I’ve seen this viral Facebook post several times, and each time I see it I read it. And each time I read it I’m puzzled.
We write poems about the beauty of a sunrise. We photograph the breathtaking vistas of the mountains. We see beauty throughout this world and well into the universe. I find myself just as much in awe of the human form, be it male or female, as I am of all the other beauty in nature, because human beings are part of the majesty of the universe. Not only do we marvel at beauty, we have an innate longing to be beautiful, and to be told of our beauty. Should I not fulfill my daughter’s longing? Should I leave her wondering?
So while there is so much good in that viral post about showing our daughters what is good about activity and food, I cannot embrace it. If I speak of the beauty of my dog as she bounds through a field, but not of my daughter as she does likewise, won’t she notice my silence? If I am stunned by the glory of a perfect sunset, but not of my daughter’s eyes or hair in just the right light, what will she think? And though I would never shame her for weight gain or loss, I don’t think it should go unspoken either; it should be a subject for discussion just like getting a haircut or having a cut, or anything else that goes with having a body. It seems it would be unwise to make such a subject taboo or untouchable, I would much rather make it as common as speaking of the grass growing. Our bodies do change, and we can discuss it. We don’t need that extra 20 lbs to be the elephant in the room any more than we want it to be a source of unhappiness or shame. Isn’t not speaking of our bodies and the changes they encounter just as shameful as insulting ourselves? How will my daughter bring up a concern over a change in her weight if we have never spoken of such things? If she is concerned, I most certainly want to know it!
So yes, my love, do things because they empower you, because you’re more alive when you do them. Use your body to mobilize your beautiful soul, but also, please, delight in the beauty that is you. Because sometimes when I look at you tears well up in my eyes, taking in your glorious appearance. I see your eyes in that certain light, and they inspire me like a sunrise. Your hair is as glorious as a wildflower meadow in bloom. Your youthful body is a stunning and fresh as my middle-aged body is confident and assured by experience and use. Whether you can barely keep your size 0 jeans over your hips or you’re well into the double digits, you carry yourself with aplomb and grace that size cannot quantify. And sometimes my darling, you’re simply cute.
And we will bake grandma’s cookies together and make healthy smoothies, and everything in between, because, you are lovely, in body, mind and soul.