Build them up….
This has been in me. I guess. I just didn’t realize it was here until someone unknowingly popped the bubble that released the pressure.
Girls, and boys, we’ve got to stop tearing one another down in the name of building ourselves up. I listen and watch and take note of the way girls especially treat one another. It’s not funny or silly to drag someone down only to hold them down and kick them. Of course I’m speaking metaphorically, but honestly the picture I have is a physical torture. A look, a cutting comment, a “diss” or plain ugliness does nothing but scar. I wear the scars. I’ve carried mine around for YEARS. They’ve healed but they are reminders of another time.
Someone asked me tonight if I would help her know what to say to her anorexic niece. Another friend asked if I could write a letter to a hurting young girl hospitalized again for an eating disorder. Heres the thing. I don’t know what to say. I didn’t want anyone’s help. I didn’t want anyone to reach out to me because they hadn’t reached out when I was hurting. They hadn’t given me a hand when I was knocked down. In fact in some cases they had initiated the trip that caused the fall. Why should I listen to them now? They didn’t care about me or they would have cared when I needed them. No….I don’t and didn’t know what to say to these girls. I can tell you that someone who is hurting that much needs to know that they are worth more than a number, or a size, or an unachievable expectation. It’s impossible to achieve the picture in our minds without severely damaging ourselves. I know. I tried. I was damaged and more than that I DAMAGED those close to me. Those wounds took YEARS to heal and cut deep. “Selfish” is what I could say to those girls. That’s what this is. But that won’t help will it? It might only add to the punches and kicks.
My daughter came home last month and told me, “mom, I’m fat.” Immediate sweats. Shock. Anger. Shaking. All of these things happened at once. “Who told you that?” I asked. I was infuriated. After working SO HARD to keep my own insecurities quiet she was still tripped. Another girl spat that comment out without even thinking. A girl larger, and obviously hurting herself. Why else would you do that to someone else? Why else would you “punch” someone that way? Misery loves company perhaps? A feeling of power? Evil? All of the above? Perhaps. What I do know is that I told my daughter that she is perfectly made, she is precious, and she is not to listen to anyone else’s opinion of size. She’s strong, athletic and smart……and loved. That’s all she needs to know. Growing up is hard enough without walking through it with labels stuck to you. And what’s more, those labels are dished out by insecure individuals who have NO IDEA how to deal with their own emotions so they lash out at others. For about a year my daughter wore a lot of eye makeup. We couldn’t understand why because she’s naturally beautiful (we may be a little biased). We didn’t push but just made sure she knew she is beautiful (when the makeup wasn’t on) and now….no more makeup. She even said, ” I don’t need to wear makeup.” That’s a victory. She’s confident in HERSELF and she feels safe.
And here’s the kicker. I now work in the fitness industry. An industry that most think revolves around how you look, what size you are and the number on the scale. Well, it’s my goal to change that. How do you feel? Do you have energy? Are you healthy? Are you strong? Are you confident in your clothes? Do you love you? SUCCESS. We CAN change anything about ourselves, even our shape and size but if the reason for change is to please someone else then that’s the wrong reason. If you want to challenge yourself and achieve a goal. If you NEED to change do it. You CAN! But don’t do it because some idiot tells you you’re “fat” just to hurt you. Be uniquely and beautifully YOU. Nothing brings me more joy than to hear someone’s excitement about their energy, their strength, their confidence and about fitting into their goals jeans or feeling attractive for their upcoming event. THAT is a victory. And it starts with being filled with encouragement and belief.
So, what would I tell those girls? Well I’m not sure they would listen, but I would tell those close to them to remind their precious girl how precious she truly is. I would value her and look her straight in her cold blank eyes (because that’s how I was) and with tears streaming down my face I would make her understand her value and her beauty from the inside out.
I didn’t understand that I was a masterpiece. I was and AM created perfectly and passionately by THE Creator. Nothing trumps that. NOTHING! I’m not saying you stop struggling. We are human, and flawed. But, if we are filling our hearts and minds with positivity and surrounding ourselves with those who would build us up daily then it’s easy to shake it off and go back to being awesome. My prayer is that we would be stronger to stand up for those who need help and quick to stop the punches. Be the advocate your child needs. Be their protector and remind them how truly precious they are not just to you but to the ONE who made them.