Tuesday, November 17, 2009

She's Watching Me

"You're so skinny."

Three magic words I've always longed to hear...

Until they came from my daughter.

For those of you who are new readers, 18 months ago I shared a secret here on the blog. Mostly because I wanted to bring attention to the True Campaign, a ministry that is dear to my heart.

I don't struggle with eating disorder as I did in the early part of this decade, but honestly there are still days when I choose to think things about my physical self that just aren't true; when I let feelings and the culture I live in dictate what I think is attractive.

Several week ago I received catalogues from two very popular female oriented department stores. The models on the covers were very...willowy. The Mister saw those catalogues sitting on the the counter, and was immediately angry.

"Kellie, the girls on those covers are way too thin. Why do women think that's attractive?"

My answer?

"It isn't the women I'm looking at, its the product, the clothing, the beautiful household things they sell."

He stared at me long and hard and I knew he wasn't buying it. Without any words, he called my bluff.

I know he is right.

Skinniness still holds a powerful attraction to this former disordered eater...I no longer have the energy or drive to wear skinniness anymore...but I'm still sometimes seduced by its call.

And now, its slowly, deceitfully, almost innocently, calling my nine year old daughter.

I've always thought I was so good about keeping my issues contained around the kids. I don't talk about dieting, I don't weigh myself with them around, I try to be balanced in what we eat--not talking about certain foods being "good" or "bad". I now exercise in moderation; enjoy people and things around me.

Being outwardly grateful for the body I have...

But, we're only as strong as our weakest link, and the catalogues on my counter tell it all.

If my daughter can't escape from the images that bombard our minds in the safety of her own home, where can she rest?

The truth is I look at those models and sometimes wish...

And my daughter?

Well, she looks at me.

Her statement that day she as watched me dress rang an alarm from the depths of my soul that refuses to be silenced.

In that moment of truth, a deep place I hadn't realized was chained to the bondage of 'thin' was awakened. Released. --A tiger no longer caged, who's cubs are at risk.

I may not be able to stop all things that stand in the face of my daughter and beg her to compare herself to an unmeasurable standard, but I can will take her hand and lead by example.

She may be called by pictures, by culture, by peer pressure, by fashion, by media, and all things that "set the standards"....

...but, she is watching me.


If you are not familiar with the True Campaign go on over and check it out. On this page you can be a part of the True Campaign by signing up. If you only have time to do one thing today, don't leave a comment here and use that time to check them out. It's time -- Challenge the Culture and End the Crises.


His Girl said...

this post is amazing. very, very very well said, my friend.

I'll be chewing on this all day long.

(trying to think where- but you need to submit this somewhere... more people need to read it. like LOTS MORE)

Candace Chaney said...

I'm all signed up.

As a mother of a girl, I LONG for words like these. Thank you so much for sharing your heart and some wisdom on how to train up girls in this oh-so-messed-up culture of ours.

It's taken me off guard how obsessed I've become about this pregnancy weight. My sister in law is getting married in July and I am panicked about how I'm going to look 2 months post-partum walking down that isle. It's crazy. This spoke words to my heart.

Again, thank you. Keep sharing that wisdom, please!

Amber said...

Oh, Kellie. this post is beautiful. Simply beautiful.

I fall into the trap of thinking that I don't really have to worry about all of these issues because I don't have daughters. So for me to be slightly obsessive about my weight or dropping comments where their little ears can hear...surely it isn't that big of a deal.

But is a huge deal. Because not only do we know that eating disorders can reach men, too, but I'm teaching them how to view women. That weight and physical beauty is what makes a person.

I want my men to be Godly men. To have a love and respect for women and their future girlfriends and wives that far extends numbers on a scale, jean sizes, and bra sizes.

Thank you for this VERY healthy reminder, for not only me, but for my mother's heart.

O Mom said...

As A mom of 3 daughters and a woman who struggles with too much weight I need reminders constantly to show them how much I know God loves me just the way I am. It's amazing how knowing those littles eyes are always on us, helps us. Your picture at the end is perfect.

Laura said...

All serious things set aside, that is an awesome picture!! So much to be said in that one photo. Beautiful too and Magazine worthy!

BUT, this does not go along with just girls, my boys already want to work out, watch their "bellies" As, parents we have to be careful with both genders. It rubs off whether you know it or not, what we think in our own minds and in our own time.

I read in a book that even what we keep "in check" can still find ways to the minds of our children and then they carry it on to their children. Even the silent stuff.

A slippery slope and thank you for this reminder!! Let all things be given to GOD, let us be free of the world for the final thought and always our focus, in the day, is Heaven. This world has nothing to offer that the next one does. The trip has only begun.

Melissa @ Breath of Life said...

I'm with His Girl...you should submit this somewhere!

Carpool Queen said...

Yes, they do watch, don't they? And she sees a mother who opens her home and loves well, who focuses on others rather than on herself.

