How do I teach my daughter to love her body?
Good question, I don't know. It's actually terrifying. I have no experience liking my body before age 29. I failed in elementary school. I bombed in high school. College was a blurry mess. I can't sit here and pretend to have any idea how to make sure a young person today could possibly navigate the social media world we live in without constantly being bullied to the edge... and then pushed over.
Sometimes when Gigi is sleeping, I'll look at her pink cheeks and her scuffed knees and think, I made those with my body. Every piece of her; I'm like a sorceress. I'd be crushed if she hated one bit of herself.
So, what do I do to help her love her body besides smash the televisions, pull her out of school and then wait until she's asleep to sit in the bathtub crying and breathing slowly into a paper bag?
The last thing I tell her every day is that she's beautiful. After I tell her she's brilliant, hilarious, curious, creative and daring.
We wear lipstick when it rains. Injecting a moment of charm into something dreary makes us happy, and that's an empowering thing. We own our happy moments, we don't need to wait for others to create them for us.
I walk around naked. Eventually this will be super creepy. But right now, I'm helping build the normality of what she sees.
I tell her she is deserving, no matter what. Of friends, family, love, opportunity and life. None of that will ever hinge on her body.
We have love affairs with women. It's not seedy or inappropriate; it's inspiring and mentally empowering. Big women, small women, the women who change the world, we pore over their beautiful minds and bodies.
I let her love food. Indian, Japanese, Lebanese, Italian, even vegan, she experiences it all. Early on, food became an enemy, and I spent two decades fighting against the very thing I secretly loved. I won't allow her that abusive relationship.
I walk every day in her shoes. She doesn't see me when I pose, or hold my arms just so. She sees me when I belly laugh, or tell a story with my hands. She sees me when I sing uninhibited in the car or shave my legs in the sink before date night. She sees me shrug off a compliment or break down beneath an insult.
But more importantly, she sees me stand back up and she sees me dance.
How do I teach my daughter to love her body? By the loving the hell out of mine.