Today was the start of my new and improved health and fitness journey. Yep – here I go again. 😞 I am no longer calling it a diet, screw that – I’m calling it a “do-it-dammit!” 🤪 I have not been happy with my body for a VERY long time, and if I’m being perfectly honest I wasn’t even happy with it when I was thin. So this time, I am focusing on health and fitness – eating right and getting active – instead of that seemingly unforgiving number on the bathroom scale.
It’s a journey I’ve been on many times before, so I find myself feeling many of the same feelings I’ve felt in the past – shame, disappointment, fear of failing…again. It’s interesting, these are the exact same feelings I felt when I chose recovery years ago – only this time I’m giving up junk food instead of vodka.
So as I was wallowing in self-pity this afternoon, my daughter arrived home from school in tears because a boy in her class called her fat… not just once, but multiple times.😭
My immediate reaction was anger. As I wrapped my daughter tight in a big mama bear hug, I felt the heat of my internal rage burning my flesh.
Now, I could have taken this moment to be petty – and believe me, I wanted to – but what would that teach my daughter? That it’s ok to call people names? Nope! But I also didn’t want her to think I was excusing this boys bad behavior as “just silly boy stuff”. Not today folks!
It’s a delicate dance, being a parent – especially in tender moments like these.
Instead, I sat quietly and listened to my daughter as she told me how insecure she’s been feeling lately with her changing body. I watched her angrily pinch her stomach with both hands, and then proceed to cross her arms tight in front of it as if to shield herself from judging eyes. I watched as she hunched forward in an attempt to make herself smaller. I sat with tears in my eyes as my brain scrambled to try and find the right words to say, while also realizing I do all of those same things myself.
How do I make her understand how incredibly beautiful she is, if I don’t even know how to appreciate and care for my own body?
I find it undeniably serendipitous that a moment of pure heartbreak can be transformed into something equally hopeful just by sharing our voices with each other. I was able to relate to my daughter in a way that hadn’t presented itself to us just yet – and it allowed me the opportunity to discuss the importance of body positivity in BOTH of our lives. I was able to apologize to her for not always setting the best example of self-love and self-care, and she was able to find comfort knowing this is just another topic she can feel comfortable talking with me about.
Together we disclosed the things about ourselves that we deemed “imperfections” and how it was those very same things that make us unique and beautiful in the eyes of the people we love – and that not one of the things we mentioned could ever make us unworthy of love and respect.
One of the greatest gifts of my recovery is the opportunity to be present for my daughter every single day of my life. I am grateful that I understand each day is a new journey, and that life – though it ebbs and flows – is incredibly inspiring if we just know where to look.
Today, I am grateful we were able to turn a difficult experience into something even more powerful than the shame we tend to hold inside of us – acceptance!
And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. 💜