I remember the exact moment when I learned I was a chubby little girl. I must have been somewhere in the 6-8 year old age range, but really that part doesn’t really matter. We were at a church picnic, I was wearing a demin skirt and having a blast playing all the games that were set up and just running around like kids do. In just a few seconds of time, my whole view shifted. An older gray haired lady made a simple one sentence comment that changed how I looked at myself and the world around me.
“Aren’t you a bit chubby for that skirt?”
And it couldn’t be undone. My new world view couldn’t be undone.
I don’t remember if I just moved on or went somewhere and cried, but it was a big moment. My eyes were opened. I realized that I wasn’t just normal kid (which I was), but I was chubby kid. It was now how I looked at myself. I wasn’t just Heather, I was an active little girl that had some chub on her and apparently that wasn’t okay to that lady.
Now that I’m 29 I can look back on it and see it was just some elderly lady saying what was on her mind, probably with no ill intentions. But in that moment I was hurt. That single sentence changed how I was going to look at my body for the rest of my life.
I have two beautiful little girls. Two perfect girls. It hurts my heart so much to think about them going through a moment like that. I want their minds to stay innocent for as long as possible. I want their views of the world and how they look not to be based on what someone else said. I don’t want the choices they make to be because someone said their body wasn’t good enough. Dear Lord I sure don’t want that for them.
But I know eventually they’ll hear people talking negatively about their body or overhear someone putting down their own body. That they aren’t good enough because they aren’t thin/athletic/tall/you-name-it enough. And that makes me so sad.
But I have hope. I have hope that more and more people will read messages like this. That they’ll think twice before they make a comment to young girls or even adult ladies. You never know how much words can impact a person, so please please please keep your thought to yourself about my daughter’s bodies. Let them be little sweet girls for as long as possible. Don’t poison their minds with negative body image thoughts.
I know my past can’t be changed and I’ll always remember that moment, but what I can do it raise strong girls that love their bodies. Strong confident girls that won’t be affected by a negative comment like I was. Strong girls that love themselves and aren’t dependent on the approval of others.
Let’s raise up the girls around us, and not tear them down with little comments. You never know what words will stick.