Girl Body Pride began with the simple and complex desire to do what I can for myself and allow my daughter to grow into the woman she is meant to become.
I can kiss away the boo boos now. I can snuggle her to sleep because she still wants me to and I'll miss it just like I miss how she used to think that eleventeen was a number. Now she's asking me things like if fairies are really really real and I wish we we were back at eleventeen again. I can tell her she is beautiful and strong and smart and my favorite wish upon a star and I can gently redirect the conversation when people call her "big" for her age by simply saying, "Yes, she is tall for five, isn't she?" And I can tell her that her body is shaped exactly as it is meant to be and will be shaped exactly as she is meant to become, that we are active to be healthy and strong, and that no matter what anyone else says or thinks, nothing matters but the fact that she knows she is perfectly wonderful just the way she is and will be.
I can do all of these things. I can say even more. Like how we are kind and loving to all of our friends because we treat people the way we'd like for them to treat us and that food is nourishment for our bodies because that's how we get the good energy to play, learn, and grow. But I can't kiss away the bullshit society throws at girls and body image and self-esteem because the bullies from the school playground have grown up and their aren't any lunch ladies around to report them to the principal's office anymore. She can read now and I hope like hell that every time we get into the check out lane at the grocery store, she'll be too busy talking to me or playing a game on the iPad to notice all the reasons the media wants her to believe she is less than enough. So far, so good.
What I can't do is give her a line of bullshit she isn't going to buy from me. Maybe she's self-assured enough to not ever question the reflection she sees in the mirror. But she's smart enough to watch and internalize what I do no matter what I say. Heaven knows she inherited her father's ego, and while it makes him a giant asshole sometimes, he happens to make it work for him in the strangest sense and he makes it look good. He's just that confident. And she is Daddy's girl. Tell her she's beautiful and she'll tell you that she knows. Maybe that's all she needs.
Just in case, though, I am working on fixing the inside of my head each and every day to be able to show her that I love me and that I think I am exactly the shape I am meant to be and that I eat to be healthy and strong and that scales and numbers are only important at the doctor's office because how I feel about me is what matters most and what keeps me on the right track. Kids are smart. Think they aren't watching when you refer to your fat ass and those ten pounds you need to lose? Think again.
That's why Girl Body Pride is my passion. And that's why it's so important to support the National Eating Disorder Foundation during NEDA Awareness Week, taking place February 24-Match 2.
From the NEDA website:
The aim of NEDAwareness Week is to increase awareness and education about eating disorders and body image issues for effective recognition, early intervention and direction to care.
Everybody Knows Somebody who has been affected. Everybody can get involved.
Do just one thing.
As long as your action raises awareness about eating disorders and provides accurate information to those seeking answers. Post a link to the NEDA Awareness Week tab on your Facebook page, plan an interactive and educational event like a meditation and yoga workshop, register as a volunteer speaker, or write a blog post. Send a tweet, a text, or just give someone a hug. Maybe someone you know might need a daily reminder of the need to believe in their self-worth. Check out the Girl Body Pride Just The Way We Are bracelet available on BerkeyDesigns on Etsy. Every bracelet sold benefits NEDA with $1 of the proceeds being donated directly to the non-profit. Last year 14 bracelets sold in the short time they were available before the world didn't end and 2013 happened. This year my goal is to sell 100 bracelets and make an even bigger difference with your support.
Everybody knows somebody who has been affected.
Everybody can do just one thing. Let's do that one thing together.