“If I could just get rid of this pooch.”
This is me, circa 1990. It’s after a sleepover with my two best friends who I’ve known forever. My fourteen-year-old self is analyzing my body in the mirror. I was 100 pounds sopping wet at the time, yet that pooch was a huge part of my teenage world.
Twenty years later, I want to scream at that girl. “Are you kidding? You never looked better, sweetie!!” I imagine myself sounding like an old lady living in Florida that has smoked one cigarette too many. Two kids and a lack of enthusiasm for exercise makes for a much larger pooch these days. It probably needs a much bigger name- HUGEASSGUT is more like it.
It irks me that at 34 I still have body image issues. After all, I’m a sexuality educator. If I have issues with my own body—how can I be the ambassador of self-esteem for the young girls that walk in our doors every day?
Granted, I had a baby six months ago. A beautiful baby girl. She goes by many names: Sweet Girl, Miss Girl, and Divalicious are among my favorites. I see TV and movie stars bounce back from pregnancy in the wink of an eye. Unfortunately, I don’t have the means to afford a personal trainer and nutritionist to monitor my daily workout schedule and food intake. Plus, I value food and sleep way too much.
I saw an Oprah recently where the star of the movie Precious, Gabourey Sidibe, talked about how she accepts her weight and loves herself where she is right now. Here’s a very powerful quote from this precocious, sassy gal:
“I learned to love myself, because I sleep with myself every night and I wake up with myself every morning, and if I don’t like myself, there’s no reason to even live the life. I love the way I look. I’m fine with it. And if my body changes, I’ll be fine with that.”
Nearly 10 years younger than me, and she has achieved self-love. I’m seriously jealous. I WANT that.
Tonight, as I put my baby girl to sleep, I felt that desire to achieve peace with my body much more deeply. I don’t want to see my Divalicious standing in front of the mirror in her tender years analyzing every minute detail of her body. My heart will break if that future is realized.
I am my Sweet Girl’s role model and mentor. If I am preoccupied with my body and weight, chances are she will be, too. According to womensheatlh.govBody Image: Loving Yourself Inside and Out – Body Image and Your Kids, a girl who has a mother who is overly concerned with her weight is more likely to have concerns with her own weight and develop unhealthy eating habits.
So, this Mother’s day, my gift to myself is to commit to self-love. I’m affirming that my body is okay as it is. I make this commitment in honor of my beautiful baby girl, and all the young girls that walk through our doors each day. They’re worth it, and so am I. I’m challenging all the beautiful women out there, moms or not, to accept and celebrate their bodies. Happy Mother’s Day to all you gorgeous ladies!
For more information on self-esteem and body image, check out the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty for great information, resources and videos.