Last week my daughter came home from school. Giggling about texting with friends on her new ipod and procrastinating about starting her homework.
She still thinks burping is funny, struggles with her multiplication tables and thinks her pink ugg boots match everything.
Pretty typical almost 9 year old.
But, this girl amongst giggling asked me a gut wrenching question that I was not prepared for.
Mommy, am I fat?
I almost choked on the air I was breathing. Has she ever seen a mirror? She is a contender for the smallest and most petite child in the whole third grade. How could she possibly think she was fat.
I responded immediately, absolutely not!
She continued to measure the width of her fingers around her arms and her waist, lamenting that she couldn’t touch around the circumference.
It was like a bad flashback for me.
When I was 14 I had the self confidence of a lima bean. Tolerated but not liked. I had the most gorgeous and perfect friends. They were smart and athletic. Everything I thought my parents wanted me to be.
I wanted the attention of boys, I wanted to be something other than the score keeper for volleyball games. If you asked my parents back then, everyday would look better if started it by making my bed. I looked at myself and thought everyday would be better if I was skinnier.
I would pack lunches that I wouldn’t eat. Claim a big breakfast. I would exercise like a maniac. When the hunger pains were too much I would binge something awful. Then in guilt I would throw up.
I had months of lunches that I would toss in the trunk of my car. But can of frosting hidden in my dresser. My brother is still traumatized by the site of a frozen burrito. (Another story for another time)
I did this for years. I remember stepping on the scale in high school at 88 lbs and freaking out that I would hit 90. I remember it being a goal of mine to never hit 100 lbs.
I had friends that loved me enough to out me to my parents for what I was doing. I had parents that loved me enough to work with me.
I have come a long way past that girl. 100 pounds past that girl and there are days that it takes everything in me not to look at the toilet like it could an out for the misery that my body puts me under.
I know what self hatred looks like and to think that even a tiny shred of that lives in my daughter is devastating.
I don’t share this as a pity me. I have lived this life and know my demons well.
But, not another day will go by where I am not building confidence in my daughter.
1 Peter 3:4
New International Reader’s Version (NIRV)
4 Instead, your beauty comes from inside you. It is the beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit. Beauty like that doesn’t fade away. God places great value on it.
I pray this for my daughter. I pray with she will be filled with this kind of beauty and that she it would not just flourish within but that it would exude out of her as a blessing to others.