I’m a mother of two teenage girls. Life continually proves to be harder than I expected. Body/Image dysmorphia seems to be an inherited condition – in an attempt to break the chain – the first written words to undo misconceived perceptions.
Dear Hannah and Talia,
Lately it has become apparent that neither one of you know the extent to which you have been blessed. While I have dedicated our years together to assuring that you feel cherished and perfect, it seems that somehow – you have missed this. For the moment I have you here – please pay attention.
You are remarkably good people. Compassionate to all living creatures, even snakes.
Despite your perception – neither of you are untalented…or fat (!)…or less than wonderful in any way.
So stop thinking otherwise.
Ideally, you get to live a different life than I have lived. But you still have to live your life in the body you inherited mostly, from me. For that, you’re welcome.
You have only been around my body after it gave birth to you (and danced a little too joyfully, for a little too long). You don’t see what a great vehicle I had to begin with.
Please take better care of your vehicle. Repair dents before the fenders rust and fall off. Occasionally check your oil. Try to love the miraculous beauty of its creative design. (Something I was never able to do with the original one.)
You must (and this is a rule) “Dance in the body you have.”
There seems to be a fine line between raising strong, confident women and self-absorbed narcissists. Even though you must appreciate what you’ve been given, here is why I will not constantly point out what you’ve been given:
1 – You must grow to become all God created you to be. Part of growing involves self-doubt and searching – hearing only praise could make you sit back and become complacent. You are absolutely gold through and through, but gold is only beautiful once it has been refined in fire. I fervently pray that your fire is just a match, not the bonfire I got.
B – It is vitally important that you don’t think you are better than anyone else. All of us look around and see people who we think are prettier, smarter, thinner, stronger, happier, funnier, better. And there are many who are. And many who aren’t. However, God did not make us them. He made us – us– with good reason (although I’ve found that He keeps this a secret for a really long time).
Just try not to compare yourself with anyone else. Just…try.
Spending any time thinking that you are less than enough is a waste of time and energy. You are more than enough. Spend your energy on important things. Maybe…learning a way to make the world a place where comparison is never a viable use of energy and everyone dances happily in the body they have.
I love you dearly and hope you feel cherished and nearly perfect.
(the one usually standing at the sink or driving you back and forth, and back and forth, and back and forth, and annoying you within most moments)
P.S. Regarding perfection: it’s a mirage.