Hiking makes me feel like a badass woman. I head out into the wilderness, sometimes by myself, carrying with me what I need to survive for a few hours or overnight. My mind does incredible things. I work through the past, give gratitude for the present, and design my future. I am a force to be reckoned with when I return from the trail. My body is strong and powerful. I am fierce.
And I am raising a fierce young girl.
I am careful with my words when I talk about my body because I never want my daughter to feel that the way she physically looks is unworthy. Sure, I could stand to lose a few pounds but that is my own journey and I will never put my goals about my physical body onto my daughter. She will never hear me criticize my naked body, the body that grew her, when I look in the mirror.
Outside sources will attempt to tell my daughter that she needs to look a certain way. There is absolutely no room for anyone to ever comment on the way someone physically looks, outside of a health and safety perspective (and I’m talking severe health and safety like an eating disorder.)
I know what it is like to be a teenager and to throw my food up after a meal. I know what it is like to be an emotional eater. I know what it is like to have an unhealthy relationship with my body and to kick myself while I am already down. It has taken me years and a lot of hard work to feel the body image confidence that I have now. I love myself.
I am determined to raise a daughter who does not need to engage in the body shaming conversation when the media, school mates, an asshole boyfriend, or anyone else attempts to tell her that she needs to look a certain way. She is going to feel empowered to break that cycle and redirect that conversation to something positive about herself. She is going to remind that person that the way someone looks is not relevant to who they are as a human being and how they contribute to this world.
It starts with my daughter continuing to take part in activities that make her feel good about herself, and not just on a physical level but any activity that sparks joy within her. I may be a little biased but I think she is an incredible artist. Her artistic skill is something that I will nurture for as long as she has an interest in it.
I cannot control the words and actions of other people but I can influence the way my daughter responds to those words and actions. I can guide her to use the strength of her voice to speak up for herself and others. She is a loud person too, and I mean that in the best possible way, so get ready because this mama bear is about to teach her cub another thing about thriving, not just surviving.