I struggle with body image. I've written about it a little on this blog and even though it occupies about 90 70 percent of my thinking, you wouldn't know it from how little I post on the topic.
But how I feel about myself is not something I talk about with other people. For every positive comment my daughter hears me say about myself, she hears 10 more negative ones. The truth is, I have never liked what I saw in the mirror. In fact, I don't even see a true version of myself. All I see is every imperfection highlighted, every fat roll intensified, every place where I failed my willpower. Only once, after I lost a huge amount of weight did I look at the girl in the mirror and actually see the person staring back at me.
Even at my thinnest, I couldn't see how I truly looked.
And I teach my daughter the same thing. Day after day, when I complain about how my stomach pooches out. The double leg raises that never get rid of the rise in my middle. The arm fat that jiggles when I wave. That is what I focus on. That is what I talk about.
That is what she hears.
Never do I tell her about what my body has done for me. That it survived cancer. The red smiley scar (that only I see) is proof life continues after the bottom falls out. The round tummy I hate, kept 3 kids safe inside and now they run laps around me. The fat thighs I wish were longer and thinner? Are going to carry me through a marathon.
This is what my body does for me. This is the body I should see when I look in the mirror. When I focus on why I'm not perfect I lose sight of the fact this body has survived a lot in its 37 years on earth. I have my battle scars, and instead of hiding them. I should be proud.
I wish more women were.
And I still struggle with my body image. Then I struggle with what I teach my daughters. I want to be proud of who I am from head to toe.
And even though I never want to go back to this body
I want to accept her as a part of who I am. I don't want to think of her as "fat Jessica" anymore. It discounts who I was. Because that is the strong body that got me through some of my darkest days. She is just as awesome as this one.
She just didn't know it.
If you have a chance, head over to #keepingitreal. A blogger is trying to get women to post real pictures of themselves, so other women and our daughters can see what is real. I hope through this, the next generation of girls doesn't get trapped into thinking that they will never be good enough. That their bodies, in whatever shape or form, are perfect, because they are theirs.
How can you show our young women to celebrate the skin they are in?
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