What I Want You to Know: A Letter to My Daughter
My dear daughter,
I promise I will never speak a word to you about your weight or the shape of your body. I promise to never make remarks about the size of your thighs, the shape of your tummy, or how you’re thinning or rounding. I promise I will never tell you that you are “bad” or shame you for eating “too much.” I promise that I will never tell you that you need to eat more, or that you should exercise more.
I wish I could protect you from those words forever. I wish I could protect you from the world of judgment, comparison, from marketing intended to make you feel ashamed or “not enough”. I wish I could protect you from all the potentially negative feelings you may have about your body, your shape, or your size. I hope with all of my heart that you never have the negative inner dialogue I have always had. I know I can’t hide you away, but for now, what I can do is be an example of self-love.
I promise that you will never see me starve myself, count calories, cry as I look in the mirror, or exercise as a form of punishment. I promise you won’t hear me cry when my favorite black dress no longer zips up because my shape has changed after growing two children. I promise you will never hear me shame myself for indulging in ice cream after a day a the pool with you, and you certainly won’t see me ride a stationary bike for an hour to make up for it. You will never see me drag myself to the gym for any other reason than that I genuinely want to be there.
I can also promise you that you’ll see me dress however I’d like. I promise you that you’ll see me eat nutritionally dense food, but also cookie dough. You’ll see me ride bikes with your brother, and also go on runs because it feels good to move outside. You’ll see me wear a bikini, exposing my thousands of stretch marks. You’ll hear me say “thank you” to genuine compliments about my appearance, “no” to unwanted attention. You’ll see me stretch and bend my body in fun shapes, and balance on stupid things, and dance when I feel silly. You’ll see me climb things and lift things. You’ll see me enjoy all aspects of life, all while listening to my body. You will hear me talk about how strong I feel, or how I can tell I need to drink more water. I promise to show you how to honor, love, and appreciate the body you live in because it’s taken me up until now to learn how to love my own.
I can not hide you from potential insecurities you may face, or the horrible things you may hear, but I can show you that bodies are amazing things that will change dramatically, constantly. I can tell you, believing it with all my heart, that how your body looks has nothing to do with your worth. You, my sweet growing daughter, are perfect from head to toe. I will never see you in any other way. You are a beautiful being, and I hope it doesn’t take you almost 30 years to believe that for yourself.