I recently dug out some old books from my crawl space that I wanted to pass along to my grandmother. While I was up there, I stumbled upon a book I have been meaning to read for about 6 years now. The title of this book, Thin is the New Happy, undoubtedly caught my eye while perusing the self-help section at B&N a number of years ago. I know this not because I remember buying the book, but because this is how I spent a lot of my time in high school: at B&N, with Chelsea, trying to find the answers to life inside of books. This book I found is a memoir about struggling with weight and all of the factors that play into it like diet obsession, societal standards, etc. I opened this book the other night and four pages in it addressed a topic I think about quite a bit. The author starts out by describing how her mother put her on a diet at age 11 and how she was “hooked” on dieting from that point on. She then fast forwards to her present day adult life, and how this is now affecting her own daughters.
One of my biggest fears about motherhood, other than the extremely frightening thought that my children might turn out just like me, or that I’ll drop them, or forget to feed them, or leave them in the car, or at the grocery store, or just forget they exist altogether, is the thought that my unhealthy body image and eating disorder(s) will rub off on my daughters. Growing up, I wasn’t taught healthy eating habits or preached to about self love. Instead, my mom unknowingly taught me that trying different diets was normal and throwing up your meals was something that needed to be done sometimes. Thinking about this for my own hypothetical daughters makes me sad and honestly, it scares the crap out of me, too.
These thoughts scare me just enough to serve as one of my motivators in being a healthier, more positive and self loving person. Other than obviously wanting to reap the mental/physical benefits of this outlook on life for myself, I think about how this outlook will influence my own daughters some day. Hypothetical or not, my heart breaks to think about a child, and hell no especially not my child, hating themselves before they even know who they are. Understanding exactly what shaped my thoughts and feelings about my body while growing up has forced me to think about these things, long before they’re even a reality. In understanding that it was, in part, my own mother who unknowingly contributed to my eating disorder through her actions and words, I’ve been able to grow more conscious of what I say and what I do. I’ve been able to inch further away from my bad habits while slowly replacing them with good habits that I won’t be ashamed to someday pass down to my own children.
So, to my future offspring, God willing you someday exist: thank you for being my intangible motivation to be the best version of myself I can possibly be. You rock, and I know that because I rock, and you’ll have half of my DNA. And to my mother: Thank you for bringing me into this world and loving me unconditionally. I promise I don’t hate you (lol). Without you, I wouldn’t be me.