As an adult, there were many times when my body image was questioned and openly judged. I was dressed for a dance class once. My belly was exposed. My mother later told me over the phone about how big it was. Her comment made me feel bad because of the tone that she chose to use. I was healthy and not overweight, but my belly was big. Based on her comment combined with the tone, I understood my big belly to be a problem. It did not change the way that I dressed for dance class, but I did make certain that she never saw my exposed belly again. When I did begin to lose a lot of weight, that still was not enough. “You have lost a lot of weight, but you still have a long way to go…”. My response was that I was happy that I was losing weight for myself and not for her. Last summer, she purchased a bikini for me to wear. It was beautiful. I immediately tried it on. She started tapping my stomach and said, “Don’t you think that you should lose more weight before you wear this?”. Instead of telling her that I normally grace the beach topless, I instead chose to tell her that if I do not enjoy my body now, when am I going to enjoy it? Furthermore, I was happy with the bikini and the way that it looked. Because I did not appear the way that she thought I should look, I was deemed inappropriate and not fit to wear something skimpy in spite of the fact that I was in the best shape of my life. It took a long time for me to learn to politely avoid the insecurities of others including family members.
Such things have been on my mind since there seems to be an issue with free spirited daughters and mothers that do not understand them. Bouts of tension often lead to volatile situations and constant misunderstandings. There is no middle ground in that the mother thinks that her child should be just like her or at least normal according to the picture that she has in her head. However, what is considered normal? Whom is in charge of setting those rules? You are called plastic for not sharing the same beliefs or loose for being unwed with a child. Perhaps you lifestyle is questioned and scrutinized on a daily basis leading to further turmoil. How does a girl cope with it all?
A strong foundation is key in such a situation. You must understand yourself first and foremost. One would think that the one that gave birth to you would have a better understanding of you but all too often, the level of comprehension is poor. Understand that you must live your life for you on your terms.
You do not have to justify anything to anyone. If it is something that you consider private, then do not feel guilty about keeping it that way. The aspects of your life do not have to be the side dish at the family dinner table. You do not have to be subjected to misguided comments that make you feel bad. You can address the issue directly, or respond with something positive. Take the statement and turn it around into something joyful.
You are something divine and powerful. You are made in the likeness of the creator and nothing can harm you without your permission. Think highly of yourself and always try to be positive. Along this journey that is called life, there will be many trials and tribulations. The way you handle them will be your lasting legacy.