Growing up I thought very negatively about myself. It wasn’t that I had any reason not to like the way I looked, it is just plain hard being a preteen/teenage girl in the world today. I had friends that, by the time I was 11 years old, were constantly making comments like, “have you seen ____ lately? They’ve gained so much weight!”, or “____ has gotten so skinny lately! I wonder if she’s anorexic..”. There was constantly a focus among my peers, acquaintances, and friends about how everyone looked. Everyone talked about weight, makeup, hair, clothes.. Anything that had to do with looks, it was talked about. I’m aware that there’s no way to ignore it or to stop it, and that sadly it’s just a part of life. However I remember being that age and suddenly adults started talking the same way. It wasn’t just girls my age but women that I was supposed to look up to suddenly started talking about other women’s looks behind their backs. People were constantly asking me, “Look at that girl. Do I look about the same size as her? Would you say I’m smaller than her?”. As a young teen I was always so uncomfortable answering that question. It never occurred to me to compare my body to someone else’s. It never crossed my mind that people might compare me to someone else they saw on the street. Knowing that upset me, and it made me hurt for the girls that people were comparing themselves to.
As I’ve grown older I’ve learned that no matter where I look there will be a constant need of women for affirmation of their looks. Our world is focused around looks and being skinny. Girls as young as 7 & 8 are wanting to wear makeup to school. Children are losing their childhood because everyone is too busy focusing on growing up and being the prettiest, most popular, skinny kid in the class. I refuse to be the reason that my daughter feels the need to grow up too quickly.
I refuse to talk to my daughter about my weight. It took me a long time (and I’m still getting there!) to get to a place where I am comfortable with how I look. I don’t constantly focus on the rolls on my tummy or the fact that I don’t have a thigh gap. I don’t love how I look, but I’m comfortable. I’m not unhealthy, I’m not lazy. I don’t eat the best foods but I also don’t eat terribly. I never want my daughter to hear the words “I’m so fat!” come out of my mouth. She will know I am healthy, and I will teach her how to be healthy. She will learn to indulge in the good things in life, even if that is pigging out on a bag of chips once in a while… but she will also know that we need to take care of our bodies because it’s the only one we have. I will teach her to enjoy food, even if it is baking and sweets. I will also teach her to enjoy healthy foods, and that we can’t only eat junk.
I refuse to focus my day around if I’m wearing makeup or not. I really don’t like how I look without it, however I will never show my daughter that I NEED to have makeup to leave the house. I will teach her to love herself as God made her, and that she will never need makeup to hide anything she counts as a flaw. I will teach her that makeup can be fun, but it’s not needed to be beautiful. I will teach her that beauty comes from within.
Most of all, I will teach my daughter to love herself. What I refuse to tell her and say in front of her, I know that the world will do it for me. I refuse to be the person that it’s coming from. I will love myself. I will teach her to love herself. I will teach her that she is unique and to never fit in to the mold of the world. I will forever tell her the verse, “I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful and I know that full well.” Psalms 139:14. I will tell her that she is one of a kind and no one can replace her, no matter or size or what the world tells her she’s worth. I will show her how to love the world and all that’s in it, and I will show her how to love.