So, I found that I probably do my best thinking between 5:30 am and 6 am while I am on my way to work in the morning. When there is nobody there to distract me, not even the radio (weird, I know…but I don’t listen to the radio in the car at all). This morning, as I was making the trek into the office, I was flooded with emotion and thoughts about my daughter. She is a very sweet little girl who wears her emotions on her sleeve. Last night, she started to cry as she told me that a little girl at her swimming lessons class laughed at her for hesitating before jumping off the starting block into the deep end of the pool. It really hurt her feelings. Now, how does this lead into body image, right? Nobody said my way of thinking is linear. LOL
I started to think about when I was younger then and how people made me feel from time to time. How I think too many young people are made to feel from time to time. Society tells us that in order to be “attractive” we need to look a certain way. We need to dress in a certain way. It has taken me many, MANY years to work through it, but who the hell cares? I mean seriously! When we pass away and are standing in front of St. Peter at the Pearly Gates, do you think that we will be turned away from Heaven for being overweight, or shopping at Goodwill? No, I certainly don’t. But that is what we are told. Young girls believe that they need to look like the fashion models who walk the runways rail thin. Young men are told that they need to build muscle and look like those ginormous body builders that are on stage. All young people are under the impression that they need to shop at expensive stores and dress in a certain way to be part of the “in crowd” and be considered attractive. I think that is very, very sad.
I recall when I was young, my mom being so concerned about what I was going to look like when I grew up. She said to me on many occasions “I hope you take after me when you get older. The women on the other side of your family are pear shaped”. She reminded me what seemed like ALL THE TIME that my butt was getting big and that she didn’t want me to be a “wide glide”. So, how do you think I saw myself as a developing teenager? Did I see myself as “pretty”? Nope! I was just worried about making sure I didn’t get a big butt! I was more worried about the size of my pants and my thighs than I was anything else. Am I over that? NOPE! I’m working on it! I understand that what I eat and how I exercise effects my appearance, but I am more concerned with just being healthy at this point. But there are times…a lot of times…that I look at myself in the mirror and am a bit grossed out by what is looking back at me. The reality is though…I’ve had 3 children. My body isn’t going to look the same as it did when I was 21 with my 6 pack abs. My tummy isn’t flat, my thighs rub together when I walk. I was even embarrassed the other night ALONE in my living room working out when I heard my thighs slap together. I actually stopped and looked around to make sure that nobody else heard that God awful sound (nobody did, they weren’t even in the room). Sure, I have goals to have a flat tummy again, but I have to also keep in mind that my body was stretched out and created 3 little miracles. If I never have a flat tummy again…that is ok.
My biggest concern goes to our children. I make a very conscious effort to not talk negatively about my body in front of my children. The way I see it…if they see that I am happy with my body, they will not have any reason to talk negatively about their own. At least, if they do…it doesn’t come from any negative influence that I have had on them. I also make sure that I tell them on a regular basis how proud they make me. How beautiful/handsome they are. I tell them how smart they are. I try to make sure that when we talk about them specifically, it is all in a positive manner. This is just my small way of trying to make a difference in the future. I never want my daughter to look at herself and feel the way that I did as I was growing up. I feel it is important to instill confidence in our children, and a part of that is how we view ourselves. There is nothing more important than loving yourself first. If you can’t be comfortable in your own skin and love who you are…how can you make anybody else happy?
So here I am, sharing my body image story and showing that while I may not be perfect. Here I am. Take me or leave me. Now, let’s just make sure our children do not suffer from this affliction like I am sure most of us have.