Tonight our 7 year old dutifully brushed her teeth. She got her pajamas on. She climbed into her bed. Tonight she looked me full in the face, with a small frown, and said she wasn’t going to have cake at her sister’s birthday party. When i asked her why, she said because she is fat. She threw the blankets off her legs, and tried to wrap her small hands around her thigh. She couldn’t do it, and decided she should be able to, otherwise it meant she was fat. She wanted to know why her calves and thighs weren’t the same size, why there had to be so much difference in shape between the two.
i got indignant, and sad, and angry. i told her that her thighs have so much muscle! That her legs were part of what make her so strong! That God created her just the way He wanted her, and she should love who she is and how she looks. i told her that the skinny women on magazines and on TV are liars, that photo shopping makes them look much better than they really look, and that it isn’t reality.
i told her she damn well is eating cake at the party.
And as i sit here now, after kissing her sweet face and saying goodnight, my heart is hurting. This little creature that i made from scratch, that i rocked endlessly, who i would do anything for… she is feeling insecure. She is in second grade. The world, media, and technology are influencing people younger and younger. i fear that the days of running outside with no shoes on, getting muddy and dirty, laying in the grass and seeing shapes in clouds are gone. i fear the innocence is less than what it was.
As bloggers we have a responsibility to portray what is real, not what we want to be real. Writing stories, poems, and ideas is one thing; portraying them as fact is wrong and unkind. All too often i meet individuals and couples who read this information, take it at face value, and then ruin their relationships trying to achieve things that aren’t real. This breaks my heart, because instead of encouraging people to be and build themselves into something authentic, we are instilling insecurity and self loathing in people. This is a fact. This is truth! This is not right!!!!!!
Don’t apologize for who you are. Don’t think you owe anyone an explanation. But be genuine. Label your shit as fantasy if it is fantasy. Because people are watching. Children are watching. And it is up to each and every one of us to lead by example.