Your Words Can Change Her Story
Day in and day out I see little girls, teen girls, and women come through my office door feeling like they have failed. Failed their diet. Failed
Recently, the systemic problem that our society faces around weight shame and the idea that skinny equals worthy smacked me right in the face. Most of the time, I’m in my bubble – surrounded by women who support one another and use positive language, other practitioners that speak my language of body positivity and self-love. However, that bubble was abruptly shattered on a recent outing with my two girls.
My oldest daughter, now 10, had just outgrown almost all of her clothes and passed them down to her little sister. She deals with some sensory stuff, so she is somewhat particular about how her clothes fit (I mean, I am super picky too, so I get it). After trips to Target and the thrift store left us empty-handed, we made our way to Old Navy. They were having a massive 50% off sale – which, side note, it seems like they do every time I’m in there – so there were lots of other moms filling baskets full of kids clothes. One mom, in particular, had a daughter between the ages of my 2 girls, so somewhere between 7-10. We were both shopping in the same areas and headed to the fitting room at the same time.
The line for the fitting room was at least 10 people deep so that mom made a comment about how crazy it was. I agreed and commented that it looked like her daughter picked out some of the same clothes my daughter did. Some of the shirts said things like, “Raise each other up” and “GIRLS CAN” and “Love More”. As moms, we lamented about how they seem to go through clothing so fast. Especially leggings! My active girls can blow through a pair of leggings in a couple of weeks. The mom made a comment about how she wished she could get her daughter to wear jeans every day but that they made a deal that she would wear jeans on the weekends if she wanted to wear leggings to school. I commented that my girls both hated wearing jeans too. I also shared that I actually thought it made sense since they love running and playing and leggings are just more comfortable.
Then the bomb dropped. The bubble was shattered. With my 7 & 10-year-old standing next to me, and that mom’s little girl standing there she said, “Well, I make her wear jeans because if she only wears those stretchy pants she’ll get bigger and not notice” as she gestured her hand outwards from her stomach. I felt like I was hit by a ton of bricks. Gobsmacked. Now, here is the point of the story where I feel like I need to make a point that I am an introvert. And an enneagram 6. I HATE the idea of people not liking me. Or putting myself out there. But something came over me. I looked right in that little girl’s eyes and said, “You are valuable and worthy no matter what”. I don’t know if she heard me. Or if the mom heard me. Or if my daughters heard me. But, God, I hope they did.
Y’all – your words matter. Your words can change history. Or her story. There is absolutely no reason we need to talk about little girls in that way. Or even ourselves in that way. The words you speak to yourself are ultimately the words and actions you speak to others. We are models to the next generation of powerful young girls. We can change the course of history with our words. Or maybe just change HER story which could, in turn, change the world. The way you speak about your own body is how they will learn to speak about their own
I hope that someday I hear more stories of empowerment, self-love, and body positivity on the couch in my office, but for now I will be there to help heal the wounds of body shaming and food guilt one person at a time.
As a mama to 2 young daughters the best damn thing I can do for them is to love myself. To speak kind words to myself in my head so that self-love pours out over them. They deserve that. I deserve that. YOU deserve that. Speak life. Speak love. Speak joy. Your words matter.