My post is just one tiny part of her bigger picture. The thought that anyone and everyone is worthy of love and respect, regardless of outer appearance. I started this post a long time ago, intending to post it this past weekend on my Grandmother's birthday, but never did get to finish and publish it.
I felt it needed more attention, editing, better writing. It does, but more important than my writer's fragile ego is the message this post holds.
No matter how much we think we already know that "Beauty is Skin Deep" and "Don't Judge a Book By It's Cover" is cliche, we keep missing the message when it comes to our children. We say one thing, we do another. I still see people, mostly women, saying negative things about themselves, what they're eating, and making excuses. I wish we could just stop this.
The biggest change I have made over the last 4.3 years of having a daughter is how I look at, and talk about, myself. That's where it starts. Children do as you do, not just as you say. I have never been a vain person. I was the first to make a self-deprecating joke about myself, especially my weight. Unacceptable. I have 2 beautiful sisters, and I always referred to myself as things like "the Fat One." I mean it's okay, I'm also The Funny One.
If I thought of one of my beautifully curvy daughters saying that about themselves, I might cry. Shameful.
I used to hate to take or display photos of myself. I hated wearing bathing suits, partially dreaded the warmer weather, the whole Negative 9 yards. It doesn't matter why, or what my problem was or is, I needed to get over it. I need to be a better example for my daughters, for everyone's children everywhere. The outside package isn't everything, it's what is inside that makes us who we are. It is what we DO that defines us as people.
We're all different sizes, it doesn't matter how or why, we are who we are. We are all children of the universe, we all deserve love and respect. I believe it, and I finally started living it. We take lots of pictures every day, no matter if our hair is brushed, or I don't have makeup on. We don't worry about those things. We have fun, we do things, we learn.
|The idea of this picture would have mortified me years ago.|
I don't let anything about my appearance bother me. Maybe some day I will be more active, maybe not.
That's not what is important.
Taking care of my family, being a positive role model, overcoming our challenges, teaching them about true happiness, this is what matters. I've overcome so many challenges, become a better person, made more of myself than I ever imagined. If someone else I loved looked past this to let any outside appearance change their opinion of themselves it would break my heart.
I started this post about my strong, smart grandmother, one of the most amazing and beautiful women I have ever seen, and it's time to finish, publish and share it.
She had many challenges, but she didn't let them stop her. She took care of her family, by herself after her husband died young, in a time when women didn't work. She went back to school, got a good job, and did what she had to do. She never once felt like less of a person for not fitting into some picture of how a modern woman was supposed to look. She never needed any excuse. THAT is a role model.
She lived a long healthy life, she was what our society called "morbidly obese," according to some BMI model that I don't understand or give any damns about. What that formula doesn't calculate is how size doesn't necessarily equal healthy.
Body Mass Index doesn't explain how or why my father, who was always perfectly thin, the perfect BMI, had major cardiac and circulatory issues most of his life. My skinny father always had high blood pressure, hypertension, and underwent many surgeries, by-passes, procedures, medical treatments to deal with his health issues.
BMI can never calculate the overall healthy of a person.
It can't calculate how my grandmother lived every bit of her 92 years with no heart disease, diabetes or any other major illness or health threats.
How she walked and remained active all of her life.
How she ate REAL food: Butter, meat, cake.
How the first thing she did every morning was put real cream in her real coffee, and eat real cookies so she could take her vitamins.
How she was so independent, strong and amazing.
|This is the face of BEAUTY|
|She loved "Ball and the Jack."|
This is what a FUN person looks like.
|THIS is how a loving mother looks|
|THIS is a healthy, modern woman.|
My mom and I looked at each other.
She said "I'll show you," and proceeded to pull down her sans-a-belt stretch pants, girdle that she rarely left home without, and showed us her proud, tiger-striped Mother's stretch-marked stomach.
We picked up our jaws and looked. Didn't see anything.
We looked up at her, she looked down and said,
"What? Where is it?" she looked around,
"I had a little mouse right here," and pointed to her lower stomach, just above the lady garden, then added:
"Where's the mouse? My p*ssy must have eaten it."
Yes, she really said it. She was 75 at that time. I obviously never forgot it.
The point is she let us know by example never to be ashamed of who you are. To laugh, have fun, eat the damn cake.
My grandmother did talk about how some of her girlfriends were always "on a diet" and trying every new thing from
diet pills (dangerous) to
margarine (gross) to
cantaloupe diets (ineffective)
all with little or no success.
She watched as those around her would temporarily lose weight dieting, only to gain more weight back as soon as their crazy diet phase ended. She watched them go up and down in their weight, think unhealthy thoughts about themselves and ultimately make their situation worse.
She read Totie Fields, laughed about how disgusting melba toast was, and had coffeecake when she wanted to. She played cards, did her own paperwork in her 90's, filled out crossword puzzles IN PEN, she faced her fears, didn't take life too seriously and just took care of herself.
She overcame struggles that most people couldn't even understand. She wasn't bogged down with trivial vapid concerns, she took control of her life and kicked it's ass.
This is who I wanted my girls to become, and I realized I need to become this person first. We're learning together, learning from mistakes and trying to have fun along the way. It's what my grandmother would want. It's what I want.
|Florence. Queen of our family, Giver of no Damns.|
To read what Lizzi Rogers of Considerings blog has to say about #YesAllWomen...Now What? click that title to be taken to that post. Enjoy.