of us continuously avoided taking pictures after taking her some shots she couldn’t believe how good she looked in those pictures infact even strangers wanted to take pictures of her. I didn’t understand where she got the idea she didn’t look good in pictures maybe one bad shot in the past but I proved her wrong cause I ended up taking her more pictures than I planned cause she totally enjoyed being snapped and the result.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Thanks for this comment with its story. How an unthoughtful comment, or an unkind look (whether real or unintended) from another person, about our appearance can have a long-term effect on how we see ourselves is an interesting phenomenon. The converse also holds true. More interestingly is how sometimes, these assessments may only fleeting, something intended only for that moment.

      PS. I’ll sure go out more on these limbs. 😀

      Liked by 2 people

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