Stamping Out A Daughter's Shame
And that's not even including all the times she's seen the pretty, thin girls become the heroines in TV or movies, or fat people being ridiculed and used as examples of what not to do or how not to live. I'm sure her friends and other people at school have made fun of a few fat kids. I know that even if I hadn't been such a poor example of body acceptance her entire life, she might still have found reason to cry when she stepped on that scale and saw the number "103" glaring at her like a reprimand.
So I sat her down last night and I told her that the path I took at her age, the one where I noticed for the first time (with help from others) that I was "fat," was blocked. That she would not go the way I did. She wouldn't be the one searching desperately for a solution, no matter how destructive, to a problem that doesn't exist. A non-existent problem that only becomes a problem when we try to solve it. I told her that I would not allow her to be driven by shame and loathing, from herself or others.
I know that I have done this to her, and it is perhaps my greatest failure as a parent. But I didn't realize then the damage I was doing. That hating myself in front of her was teaching her to hate herself.
It's not too late to fix it, though. Of this, I am sure. My intelligent, generous, loving, artistic, funny, compassionate, animal-loving (and, yes, beautiful) daughter will know how very precious she is. I will teach her the habits I should have had at her age. That to live, love, sing, dance, run, swim, laugh, cry, and eat is all part of being a human, and that her long legs, her wide hips, the pooch of her belly -- however they may grow or change shape as she ages or bears children someday -- are a lovely vehicle in which to do all of those things, and she should cherish it and nurture it and love it. Not starve it or cut it or deny it or hate it.
I will love myself as much as I can, if only to be the example I have failed to be her entire life. Maybe we'll sit down and read these ten beautiful rules together so she can better understand the many nuances of this very important issue. I hope I'm not too late.