Thursday, March 28, 2013

Age 23

Like Her Momma
I was watching the Tyra Show this afternoon and it was an episode about young girls that hated what their face looked like. They had the mothers of these young girls on the show as well, and it was said that if the mother didn't like how she looked, the daughter would internalize that feeling and manifest it. "If Momma looks in the mirror and criticizes herself, her daughter would do the same, like her Momma.”

Sitting there on the couch watching this show, it hit me. I think my mother is a very pretty woman. She keeps herself up well, her makeup and hair always looks nice, and she dresses well for her body.
But it wasn't always this way. She used to be quite overweight and that is how I remember her for most of my childhood years. My father would be extremely focused on her appearance and constantly put her down because of how she looked. And I hated him for it. For years, I could barely talk to him or be around him because of the way he treated my mother. And I secretly felt paranoid every time I cracked open a pint of Ben & Jerry's or helped myself to seconds at dinner because I felt he was watching me with that internal disapproval - the same disapproval he looked at my mother with.

So I became an exercise addict for most of my high school years and did not eat well at all. I would starve myself during the day, go to track practice and work out hard, then come home and eat dinner like maniac because my body was so deprived. Oftentimes I would stay up late at night and binge eat as well. It didn't help that my sister had gone through this very same cycle a couple years before, so I felt like I wasn't being abnormal.

But I hated myself and my body. I'd look in the mirror and loathe what I saw, even if to everyone else I was a completely normal, healthy weight. I was obsessive about myself, all because of how my father treated my mother. She tried to lose weight and took a lot of crap from my dad over the years, and I admire the heck out of her for that. She is an incredibly strong woman today and has come a LONG way from where she was. I'm so proud of her.

It makes me realize that as a woman and a mother in future years, I need to be so careful of how I treat myself because my daughters will follow my example. The last thing I want is for them to feel what I felt about myself. It's taken some time, but I have started to accept and love my body for what God made it to be...healthy and not legalistic. To move my body and exercise, not because it will make me lose weight, but because I love how I feel when I'm done. I still have "fat days" like any woman and just want to curl up in sweatpants on the couch. But then I have to remind myself - beauty comes in so many different shapes, sizes, skin tones, lip sizes, hair colors and textures...and I want my daughter to someday look in the mirror, see her flaws and all, and think she's beautiful, like her Momma.

"You are not your bra-size, nor are you the width of your waist or the slenderness of your calves. You are not the amount of sit-ups you can do, nor are you the amount of calories in a day. You are not a little red are the content of your character. You are the ambitions that drive you, the goals that you set. You are beautiful and desirable not for the clique you attend, but for the spark of life within you that compels you to make your life a full and meaningful one. You are beautiful not for the shape of the vessel, but for the volume of the soul it carries."