You both are beautiful.

Such The Spot said...

A truly important message you're passing on here my friend, and you've done so beautifully.

For us mothers of daughters we do so need to guard and protect the images we not only allow to penetrate our families, but sometimes go so far as to admire. To support. And boy can it be tough, given what's out there for consumption.

Little phrases like the one the girl said to you serve as excellent reminders though.

As does this post.

Tiffani said...

One of the very first things I remember about meeting you was your honesty and your heart for this subject...it drew me to you then and even moreso now, knowing how much closer we've become...

I am ever-mindful of this with my daughter but also teaching my son how to love a girl from the inside out...and JUST today his Bible lesson was about how we take care of ourselves with healthy eating but also about healthy mindsets and healthy ways to dress, etc...and we talked then about the importance of HIS self-care b/c I think boys can very easily be overlooked. Connor is such a creative/linguistic kinda kid and the first thing he gets asked as a boy is "what sports do you play" and every "boy" thing is about being an athlete...

That was a digression, sorry, ;) but either way...I'm thankful for your reminder today....Love you!

New Every Morning said...

So well written (as usual). I will be mulling this for a few days. Thank you for the reminder that our girls are watching oh-so-closely.

Hillcrest Cottage said...

Thank you for the honesty in this post. I love the True Campaign and the video!
I don't have girls but have all boys...whew. Hard to be the mom of girls in a day like today!
But I AM a girl...and also feel all the things you mentioned. It only gets worse with age...hard to stand in line at the grocery store, looking at all those images of beauty and feeling so below the "standard". It really did help to see the True Campaign and learn that what we are seeing is not real, but made-up. The women are not so flawless and perfect!
Here's my job, as the mom of boys, to let these guys "in" on the lie, too. Guys need to know how false it all is, as well.I do my best to help them focus on things other than outward appearances!

Tracey said...

Thanks for this! As a mom of three girls (and one boy) I needed the reminder.

Sherri said...

I'm a lurker, but I've got to come out to THANK YOU for raising awareness and sharing the link. This problem is so prevalent, particularly among girls between adolescence and college. I'd like to wage war against the media for setting unhealthy and unrealistic ideals, but the clothing industry enhances the problem as well. I noticed while shopping last week that a store that targets teenage girls had 3-4 racks of size 1-3 jeans and only 1-2 racks for sizes 4 and up.

Vindiciti said...

Amazing post! Thanks so much! My daughter is just a little one and I will try and not forget this as she gets bigger.

lisa@littlesliceoflife said...

Beautiful post, Kellie!!

As a mom to two girls who are already at ages 13 and 9 beginning to obsess about their weight, I struggle with what to teach them and how to model myself in a way that is healthy.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful post Kellie! I have tears in my eyes! Your daughter is very lucky to have such a caring loving mother!

Stuff could always be worse said...

This is so true, I have to struggle with the skinny thing also, but my daughter and son is watching...

Christie Jarvis said...

This is so good and so true. I am a mom to a 15 yr old daughter and I have always struggled with my weight. I want her to realize that she is beautiful no matter what size she is. Thanks for sharing your heart.

Janel@Dandelion Dayz said...

Love that picture!

Great post and so so so true.

I agree you should submit it and with Carpool Queen - she sees the beautiful you!

Erin said...

I am an INSTANT fan...so glad I found your blog on MBC!!! My daughter looks like she is about the same age as your daughter and I never thought about how my body image may affect her. I should have..but I didn't. I still have so much to learn!
Can't wait to read more from you and now, I am headed over to True Campaign.
Thank you!!!

Ida Red (aka Richele) said...

Found you on MBC. Your post is great! As a person who once had an eating disorder...I also still feel the call. In fact, I am heavier than I've been in my life. I am about 20-25 pounds overweight. I'm only 5foot...so you can see it! lol. The only time I care is when I see a skinny person or when I go shopping for clothes. It's something that never goes away. However, it is something we need to look out for with your daughters. My youngest already thinks she is great because she is skinny. UGH. Great post, THANKS! I wrote a devotion similar to this but it wasn't about this topic just a mother's influence. It does last forever!

Gretchen said...

"Were you my size when you were my age, Mom?"

"Do you think I look as big as so and so?".

"I know God loves me, but I sure wish I didn't have stretch marks. They are so embarrassing! Can we find a swim suit to cover my arms, so no one sees."

Yeah, they're watching. And navigating the sharks of culture, often known as media and other middle school kids.

You have been such a blessing to me in showing me the TRUE site and sharing your experiences. Because God spoke to me through you, one of our favorite family sayings is, "It's Whose you are and who you are that makes you important."

And we know that truth. Still...

Jenster said...

You continue to bless my socks off with your candid transparency, Kellie. And your daughter is so blessed to have you for her mother!

Just Me said...

oye! I am feeling convicted! Thanks for being so open and real. I need to be content with who God made me, so my girls can live free and content too.