What do you think about when you hear that? How do you feel about yourself? Do you look at yourself in the mirror and nitpick all your flaws? Saying to yourself “I have facial hair… I am in fact, a ball of jiggle jelly… I have stretch marks…” Etc..
What do you think your child is thinking about their own body? Their insecurities. And, they are looking at you to figure out how to process their ever-changing body, especially through puberty.
How are you going to handle that?
I was pretty thin until I hit puberty… Then I became a little more rounder. I would say I was about 20 lbs bigger than most of my friends. Not overweight by any means – I was still in the healthy range for my height. But I felt as if I was huge in comparison. While my female friends were wearing bikinis, I was wearing one piece bathing suits with shorts. I had an extremely poor body image. My stomach and thighs were not something I was planning to show off… Ever.
I remember in grade 12, when I was 17, I went to a water park. I felt as though I was one of the biggest girls there. Again, I was not that overweight. But I felt it. The place was swarming with stick skinny women of all ages in bikinis, with a sprinkling of us chubby chick’s all in our one pieces, some covered up with t-shirt, others with shorts… Some people with both. Clearly ashamed of their bodies.
Now let’s move forward about 14 years. I went to the same water park this summer with my husband and daughter. I’m about 150 lbs over weight now. I wore a two piece bathing suit. The suit covered my stomach, and the bottom part had a skirt. It compliments my figure, and I feel extremely comfortable in it, and even more important, in my own skin.
My body is amazing. It carried a child for 9 months. Could I be healthier? Yes. Could I lose weight for my health? Yes. But it’s not going to hold me back from strutting my hot ass through this water park. I have to show my daughter that no matter your weight or height, pimples or not, stretch marks or facial hair, you walk with confidence. You walk with pride. Because that’s not the only thing that defines you.
Then I looked around. And I mean really looked around. This water park was filled with women, all shapes, all sizes. Women who were my size back when I was 17 and bigger strutting their beautiful bodies in bikinis. Women with excess hair on their face and body and seeing the love in the eyes of their significant other. Women walking with their stretch marks and their cellulite exposed for the whole world to see. Women bigger than me, not wearing basically a parka to hide their bodies, but letting their true form out there. Having an amazing time. Their laugh music to my ears.
And it was such a beautiful thing.
How far we have come as a society in 14 years… It is just amazing. I was never so proud to be a women. Never so proud to show my daughter – yes this is normal. All of this is normal. Whether if you are 100 lbs or 300 lbs. You are perfect. And don’t tell yourself otherwise. I am so glad my daughter might have a fighting chance to grow up with role models that show her, her body is how it is supposed to be.
And damn girl, show your beautiful body off.
No matter the size.
No matter the hair.
No matter the stretch marks.
Be proud to be you.