Standing in front of the steam covered bathroom mirror, naked, dripping wet and quite honestly ashamed of what is looking back at me, my tween daughter barges in “I need a hair tie!” She could-care-less that I’m naked, hell she’s naked, and very comfortable with being in the buff.
Me, not so much.
She bounces in front of me, grabs a hair tie, blows me a kiss and is off.
I am left feeling perturbed.
Not because she barged in, I am a Mom, I haven’t been alone in a bathroom for 15 years but because I detest my naked body, and I don’t want her to know.
Each morning it’s the same thing, me standing in front of the same mirror, trying to get clothes on as fast as I can, so I don’t have to look at my naked body. Crazy, right? To me this is the norm, this is how I have lived my entire life, and I don’t tell any one. Especially not my daughter.
I have done everything in my power to raise a smart, independent daughter who has a healthy body image. But It hasn’t been easy; especially with my self-image being genuinely distorted.
As far back as I can remember, no matter how skinny, it never seemed adequate, I have never looked fit enough. Often thinking I was a disgusting pig. The obsession turned into Anorexia and Bulimia in my early Twenties. It consumed me, every minute of every day I spent thinking about food, how not to eat food and how to purge the food that I did eat. These aren’t just a random thought here and there; it is all-encompassing.
Every second, of every day.
It takes away from your psyche, it twists your perception and lies to you. It controls you, and everything you do.
I do not want my daughter to go through this. So I have done everything in my power to show her that loving her body is important. Even if it means lying to her about how I feel about mine.
Look I know I shouldn’t lie to my girl, that I should genuinely believe that I am beautiful, practice what-I-preach and all that bullshit. The issue isn’t that I don’t want to believe it, I do, I just don’t see it. I would do almost anything to be able to walk into a room, without wondering how fat I must look. Or if people are judging me based on how I look. It’s not vanity; its pure anxiety that runs deeper than having a bad hair day. I have chosen to not leave the house on occasion because I can’t get past it. It is debilitating at times.
I could be a size 2 and not feel comfortable enough to put on a bathing suit. As a matter of fact, I have been a size 2 and even then, I had a hard time with my body.
Never Good Enough
I don’t have an eating disorder anymore, Okay, technically, I will always have a disorder. Let’s just say, I am not practising the art of vomiting after eating any more, nor am I starving myself. But the long-term effects of my eating disorder linger. My perception is not a reality; I am not fat and know this with the utmost confidence, but I just can’t see it.
So I lie to my daughter.
I will continue to lie to my daughter about how I feel about my body until I can genuinely say, I love mine.
I will not jeopardize her self-confidence and the respect she has for herself. The respect that I have helped build, by letting her see her Mother have anxiety and panic attacks while looking at herself naked in the mirror.
I know I have a long way to go, when it comes to my self-image. And I have confidence I will get there, eventually. But she does not need to be dragged into it.
I can’t possibly let her know that I detest my body, when I tell her every day not to worry about hers. That beauty is only skin deep. It is difficult to raise a strong independent girl as it is.
More difficult is convincing myself, I am good enough