My Beautiful Body

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Two beautiful humans.

One night Margot and I were lying together in bed talking and cuddling and she said “wow, Mama, you have hair on your belly.”  I do. I have hair on most parts of my body, in fact.  And not cute, blond, downy hair, but like, dark, brown, sometimes wiry hair.  And I have never ever felt good about that.  I have bleached and shaved and plucked and waxed the hair off of my body.  I have tried every way possible to deny that there even was hair there to remove.  Because girls are not supposed to be hairy. Girls are supposed to have smooth and flawless skin.  Girls are “supposed to” look a lot of ways that I do not.

So, when Margot pointed out this “flaw” of mine.  This thing that I have always wished was different about me.  This thing that I have been teased about.  This thing that I have hated about myself.  When she pointed to that hated hair on my body, I cringed.

This had happened to me once before.  As a teenager, I was babysitting two little girls and we were playing on the monkey bars in their backyard.  I flipped upside down and one of the girls said, “You have hair on your belly.” And I said, “Yeah, it happens when you get older.” Then as she replied in disgust that her mother definitely did NOT have hair on her stomach, she confirmed the belief I had been carrying around that my body was wrong.  That it was wrong and ugly.  It was too big and it was covered in disgusting hair and it would never be beautiful.

So, when the hair growing on my now 32 year old body was pointed out to me by my impressionable young daughter, I cringed first but then I said “Yes! Isn’t it beautiful?”

Margot looks like her Daddy, everyone says so.  But, there are a few things she got from me.  She got my olive colored skin and, along with it, the dark hair that covers it.  I did not choose to have hair on my body, and neither did Margot.  I can choose, though, to love my body with all of it’s dark and unfeminine hair.  And I can do my very best to teach Margot to love her body, too.

I said, “Isn’t it beautiful? You have hair on your skin, too.”  Wide-eyed and joyful, she asked “I do??” So, I pointed out the fine baby hairs that cover her skin.  I said, “I love the beautiful hair on your body.” And she said, “I love the beautiful hair on your body, too.”

She will not remember that conversation 30 years from now, but I will always remember it, because it was the exact moment I decided, “I need to love my body.”

Which is what led me to posting a picture of myself on Instagram in my underpants.  It received many likes and some lovely comments from my lovely friends.  But, I’m sure a lot of people were confused, or annoyed, or had other sorts of not-nice feelings about seeing me in my underwear with my unshaven underarms and my unkempt bikini area and my round soft body parts.  I would like to say that I don’t care AT ALL about those not-nice feelings that people might have about my body.  I would really like to NOT care at all about them.  But, I’ve put in a lot of years hating my body and it’s a hard habit to break.  Which is why I’m really hoping that Margot never develops that habit in the first place.

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This was unintentionally my 5000th post.  Which my friend Michelle confirms was “epic.”

I know that I can not shield Margot from the influences of society.  As homeschoolers, I hope that she will, at least, be shielded from some of the intense peer pressure that many young girls experience in school.  We try to never watch television with commercials. I have shied away from showing her “princess” movies (I have never forgotten that in the dance scene the Beast can fit Belle’s ENTIRE WAIST in his paw… nor have I forgotten longing to feel so tiny…).  And I try, in all forms of media that she consumes, to show her a diverse range of humans.  In other words, I do my best.  But, even with me doing my best, she does not live in a cabin in the woods with no exposure to the outside world, which is the only way I can imagine raising a daughter who never realizes what society deems to be beautiful.

But, maybe I can raise a daughter who never feels like she has to conform to those standards? Right?  Maybe I can radically love my body and show her that she can and should do the same.  Maybe I can convince her that the hair on her body is beautiful and that all bodies are good bodies.  Maybe I can teach her to wear what makes her feel happy and eat what nourishes her soul.  Maybe, if I stop saying “I need to lose weight” then she will never feel like SHE needs to attach her self worth to a number on a scale.  Maybe, if I am unapologetic about how my body looks, if I stop hiding it away under clothes designed to alter it, if I show the world myself in my underpants and say “THIS IS MY AMAZING BODY” she will never feel that she needs to hide her own beautiful body away.  Maybe, just maybe, if I can show her how, my daughter will grow up loving herself.

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4 thoughts on “My Beautiful Body

  1. Thank you for sharing this transformative moment. It’s amazing how to her it was a simple innocent observation that led you to see yourself in a different way. She held up a mirror and you decided to love what you see. Our kids really help us step up and become those strong mamas they see us as!! Love you and love my little magical Margot!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a beautiful and wonderful post. I have lived with weight issues all my life and have felt fat shaming from society is such a terrible thing. In school I was always the girl with too much hair and a unibrow, I have never felt right in my own skin. My mother (who is 110 wet) is now on weight watchers again) and I have always felt never good enough. I love how you and Margot are going through this journey together and I hope that she can help you grow as much as you help your readers! ADD A SUBSCRIBE BUTTON TO YOUR BLOG!!

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  3. I thoroughly enjoyed this post! It is a tragic thing how influential cultural expectations of how the genders must behave and look are to young children. It seems to alienate those that reject such expectations to pursue their own unique paths. I don’t know if the expectation is any less overwhelming for men but I have never felt the need to conform to cultural mores. Indeed many times I go out of my way to be different, unique, and non-conformist. My wife often tells me, “Why do you like being different!? Do disagree with people on purpose!?” 🙂 I think us weirdos always make for more stimulating and intellectual conversation. That has always been my aim. I tend to gravitate to those who make me think and reconsider my worldview. My beliefs are always on the chopping block of logic and reason ready to be reshaped and remolded at the presence of a superior argument. Nothing is sacred to me. In high school I absolutely loathed eating with the other cattle in the cafeteria. Instead I chose to go to the auditorium to eat by myself to be with my thoughts and practice the beautiful baby grand piano while pretending the empty seats were filled with eager listeners! 🙂

    When I met Monika for the first time in 12th grade, our first date was to the chess club I started in 9th grade. She loved it! 🙂 At that time I also told her many times that I did not want her to feel compelled to shave her armpits or legs. She told me repeatedly that such practices make her feel more beautiful and sexy. I am happy with whatever makes her happy. I think every man and woman should do what makes him or her happy, as long as they are not hurting other people. If being unhappy makes you happy then be unhappy. I believe most people know what they want and that no one has the authority to coerce them into doing something that is against their nature. I apply this belief to raising children, how I treat my friends, family, and how I approach the State. You know best how to live your life. No one has a higher claim to your life or that of your family than you! Cheers! 🙂

    Like

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