Thursday, October 25, 2012

I Heart My Body. I want you to Heart your body too Laura

I'm writing this for my daughter, who is nearly 17. And who has become re-obsessed with her body image again. At 7 her paternal grandmother called her fat. A couple of weekends ago, her paternal grandmother again implied that she was fat. To say I'm furious is an understatement.

This is me at 18.




This is me now at nearly 43.


As you can see it has undergone a lot of change in those 25 years. My body has grown three children inside it, delivered them via Cesarean section, fed and nurtured them from it, undergone knee reconstruction.
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I am lazy. A great spectator. I wish that I had been more active in sport. Not so that I had long sinewy limbs, but so that my core muscle strength was stronger to support my back, which I now I have ongoing problems with.

Until I was pregnant with Aston, I ate what ever I wanted. Then I developed gestational diabetes, and now have to have annual tests to check my blood sugar, as I am pre diabetic, or glucose impaired. I wish I had been more mindful about what I put into my body. I drank too much through my teens and early twenties. Smoked and partied hard.

Here's the thing about bodies. They are all Different. All of them. And each and everyone of them undergoes changes. Constantly. They grow older, fatter, healthier, thinner, taller, shorter... constantly changing. From environmental factors, from each year passing, from what we put into them, from what we do to them. Change. ALL. THE. TIME.

There's another thing I know. This body of mine, the external shell that everyone sees, is just that. A shell. It is not the total sum of my body. My body is my brain, my heart, my blood, my feelings, my soul.

And now my body is telling me... To love it. To take care of it. To nourish it. To celebrate the wonderful things that it has done, and can still do.

There are women all over the Internet today celebrating their bodies in the I HEART MY BODY 2012 campaign. I love this. It challenges the "norms" that are shoved down our throats every day in every medium. Beauty is not, as popular media would have us believe, what is on the outside. The most beautiful people in the world are because the light of the beauty of their souls shines so brightly you can't help but see it, and say, Wow, they are so beautiful. That's true beauty.

When I was 40 I had tattooed down the side of my body an Ralph Waldo Emerson Quote:

What Lies Behind Us and What Lies Before Us are Tiny Matters Compared to What Lies Within Us
 
This is my body. And I love it. Its the only one I have. My darling daughter, LOVE YOURS. Its amazing and the only one you have.  It is going to change. Constantly. And that is a beautiful thing.

PS - sorry I didn't ask if I could wear your bikini in this photo. I love you. xxx


22 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing. Your body looks just as amazing as it did when you were 18 to now!

    xx

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    1. Thanks Carly. And thank you for hosting this initiative. It's important that we come in all different shapes and sizes. It's what is inside us that is more important then anything else. X

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  2. I love that you're comfy with your body and I FUCKIN ADORE YOUR TATTOO.

    Ahem.

    You know my thoughts on this campaign - we just add more grist to the mill in the "body image" dialogue. I think it's a dialogue that should be boycotted because how our bodies look is IRRELEVANT. I love that you made the point about the inside. Our bodies are mere vessels, (unless we make money from how we look). We need to do our best to keep those vessels healthy. Beauty should not be our default expectation.

    Yes I know, I've added to the dialogue that I wanted to boycott. *facepalm*

    xxxxxxx

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    1. I'm glad you commented. Because the dialogue should be about embracing our differences, and recognising what is really important. The stuff inside! The stuff that makes us who we are. Not the shell we come in. I love my tattoo too. It reminds me every single day that I'm strong and capable and can overcome anything. Because I have overcome a lot.

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  3. Vicky - I'm with you all the way with this message. Leading by powerful example. Oh, and.. I literally laughed out loud at your PS. Hilarious! X

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    1. I don't own a bikini so I had to raid my daughters. It bothers me profoundly how many young women have issues with body image. And the popular media has a lot to answer for it regards to this issue. I am never going to have that 18 yr old body again, and I don't want it. It is not a measure of my worth. I am so much more then my physical appearance. And that is the message I want young women to know. All women to know. X

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  4. This post (and you) are gorgeous, Vicky. And like Bec, I laughed at your PS! You are a tremendous model for your daughter. Keep spreading the love. x

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    1. Thank you beautiful. I try. When we push against the messages that popular media feed out on a daily basis. For our daughters. For all women. Our worth is not measured by our bodies, but by what is inside it! Xxx

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  5. Love, LOVE the Emerson quote. It's perfect.

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    1. It is one of my favourites. I have a few, but that is the one that resonates the most with me every day. :)

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  6. Brilliant.
    How true - we strive for this body 'perfection' idea - not realising that our bodies will change over time regardless.
    I love that you are in your daughter's bikin - and rocking it!!
    :-) xx

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    1. Lol Shar. This summer for the first time In a very long time I'm going to go and buy myself one. I love my tattoo, and I should show it off, as my daughter tells me. :)

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  7. Vicky, I LOVE this! I have 2 girls and I hope when I'm 43, I'm just as wise ... and can still rock a bikini, like you! x

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    1. What a lovely thing to say. I'm not sure that I'm wise. Most of the time I am making it up as I go along. I have a post here that lists some books that I found really helpful with having a daughter. Girl/woman it's called in case you are interested. X

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  8. Fantastic Vicky! Your daughter has such a healthy role model in you.... she will be Ok. I love that you know that it all lies deeper than our shell. I think that once we accept who we are, there is so much more force to be reckoned with! Much love xxx

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    1. Thank you Leigh. Right now, she doesn't necessarily "hear" me, but I know my words and actions do go in based on other things that I have said in the past, and when I hear my words coming out of mouth to her friends! X

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  9. Love your PS. to your Daughter! Hate that your Daughters grandmother has caused doubt within her mind. Love that you are providing your Daughter with such a great role model! Your body is banging and I will be a happy lady, if at 40, I have a body like yours x

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    1. Thanks Jess, you're very kind. *blushes*

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  10. I LOVE the tattoo and the P.S.! This whole post is just awesome and so important. I hope your daughter gets as much out of it as I did x

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    1. Oh trae, thank you so much lovely. She read it, and Replied im stiill dieting. But it did create a dialogue between us. I said to her that its ok to look after your body, as long as you're doing it for the RIGHT reasons. To eat healthy is good, to exercise is good, as it will help her core body strength. (She has spina bifidia occulta which we didn't know until she was 15 and discovered was the reason for her ongoing back pain). Your post was one of the first I read and inspired me to post.

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  11. What a beautiful, heartfelt letter. I hope your daughter understands and appreciates every sentiment you've portrayed. And it is so very true - we only have the one body, we need to look after it.

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  12. Vicky, this is beautiful and YOU are beautiful. I worry about messages my daughter receives and she is only 4. I can only imagine the worry intensifies as they get older. I have lived with so many body issues myself and I hope I don't pass them on. (Similarly to your daughter, I had a grandfather who always told me I was fat when I was a teen and in my 20s - devastating to my self-esteem). You are an amazing mum, Vicky. And thank you for the reminder to look after our bodies. So inspiring. x

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