Thursday, January 16, 2014

Beauty Standards

My daughter and I were talking last night.  I was brushing her hair, and she said, "I just don't know why everyone adores me."

First of all, because you say stuff like that.  It is damn adorable.  I said, "Because you're so adorable."  Cutest exchange ever?  Maybe.

Then she turned to me and asked, "Did you look like me when you were little?"

I told her that I did.  In fact, some pictures of her look exactly like mine from the same age.  She turned around quickly and narrowed her eyes.  "Will I look like you when I grow up?"

I told her she might, but she will look like herself.  Then she sighed.  "I just want to be straight."

(Side note: She does not refer to straight in a sexuality sense.  Straight refers to thin bodies.)

I told her that she might grow up to have a straight body, and she might grow up to have a more round body, and either of those are ok because we will love her no matter what.

"But, I just want to be beautiful."

Here's the problem.  I want her to value all aspects of herself, not just her beauty.  I also don't want her to only see beauty in one narrow shape.  And mostly, I don't want her to start having body image issues at the tender age of six.  It is a long road in this life to self-acceptance, and to start worrying about it before you can read scares the crap out of me.

Also, we don't shame or elevate body types in my house.  I never talk negatively about my body in front of the girls, and I don't do diet talk around them.  My husband is affectionate to me and the kids rarely watch television with advertisements.  But they do watch Disney movies, so I know they aren't immune to societal images of perfection.  

So.  I asked her, "Do you think Mommy's not beautiful?"

"You are beautiful Mommy.  I just want a straight body."

Ok.  Fair enough.  I can understand that she has an idea in her head of the person she wants to be.  I get that.  I told her that she needs to eat healthily and exercise for a healthy body.  We also talk about the girls' other great traits more than their physical appearance.  We compliment their intelligence, humor, kindness, and generosity often.  I hope that gets in.

But this conversation is going to be ongoing.  I see a future of changing bodies, clothes that fit oddly, "bad" foods, and judgment.  I hope I can talk to her in a way that makes her know that bodies are different and that's just fine.  Mostly, I want her to understand her worth is about so much more than her body shape.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


It is the first month of 2014, and also the week of my 33rd birthday, so that means it is time for a check-up on last year's resolutions and a list of all new ones.

Last year I met about half of my resolutions.  I blogged more, both here and on another forum.  I also submitted three stories to contests.  I haven't heard on the last one yet, but I'm just proud that I got out of my comfort zone enough to send them off.

I also completed National Novel Writing Month successfully, for the first time in four years.  I'm pretty proud of that accomplishment.

I bought stuff to make 72-Hour Emergency Kits, but I didn't really put the kits together.

I met with the women of the local Roller Derby league, the Animas Roller Girls.  They were very welcoming and excited to see a new face.  However, I injured my leg (not nearly as badly as before) shortly after the meeting, so I decided to put it off again.  

So this year, the list grows.

1.  Make the 72-Hour Emergency Kits.
2.  Revise the NaNo book into something readable.
3.  Complete the unfinished stories I have backed up in my computer.
4.  Get my teaching license again.
5.  Blog weekly (here or Tumblr).

I have had a lot of time off to become more serious as a writer, but I haven't really had much of a focus about it.  I am dedicating this year to making writing more than a pipe dream.

There are a few other things that I want to accomplish, but those aren't for sharing right now.

About Me

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Farmington, NM, United States
Old enough to know better, young enough to change.