Emergency Optimism: How My Cankles Can Help You Date

Last week, I hit the beach in Montauk on a stormy day for a walk along the water. I was having so much fun splashing my feet in the water, I took a few photos of my toes in the surf. But what was the first thing I thought when I looked at the cool shots later? “Ugh, look at my cankles.”

Look at the essence, not the flaw! (Image: Amy Spencer)

Yep, I have cankles. Essentially, this means my calves hit my feet without slimming down into adorbly skinny little ankles like girls I’ve admired. My legs are more like, sorta, two big tapered logs.

Of course, when I showed the pictures to my friend Todd, he said, “What are you talking about? What cankles? All I see is cool water and a cute foot.” Ya gotta love Todd.

So…how can this help your love life? Recognize that we all do this. We find the little parts of ourselves we don’t like—the cowlick in our hair, the mole on our cheek, the bulge of our thighs, the waddle in our neck, the lack of dollars in our wallet, the bummer in our attitude, the job we don’t love—and we think that this small part of us is the first glaring thing that people see. If you’re single, you might think: “What person is going to like me when I have this cowlick, this mole, this waddle, this job, this attitude?” The answer is: The right person.

Because that cowlick or mole or waddle or job or attitude is not all of who you are. You are—and I know this to be true—a profoundly complex, interesting, wonderful, beautiful human being despite or perhaps because of all the small things that make you different. So you have a cowlick, awesome. So you have a waddle, big whoop. So you have a job you hate, you’ll work on finding one you love. Those little things you don’t like about yourself are just that: little things. Big deal! A little thing only becomes big when you set the magnifying glass in front of it.

And if a guy or a girl you like is so lame that they don’t like you for some little part of you like that? My word, why would you want them around in your life a second longer? You want and deserve a person who runs their hand along your hairline in love with the little ‘lick, who kisses the mole on your cheek, who wants to grow dollars in both of your wallets together.

And you do realize, those “issues” are only obvious to you. The other people you think are fixated on your “glaring” issues are actually too focused on the flab on their arms, the chip in their teeth, the bald spot on their head and the rust on their car to notice the things you think are problems about yourself.

I have cankles. It’s a fact. But instead of pointing it out to people (uh, after this one exception), I’m going to start loving them for being mine. They’re my cankles on my legs and if I’m using them to kick up sea water on the sand, then that’s a pretty great place for them to be.

Please, do the same for yourself: Stop pointing out your supposed “flaws,” and start looking at yourself from a larger place. In the big picture, you’re perfectly balanced and miraculously wonderful. Your dings and scratches are what make you special, and without them, you’d be a plain old average bore with no marks to signify you’re unique and living life some. Love who you are from head to cankle, every last bit.

Tell me, what are you going to stop magnifying and start accepting and loving from now on?

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Big love,