My girl sat across from me on the love seat and declared, “I rocked my new high rise jeans. I have the perfect shape for them.” I looked up from my journal and in my head agreed; she had the smaller waist and curvy hips. She continued on with her proud of herself speech stating that she finally felt comfortable in a pair of jeans, a piece of clothing that felt like her – not just in style but her personality.
I was jolted back to five years ago when her father and I desperately tried to prove to her that her figure and weight were right where they were supposed to be. At that time she was 5’9”, 125 pounds and as fit as you could be. We printed off charts that showed her proportions were right where they were supposed to be, took her to her pediatrician for support and advice and threw away our scale when we found her checking her weight twice a day. She would compare herself to girls that were shorter and a smaller frame and wonder why she wasn’t the size 2 like they were.
It had been a long road since that time. Her father and I have divorced, she lost two close family members to cancer, had a really bad breakup with a boyfriend, and spiraled into a depression that led to five days of hospitalization in a mental institution.
That was then. And this was now.
I wondered how she had gotten there before I had. To a place of being able to love oneself completely. I was reminded of when I was about thirteen. My grandma had taken me clothes shopping and I was upset over the size of the pair of jeans I was trying on. I had recently gained a lot of weight. My grandma looked at me and said, “You might as well get used to it, you’ll always have a weight problem.” Now whether or not she intended to be cruel or for those words to remain engraved in my head for the next 30 years, they did. Only once had I successfully lost a significant amount of weight, right before my wedding. At that time, she was shocked, she didn’t even recognize me.
Sitting across from my seventeen year-old girl, I realized that I was still letting those words affect me. I was still believing her words. Still. That I had never fully forgiven my grandmother and by holding onto the memories and the anger, I was not healing, even though she has transitioned.
My daughter is on the plus side of recovery. She joined drama, has a new boyfriend, is looking for a job, and she loves herself. Not dislikes or likes…loves. What an amazing thing, for any seventeen year-old! In this day and age with all the pressure of the media, peers…she loves herself.
I heard once, “Take care of your body. Treat it as a temple. Your body is the only thing, human or not, that has been with you for every single second of your life, for every single trial and tribulation that you have experienced. And for that you should be grateful.” And I am. I’m also grateful for my daughter, for the amazing teacher she has been for me and for showing me that I need a new recording in my head, which is “I love myself, inside and out. I am an amazing soul in an amazing body.”