These are words that I have told myself in my head a million times in my lifetime…well in the lifetime where I began caring about those things…but when they came out of the mouth of my 10 year old daughter who inherited the same ultra curvy, muscular and sometimes ultra large feeling stems (sometimes feeling WAY bigger than necessary to hold up the barely blossomed “blooms” on the upper half—which is another whole post about getting “right” with your body!), my heart dropped to my toes and broke into a million pieces. I have long since come to terms with the shape of my body—not at all to say that I don’t try to improve it almost on a daily basis (yikes!) but I have been able to see the goodness that it is. Yes, I have big old legs but they are strong and shapely and have served me well as I have gone about my life business! I have come to terms with it BUT its been a journey!
I remember being close to her age when I first discovered that I didn’t quite match up to the girl in my head…my grandparents had gone on a trip to Hawaii and had sent my siblings and I some souvenirs. My brothers got drums and whatever else boys get excited about and I received a coconut bra and grass skirt! I loved to dress up so this was right down my ally! I had imagined putting them on and strutting around outside like a Polynesian goddess—you know, like one of those dashboard hula girls (not a lot of life experience)—yeah, like that. Well, not so much. I caught one glimpse of myself in the downstairs window of my house and said to myself—literally—“you look like an idiot!” I went back inside and never put that stupid coconut bra on again—(actually now that I think of it-that could be the solution to my upper body situation…hmmm)
I remember praying as an adolescent –literally praying, on my knees, arms folded eyes closed the whole shebang-that I would not be fat. I remember looking down at those giant quad muscles when I was sitting and thinking “holy crap-I am a whale!” I remember always wearing shorts with my swimming suit because I was too self conscious. I remember wearing tan colored nylons with my cheerleading skirt because “tan fat looks better than white fat”. Which beteedubs is the ONLY kind I have—white. Another glorious gift I have passed to my girls. I am trying to convince them that being day glow white means your skin is actually not damaged-it also comes in handy when trying to pick my older daughter out at swim team---she is the brightest on the whole team. So proud. Anyway, I digress. I remember guys in high school telling me they wanted my legs…not like “you are so HOT, I WANT your legs.” But like “I WANT your legs instead of mine” Not exactly what a 16 year old girl wants to hear-my take away—“you have man legs.” Awesome. Casper was my nickname—as in Casper the friendly ghost (at least I was friendly, right?). I remember being asked if I was embarrassed by my white skin…first of all, what kind of freaking question is that!?-----I wouldn’t take that now so don’t even try it.
Along the way somewhere between all the negative messages I heard from the world, the media, “friends” blah blah blah…I have figured out that this is me! It’s me and it’s just the way I was made. I was made like this and there must be a reason. It only took me decades. Decades of undoing the messages I heard in my head. I still struggle from time to time-especially when trying to find dab gum knee high boots that don’t cut the circulation off at the calf—I am getting older and that has brought it own set of body struggles and health struggles but at this point I am trying to own it and live free. I have no choice.
If I want to help my girls on their journey of acceptance I have to accept it myself. How can I tell my 10 year old that she is perfect and that there isn’t ANYTHING wrong with her legs, that their fair skin is beautiful and that those “little parts” are just perfect and then turn around an criticize those same things. I am what they see in the mirror (Heaven help us all)-I have to reflect acceptance and love if they are ever to have it for themselves. And that is pretty high up on the list for things I want for my girls. They are beautiful and unique and most of all they were made by an all knowing and loving God who, so far, as gotten pretty much everything right. My prayers have changed from help mw to not be fat to help me be okay if I am and help me to teach my girls that they are yours and they are perfect and lovely and amazing. Help me to drown out those voices in their heads and replace it with me--my actions and my voice and my love. Let me be the reflection of what I want them to see. Love of self, acknowledgement of my divinity, acceptance of the “not right” parts of me….