Before you read this blog please remember I am no expert nor I am speaking to anyone who suffers seriously with anything mentioned in this. I speak from my experience, my heart and my want to be part of the solution for what girls can go through. I also talk from a place of learning, getting it wrong and trying again.
It started at the school gate, well when I mean ‘started’; this is when I began to formulate this blog in my head. This has been an issue for a long time. A mum at the school who I don’t know particularly well commented on the weight she had noticed I had lost. She was animated, pleased and wanted to know exactly what I had done to lose the pounds. She was taken aback when I explained I had no idea, in fact I have no idea what weight I am because I actually don’t own a set of scales. I never have. The midwives always asked me ‘what weight where you before you fell pregnant’ and the answer was always the same, all 5 times. I have no idea. I think truly the last time I weighed myself was 9yrs ago! Of course, I am not that stupid and can monitor it slightly by my clothes, but I tend to not focus on it. I eat sensibly (not all of the time), I exercise (not all of time) and I am very much a food lover with a good appetite! The mum went on to say that ‘the other mums had been commenting on the weight loss’. It was of course all done very nicely and lovely but as I got in the car and drove away it suddenly hit me, what will they talk about when my weight goes back up again? – Which by the way it will because it does, it doesn’t worry me it just as always been that way. I will be talked about again and what will they be saying then? Will it be the same comment ‘doesn’t she look well?’ What pressure!
What pressure does that put anyone under if the only comments they get are when they lose weight? This makes me cross, sad and determined all at once. Sad because our weight loss is not who we are, our looks are never who we are, it doesn’t make us. Sad because the pressure if the comments come thick and fast, how does it feel when they stop? Cross because I truly believe that we are better than that, we are better than what weight we are, what labels we are wearing. I made a decision some time ago that I would never comment on someone’s weight loss. You will always hear me comment on how well someone is looking – dressed up or in their trackies, I will comment on how lovely they are, their character, the way they did something, spoke to someone, treated someone, how strong they are being. I am not shy at doing that. I love to tell my friends (male and female) all the time how well they are looking, how beautiful they are inside and out. Compliments are good and needed and dare I say necessary. Sometimes I compliment people to the point of awkwardness and I don’t mind the awkwardness. Lord, I never want to stop telling people the goodness I see. I never want to stop doing that, but never about their weight or their bodies. It’s just too much pressure! That is never what defines them.
I never want to be part of a conversation where people discuss looks, weight, clothes about someone. People are more than that – let’s talk about their goodness, their kindness, the good things about them that we see in their character – and if that’s hard or impossible let me not open my mouth. This has taken me a while to get here and I am sure I will not get this right, no way but I am determined to be different in how and what I say about people I know (or don’t know)
I want my daughters to grow up oblivious of how people look, what size they are, what their friends are wearing. I know this will be so hard, this will entail hard conversations, much prayer and telling them all the time what matters until it becomes habit. We have banned words already in our house like diet, skinny and fat, ugly they are right up there with other words like shut up or dick (this word was discussed at great length one dinner time!) It’s a non-negotiable we aren’t allowed and don’t say these words. I want my daughters and my sons to tell me the good and amazing things they see in each other, in us and in their friends. The way we bring courage, goodness, kindness, love to one another. I want my daughters to sit with their friends and bring and pull out all of the good stuff they see, and to then go into the world and do the same. Is this an impossible dream? Maybe. But I am passionate about this. Let’s be people who forget and don’t even see the outward but focus on the heart, the good stuff. I want to be a generation and raise a generation who does this.
That day ended with my friend Sarah sending me this timely and very challenging video. I watched it and felt empowered that how I felt about this was so important and how this woman breaks it down is superb.
I believe we can change this in our world; we need to unlearn a few bad habits and help each other to unlearn a few bad habits. We can part of the solution both male and female, we can bring all that good stuff that God has placed in us and fight for a different way of being. I don’t think it is impossible, do you?