I spent this morning working on the next page in my altered book, which meant I spent this morning looking through old diaries and photos. My old diaries were a treasure trove of pain, depression, and loathing of both everyone else and myself. What a nice trip down memory lane that was. (I also had to make an enormous mess unearthing the box in which these memories are held – double whammy!)
As for my old photos, I apparently hated myself so much during my tween years, that I disposed of any evidence that I was ever 11, 12, or 13 years old. I had hoped to use my middle school yearbook picture, but even my awful teal and purple yearbook from 1992 has been tossed. Oh well.
This next page in my altered book is both the most personal and painful for me. I was raised to believe that people will like me better if I was thinner. In fact, I understood friends and thinness to be directly proportional. That is why I began my own “body project” which has been a twenty year battle with my tummy, hips, and thighs.
I was not a fat child. I was not a beanpole either. I had friends, but not many, and none was popular. I thought I was fat and unlovable. I still feel that way sometimes. It is sad.
I am horrified of the thought that my daughter may grow up seeing me scrutinize myself in the mirror as I frown. That is most definitely not the example I want to set for her. Even worse, I never want her to think that her weight affects her value as a person. Unfortunately, the idea that size influences personal worth, for men and women alike, can be found in the subtext of American billboards, magazines, television, and movies. I do not expect to shield my daughter from the society’s messages – I hope to arm her against them.
I want to raise my daughter to love herself and others and to respect her body. I cannot do that until I respect mine. Learning to do so is my new “body project.” That is why I have taken on this project in particular.