I've found an amazing brand called Healthy Is the New Skinny and I love what they stand for. Check out healthyisthenewskinny.com for body-positive all-inclusive campaigns for women and apparel! It lead me to ask the hubby to snap this shot of me:
I've never seen him whisper to his friends on a playdate that he saw my loose tummy skin when I had to change my shirt because he spilled his chicken noodle soup on my other one.
I look back to my own mother's body growing up. When I'd sit next to her at the park on a hot summer day, I'd notice the indented scar on her thigh she got from a bad malaria shot before a mission trip in her teens. I came to know it. It was my mom. There was no opinion whether it was unattractive or not. There was no comparison to the legs of my friend's mothers. She was my mom!
The cool thing is that your little one (no matter what side of the body spectrum you happen to fall on) contains this superpower right now too! I guarantee you that when you scoop them out of the bath they are not thinking "man, what a bony elbow I just felt...my mom needs to eat a burger or something". If anyone loves you, if anyone supports you unconditionally, it's the superhero that is your child right now. This beautiful, honest, untainted age they are in right now can serve as a reminder to you about just how important you are AS YOU ARE NOW.
So, how do we keep this superpower in our little ones as they grow into more discerning and intuitive ages? As they hear words like "fat" and "size zero" and take in Carls Jr. advertisements of bikini clad, larger chested women? I mean, you can't deny it's going to change them. You can't deny that at some point they will look from a billboard to you...or worse...to THEMSELVES. They will compare...they will wonder.
I (hopefully) can pass on an antidote! I think of my own mom again here.
Yep, I did notice that she looked different than the other moms walking around my dance studio. I would say at about 10 or so. It didn't phase me though. I didn't think it was BAD and I didn't think it was RAD. It just was what it was. She was my mom!
Here's why: She was a woman of God. When I got to the age where I could form an opinion about someone else's body, it was tempered with the ability to see their eternal value...to see them through my Father's eyes. Though I didn't quite understand what it meant when I accepted Jesus into my heart, I felt His love towards people. I possessed compassion, and I think I already began to understand that my WORTH had almost NOTHING to do with my appearance and size. My mom's WORTH. My friend's WORTH.
I truly believe that I kept that superpower a bit longer than the average pre-teen because I was looking through the lens of Christ towards others. My mom taught me that. I saw her like she told me to see others. She taught me that if I saw a person who was missing a limb to go up and say hi to them because they were PEOPLE and they deserved to be treated like everyone else. I was raised to believe that you can't possibly know someone else's heart based on their actions and to (as much as was possible) throw some grace back at them when they hurt or irritated you.
Ultimately, Nolan could likely hang on to this superpower with his future significant other. He doesn't ever have to lose it. (His daddy after all possessed this superpower at 17 when he pursued me with the love of Christ...respecting my body and MIND and seeing me as something intrinsically valuable).
I think it starts with me, though, today. If I call myself "fat" or refer to the bottom of my arm as a "bingo-wing"...if I put too much stock in my appearance or my bad hair day...if I cry because I am up a pound, he will see me as a broken and pretty darn worldly person-- instead of a PRINCESS of the KING. It's my language about MYSELF...the people I see on TV...the lady at the Saturday Market clearly falling out of her maxi dress that will make or break my superhero son's perspective of women. His perspective of me. His love for those around him and his ability to see people for who they are.
So, I would encourage you all to cultivate an all-encompassing and consistently body-positive outlook on the women and men whom God has created. I would encourage you (while your little one still finds you the most beautiful lady in the world) to demonstrate confidence as women of God both as you dress in the morning and as you navigate your life aside from your reflection. I just realized how valuable the sweet touch of my little one's hand really can be on my imperfect and insecure body. It is but a picture of the greater and even more unconditional love of our Heavenly Father. I'm a mess. I'm in tears because I'm surrounded by superheroes (both in heaven and here on earth). I hope I can be super too, so that together we can elevate those who are not. That's my prayer today. I'm overwhelmingly grateful... sorry for the novel!
PPS: Special shout out to the other man in my life who definitely ties in seeing me as Christ would see me-- my sweet husband. (Just didn't want to nauseate the world with that proclamation).