I want to be better for you

Dear Eva,

Yesterday we went for a walk downtown to the Farmer’s Market. You were in the stroller and I, of course, was pushing it. We walked by store front after store front. You were asleep in your stroller as you usually do and love to do. While you sleep I still talk to you and tell you what we’re passing, the sounds we’re hearing, the smells around us, and thoughts that come across my mind. After passing multiple store front windows I let out a heavy sigh and said, “Eva, mama needs to loose weight. This is gross and I look like a sausage.” I made myself  feel like I was less of a mother because I’m not a size four and you’ll know it. I made myself feel less than all together. I said it out loud and if you were awake you would have heard every word.

My daughter, my love, my life, I am sorry. I am sorry for saying such a thing within ear shot of you. I am sorry that I still tell daddy that I am gross and don’t deserve to go outside. I am sorry that I would body shame myself with you even within the same house as me. I have always had issues with the way I see my body. Honestly, I have never liked the way I looked. My boobs are too big. My butt is huge and shapeless. My face is too full. My stomach is too big and round. These are all things that I have thought most of my life and that way of thinking needs to stop. It needs to stop because I can’t have that way of thinking while I raise you and have you think even for a second that it’s acceptable. It needs to stop because I need to be better for you.

We live in a world right now that is full of body shaming. There are many movements trying to stop it but it’s still all around us. You will feel it in school, within your friends circle, whether you do dance or do soccer, you will most likely compare yourself to those around you. All I can hope at this point is that I have shown you to quiet those comparisons and focus on the beautiful things. I am hoping to work on the techniques needed to do that. I want to be able to walk past a window or a mirror and double check that I don’t have any fly aways from my hair than see how “gross” I look that day at that moment because I’m not gross and neither is my body. It is a vessel that gets me from point A to point B and it brought you into this world. Something I will never take for granted. I need to recognize and embrace the great things about myself. It’s not boastful or a bad thing to do. It’s healthy and necessary in a world full of Kardashians and reality TV.

I will try to show and teach you how to take care of your body in a healthful way. We’ll eat foods that nourish our bodies. We will eat, period. Skipping meals or cutting down to one Wheat Thin a day to loose a couple extra pounds is never the answer. We’ll choose to go to the beach over staying at home and watching whatever god forsaken show is around in a few years. Your dad and I will show you that we are so much more than our bodies and body types. They are not markers of class, attractiveness, or who you are. Daddy and I fell in love with each other. We could and have spent days just the two of us laughing and talking our way through. I wouldn’t trade those days for anything. Your body will not define who you are to whomever it is you choose to love. You will define who you are and if someone judges you otherwise, well eff them. Embrace the phrase, “Bye, Felicia” and use it whenever needed.

I make a pledge to you here and now in this letter to stop my ways. To help family and friends do the same. If you come into our house no negative body talk is allowed. No negative talk about you is allowed. Sadly, this is a lofty goal for me. It’s been many years of negative talk towards myself and I wish I had put a stop to it sooner. I am sorry, my love, for ever once bringing my body issues into your life even for a moment. You are so beautiful, and I mean the person you are even right now at two and half months rolling around on your play mat. You make daddy and I smile every day. Together we can make the world a more positive one and if we come across haters, well, it’s Bye Felicia to them.

Love Always,

Mama Bear

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