Sunday, January 15, 2012

23 years ago today...

...I held my baby girl in my arms for the first time. With the loving support of my husband and sister she arrived. She was perfect. She is perfect.
Raising a daughter was something I had dreamed for, hoped for, but didn't realize I wanted so much until - there she was.
I tried to empower her, to tell her often how beautiful, strong, capable she was. To never devalue myself in front of her. To never moan about my weight, my thighs, how I look in a bathing suit, in front of her.

But all the while, I was dieting. Starving myself, while I breastfed her, to lose the 'baby fat'. Working for weight watchers when she was only a few years old. Measuring my portions on a little scale. Using a measuring cup to mete out my cereal, or rice, or pasta.

I confided in her this past Christmas, that I also worry when she comes home, and sees me after months and months apart, that she will see I have gained weight. She confided in me the same concern. How horribly sad is that? Two women, a mother and a daughter, who love each other so powerfully, and truthfully, would be afraid that weight, or fat, could come between us. Make us judge the other. How very sad is that?

She is beautiful. She, who is 23 today, is beautiful and unique and powerful and inspirational and, quite simply, perfect.

I am writing this today because of her blogging challenge for the womens' centre she works for. I am writing this today because I love her and I don't want her to spend the rest of her life ashamed of her beautiful body.

This body we have, if you follow anthroposophy, we chose for ourselves for this life incarnation. How can we have hate for something we, as spiritual beings, chose for ourselves? We chose it for the lessons it had to bring us, for the truths we knew to be inherent in its form.

When my daughter was 16 we all attended the wedding of my niece. Video and pictures were taken for my mother, who did not attend. When my mother saw the videos of my beautiful girl in her mini skirt she told me that my daughter didn't have the body to pull off that 'look'. I was so angry. I hated my mother for saying such a thing. How could she say such a thing? Why did it matter so much? And what did my mother think about me, and two of my sisters, who all carry weight, who are fat? And yet, I know, intellectually as I write this, that she too was a victim of society's fear of fat.

I have such conflict around my mother and her fear of fat. I remember a beautiful picture I have of her holding my daughter when she was such a little baby. The look on my mother's face is pure joy. And yet, when my mother, and my eldest sister, saw the photo they told me to take the photo out of the album because the photo showed my mother's stomach to have a roll of fat. I don't even know what to do with that memory.

So, dear girl, happy birthday. I have been reading your blogs and learning things about you I never knew before. Things I am grateful to know now. And perhaps, you will indulge me as I give a piece of advice to you and all who are reading this and struggling with loving themselves.

Love yourself. If others leave you, or judge you for who you are,or what you look like, then, as painful as it is, so be it. Love yourself. Be yourself. People will then have permission to love you too. Love is not defined by numbers on a scale, or how we look in an outfit. Love is defined by the care and respect we show ourselves and others. We are all worthy of love.

Our bodies are worthy of love.

My body is worthy of love.

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