Taking care of you takes care of me

3 years ago

Self-nourishment. No food allowed.

I have issues with food. Well documented to date. I know they come from my childhood. I know NOW, that I developed a dysmorphia about my body early on. I know that the message that I was "fat" was placed on me like a crown at the age of 7 or 8. My father denies this to this day. He is fully in denial. His preoccupation with his own physique made him hyper critical of everyone else's. Including his 4 daughters. That should be on him. But he so graciously plunked it down on us.  As a result of this burden, I do not like to talk about food or eating or stuff like that.


I am a wife and a MOTHER to 2 daughters. Pre-teen daughters. I have to think about food all the time. My family has developed this nasty habit of talking about the "next" meal while they are consuming the "current" meal. I have to leave my body at least 2 times a day and 3-4 times on the weekends to cope with this habit of theirs.

I am not fat. I am also not 7 years old. I could dispel these childhood myths by looking in the mirror. I can conquer the stigma of this mislabeling by saying the words that are closer to the truth. But I do not do either of these things. I look in the mirror and see "fat". I talk to myself and say "fat".

Because I am a grown-up and I know how damaging words can be to children, I tell my girls how amazing they are. I shower them with love and praise. I ask them to see their bodies as perfect vessels for life and sport. Their bodies are deserving of their full attention. Filling these bodies with goodness is my job. My crap does not enter into the equation.

Making home cooked meals and packing healthy lunches allows me to nourish the little girl that I was as well as the young ladies my girls are becoming. Taking care of my loved ones nourishes me.

I have a goal. I want my daughters to grow up with a TRUE sense of who they are and what they look like. (No American Idol fantasy around here). The untapped potential in their perfectly healthy bodies needs to be discovered by them. I will give them all the ingredients to keep the bodies healthy. The appreciation and preservation will ultimately be up to them.

My girls speak in absolutes all the time.

I will never smoke.

I will never drink when I am underage.

I will not have sex until I am married.

It is ok to say these things at their ages. I will not hold them to it. I applaud the innocence.

I admire their ability to ask their bodies to perform and to get good results. I want them to keep asking. I admire their respect for the wonder that is their ever maturing physiques. It is exciting to hear them talk about the changes in a positive way. I have many lost years because I had no idea what I actually looked like or was capable of. This is not going to be their cross to bear.

To this day, I can remember the first time I felt like my body was a powerful tool that I could use at will. Unfortunately, I used my power in a negative way and sexualized the power.

I am cognizant of this potentiality for my own girls and I will stay vigilant.

Today, and every tomorrow, I will cook and feed my family. I will not always dazzle them and many days it will be an enormous struggle for me to accomplish the task, but I will do it. I will do it with love, care, attention and pride. I know where it is going. I know how important it is. It nourishes me to nourish them. My inner child still has healing to do. My current body is unable to perform any of the things my childhood body was capable of. It is fine. I will not repeat the sins of my parents. I will heal by raising young women who appreciate the beauty that they possess. Young ladies who can summon their bodies at will. Strong bodies. Healthy bodies. As defined by them. They are well on their way. I have tons of evidence. The way they carry themselves. The way they never question if they "can" do something. Ability is a given. It's all about the choice.

In the end, I feel like that is all I can give them. The ability to interpret the choices they will face and to choose wisely. If I do my part, their intuition will speak so much louder than the peer group or the media or that boy.

When I look in the mirror the only one there is me
Every freckle on my face is where it's supposed to be
And I know our creator didn't make no mistakes on me
My feet, my thighs, my lips, my eyes; I'm lovin' what I see
I'm not the average girl from your video
and I ain't built like a supermodel
But, I learned to love myself unconditionally

I love these lyrics by India Arie.

They speak to me.

I wish I had this when I needed to hear it.

You know, yesterday.


and tomorrow.

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