The other day, a friend of mine posted a link to this blog entry of a woman named Amanda, which was like a revelation to me. It made me feel good about myself just as much as it made me feel bad about the role model I am for my two daughters.
Those two little girls are beauty as pure as it can possibly be. No make-up, no piercings or tattoos, and none of the typical insecurities that I am battling with for most of my life.
I am recovering from eating disorders in their various forms. As a teenager I starved myself to a point where I no longer had a period. These phases turned into bulimic episodes where I would stuff myself and then "get rid" of the food to cleanse myself again. To force my body to obey. To have control at least over a small part of my life... At some point (and I truly do not credit my various therapists for that), I decided to use the will-power, which I used to make me sick, to recover. It was a long process, but at some point, at least a little bit of normalcy had returned. I moved out from home to go to college at 19. I met my husband the year I graduated; we were married and moved a continent away from my old life. At some point, we started talking children. I was scared; I really wanted to have a child so badly, but I didn't know if those years and years of putting my body through all sorts of extremes had left permanent damage to my body. As I was worrying of becoming pregnant at all, my husband was worrying of how I would take pregnancy and the weight gain. And suddenly, after a couple of months, which felt like years, we had two little stripes on the test. I believe I jumped on the bed, that's how happy I was; and I truly enjoyed my pregnancy. No voices in the back of my head telling me that I couldn't gain weight, just the determination to do whatever is necessary to give this little person growing inside me the best possible start into her own life.
Today, I still feel the monsters stirring in the back of my head occasionally, telling me I am too fat; telling me that some body parts are no longer where they used to be. Are those crow's feet???
No! I am me, and I am beautiful to my daughters. I remember getting up one morning, not feeling fresh at all, and still my little girl smiled to me, telling me how pretty I was and that I was the most beautiful Mama in the world. How must she feel if she senses how I truly feel about myself? From the moment I held my little girl in my arms on the day she was born I promised myself that I would do everything in the world to not watch her go down the same path I did. And if that means enjoying my laugh lines, ignoring the not-so-tight abs and boobs, and just feel beautiful for who I am,I will do it. I owe it to my daughters and myself! It is me who they are learning from, and I want to teach them to love - not loath - themselves!
PS: What I do in the mornings in front of the mirror?? Putting war paint on, of course :-)