Recently I was tagged by a friend to post a selfie, wearing no makeup. The idea behind this is to promote acceptance and self-esteem among our young women and girls who constantly struggle with being OK with who they are.
I really liked this idea and even being sick, I felt the need to post my No Makeup Selfie this morning…. I have a daughter who will turn 13 this summer and I am constantly aware of my influence on her and her friends. She is lucky as she has a full range of Other Mothers to take cues from, to learn and grow from.
But still, even being adamant that I wouldn’t EVER talk about feeling fat in front of her, or put myself down or bemoan my jiggly ass or chunky thighs, she is still hard on herself. I hear her talk about how she hates her face, she’s too tall, her legs are fat, she’s ugly. It tears my heart out. Not because she is the exact opposite of all this, but because despite me doing all the right things like talking about media influence and self-worth and how truly hard it is to be a girl sometimes and promoting her wit and empathy and intelligence above her looks, she STILL does what I did, what we all did.
I wonder, is it an inherent girl thing? Is it something we all go through on some level regardless of our upbringing? I deflected it as much as I could and here she is, still on a journey of self-hate and personal degradation.
We talk, her and I. I believe there is a little tiny jelly bean of hope in her heart that truly listens to my words. I say to her that she is kind and fun. That her mind is strong and smart. Her body can run and swim and kick a soccer ball and she can ski 90 k/hour with a lackadaisical manner that defies logic. I say she is loyal and sweet, but with a touch of stubbornness and temper that can be pruned and urged into a powerful force, which means she will never ever be pushed around. And lastly, I do tell her she is beautiful. That her eyes are the colour of the lake on a summer’s day and her smile brightens rooms, but that is never her most important attribute. I think that she does hear me, and while there is more powerful influences in her life right now, she knows she can always believe her Mama.