As I look at my daughter, just turned 15, I am so glad I’d become older and wiser before she arrived in the world. I am so glad I had reached the Fuck It stage of body confidence and that I had become Frankly Too Bored With The Whole Subject To Frankly Give A Shit. It had taken a lot of practice to achieve that mindset, a lot of pretending, but I’d come a long way by the time she was born.
Sometimes I wonder what it would have been like if she’d been my first child when I was a decade younger and still had a pile of insecurities to hand down to her. When I had not yet accumulated the great wisdom which I now possess.
My daughter has the same body shape as I endlessly worried about and tried to change as a young woman. I can now see, looking at her, that it is beautiful. I marvel at the way she wears clothes which show her shape when I used to wear clothes that concealed mine. I love how she unselfconsciously and carelessly throws her body around so it lands in positions that I always tried to avoid – those that made it even more obvious that my bottom half was bigger than the top (which in retrospect made it really difficult to ever sit down).
And I am so happy to see that she eats what she wants, exercises when she wants and treats her body as a tool to get her around the world and do things. You know, just like any normal person (just like MEEE!)
To any mothers with daughters: it’s never too late to start the fun game Fake It To Make It. If you have body confidence issues, act as if you haven’t, certainly when you are around her. It’s not changing our thoughts which changes our behaviour, it’s the other way round: how we act changes how we think. You can trick your brain into believing you have body confidence if you behave like it. And I don’t believe you have to be perfect at this game, it’s enough that your daughter sees that you’re on that path.
Girls, and increasingly boys, face such pressure to have the perfect body these days, and we don’t know how that’s going to affect our individual children – but at least you’re giving them the best possible start by modelling yourself how to live in a body with gay careless abandon, acceptance and humour, no matter what shape nature gave you.