Is it possible to create confidence while under influence?
I was talking with a friend the other day about weight and calories and all that crap that so many women care about. I walked away with two thoughts…
First was: within the last year and a half, I literally cannot remember a time I looked in the mirror and told myself I needed to lose weight or really even gave a rat’s ass about how my body looked. For a girl who forced her lunch up throughout her teens and overindulged to the point of obesity in her early twenties, I’m pretty proud of where I am now. So what if I have a mommy belly that’s determined to nevereverever snap back and a little extra junk in the trunk… I am woman. Hear me roar…and step away from my burger, dammit.
Second thought was: Shit.
Raising my daughter to be confident and strong in this superficial world is going to take more work than I anticipated and boy! I've anticipated a lot. I laugh at the irony of this, though; the little girl who never left the house alone, cried herself to sleep because her step-dad / sister / husband / neighbor’s first-cousin’s best-friend’s mother said something once to make me feel insecure, molding a highly impressionable little girl. We’re starting with the ‘What Not to Do’ version, I guess. I have a beautiful daughter… inside and out. And each time I hear my girlfriends fret and stew over their appearance, I can’t help but think of Addi… and it forces me to loudly and sometimes, dramatically, sigh.
My great-grandmother once told me something that had to do with regretting worrying so much about her appearance in her youth because by the time she had the maturity to just be herself, she was too old to enjoy that emotional freedom. I was too young and affected to pay attention to what she was saying then… my demons were drowning her out. If only I had paid more attention to her… to all my grandmothers… when I was younger, I could lean on their words for some footing here.
Ever since that conversation with my girlfriend, I’ve been thinking about the how’s and the why’s, trying to come up with ideas and practices to start engaging in for my daughters benefit. And because I talk to myself all the time… well, silently… but still… my internal voices keep asking random questions. Why do we women chain ourselves down with these ridiculous notions about weight and appearance? Is it the men we’re trying to impress? Each other? Is it the negative influence of those damn Kardashians and the Lohan’s? Why do we limit ourselves so much and let these societal influences control us? And who, what, when and where did I stop caring?
The part that burns me… the part that makes me want to grab the microphone and start rapping on top of my soap box is why are we settling and letting someone or something else dictate how we present ourselves? When did we, as a culture, become so arrogant that we thought we had the right to force out individuality and uniqueness?