I’m so much more than a number on a scale.
But despite my abilities, and my talents, and heck even my brain (what’s left of it after three kids), I cannot seem to summit that forever looming mountain of self-doubt.
This morning’s latest culprit was the scale. I’ve been trying to lose weight, and while I am so close to being where I want, today that stagnant number, perhaps mixed with the dreary sky, was enough to send me on the prowl. Like a lion on the Serengeti I began stalking my prey.
Anything with high -fructose, refined carbs, high-sugar… I was ready to pounce.
Until I stopped myself.
Because... I remembered the definition of crazy.
Doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.
Well my friends, I am officially crazy.
In the last 8 years I have lost and gained a total of 300 LBS!!! I have gained, and subsequently lost, nearly fifty pounds which each pregnancy. Every time I got pregnant, I swore up and down I wouldn’t gain the pregnancy weight again. Well, I did. Three times.
Now here I sit, at the end of the pregnancy/post-partum cycle of my life. I plan, as long as my husband’s day off with frozen peas worked, to not ever be pregnant again. So this time I have all the incentive and all the gusto to go for it. To settle down and find that button called maintenance that I have never achieved.
My entire life I have been gaining or losing weight. It’s exhausting really. Never a satisfied way of thinking about my body, or the scale, or how my pants fit. The moments I got down to the smallest I ever was, (unhealthily I might add. Starvation works wonders) it still wasn’t enough.
Constantly worrying about my weight and my appearance has taken up way too much of my life.
Now here is where I’d love to post a picture of my near-naked body to show everyone just how proud I am, but I’m not there yet. I’m not at a point where anything but skillful body positioning and Instagram filters will be done away with.
And it makes me sad, and scared too, because I’m raising a daughter. I can teach her to read, and to write, simple math (let’s be honest here…), world history, how to curl her hair and paint her nails, but right now I am certainly not in any position to teach anyone about self-confidence. And if my daughter doesn’t learn that from me, organically, from watching and emulating, how in this size-obsessed culture will she ever learn it?
Now, my daughter is beautiful. But, I can see already that she is likely built like me. Not skinny, but not fat either. Somewhere in the gray area that haunts many women my size. Not quite the perfect size 6, but not big enough to be plus sized either.
Average. (Heck, that’s what this whole blog is about!!)
I’m so tired of being preoccupied with how things are fitting me while I am swimming with my kids, or at the park, or at the mall. I’m always sure someone, somewhere, is lurking to take a pictures of me, add that black bar over my eyes, and put me front and center in one of those “How NOT to wear a trend” pages in a magazine.
Then I watched my daughter imitate me when she thought no one was looking. She stood in front of my full length mirror and looked at herself, fiddled with her pants and her shirt and spun around to look at the back of herself, and it was at that exact moment that I panicked.
She hasn’t picked up on the other stuff.. yet. But she’s pretty close. The urgency had arrived. I need to continue this exhaustingly long, and emotional battle to the top before she starts imitating the “I feel fat”s and the “I feel like a sausage”, or going on a ‘diet’ after overhearing my girlfriends and I talk about whatever low-carb, high protein, vegan, paleo, non-dairy, bullshit we are currently putting ourselves through.
And I also know I can’t do it alone.
My best friend is also the mother of a daughter. As a woman that has always struggled with her weight, and the mother of a little girl, she has always been cognisant of her attitude and word-choice regarding weight. Never was there talk of being ‘fat’ or ‘diets’. Only eating healthy and working out. Now, this woman has run multiple marathons and continues to be very active, and in my opinion, very healthy. She is also not a size 6, or 8.. maybe not even a 10. But who cares, right? What a better role model to have as a mother than her?? She runs MARATHONS people. But, it wasn’t enough.
One beautiful spring day, she found her seven year old in tears, on the floor of her bedroom, saying “I’m fat". My friend had told her daughter that she could wear shorts to school, it was finally nice enough after a long winter. A few tight pairs from last year later, combined with a class full of string-bean girls, this seven year old CHILD did not want to go to school because SHE WAS FAT.
I hope that broke every woman’s heart as much as it did mine when my friend called and told me. Despite everything she could do as her mother and biggest influence, the other girls at school did know about ‘fat’ and ‘diets’. They also knew that to be beautiful you must be skinny.
The realization hit me with every one of those 300 pounds I gained and fought hard to lose.
It’s not just us moms of daughters that need to help this next generation of beautiful little girls, it’s us aunts, and family friends, grandmas, dads, grandpas, sisters, brothers… everyone.
We will not raise self-confident women, who we can send into the world to face any obstacle or barrier until we all, everyone who means anything to a little girl, begin to see and speak to these little girls as more than simply aspiring to be stereotypically beautiful, and thin.
We need to band together, as a collective and remind our friend’s daughters, or our niece, or any little girl we come into contact with that being healthy is beautiful, and being beautiful means so much more than what you look like.
Because you never know when one remark can stick with a little girl. I know I will never, ever forget being 4 years old, and having an adult come over at my dance pictures, to remark how thin and beautiful my sister was, only to pat my head, and say “Oh and Brittany. She’s so cute and plump”. And a co-worker of mine, who still remembers being crushed as an overweight 8 year old, when her teenaged neighbour, out of misplaced ‘kindness’, offered to pay her $50 to lose weight.
And as mothers we are trying, really trying, in this over-sexed over-indulged society, to raise little girls who are brilliant and confident and beautiful because of who they are.
But we need your help.
Please be our silent partner in this mission.
Please remind our daughters, even when we aren’t there, that they are so much more than a number.
And you know what, maybe remind their mothers, too.